Plastics News staff reporter Frank Esposito compiled the following briefs at Engineering Thermoplastics '99, Jan. 25-27 in Orlando, Fla.
ETP consumption increasing in Mexico
Mexican engineering thermoplastic demand has soared thanks to NAFTA-fueled growth in the country's maquiladora export businesses, according to market analyst Eduardo de la Tijera.
Total ETP demand was about 280 million pounds in 1998 after being only 128 million pounds when the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed in 1994. Almost half of that demand is in ABS, with polycarbonate making up almost 24 percent and nylon covering about 13 percent.
Since 1994, ABS demand has almost doubled, nylon demand has more than doubled and PC demand has more than tripled, according to de la Tijera, president of De la Tijera y Asociados in Mexico City.
Maquiladoras account for more than one-third of Mexico's overall ETP consumption.
Much of Mexico's ABS growth has been focused in parts for TVs, radios, VCRs and computers as well as automotive parts.
``An attractive market is developing for ETP makers with growth proportionately higher than other industries,'' de la Tijera said.
Firms collaborate in recycling carpet
Evergreen Nylon Recycling, a joint venture between AlliedSignal Inc. and DSM NV, plans to collect 220 million pounds of post-consumer nylon carpet by 2000 through partnerships with Sears, Home Depot and other home improvement businesses.
Companies such as Sears and Home Depot, which work directly with home builders, will be paid to bale and ship to Evergreen's recycling center in Augusta, Ga., according to Evergreen General Manager David Mezzanotte Jr.
The carpets will then be recycled to create 100 million pounds of caprolactam, a key raw material in nylon production.
Partnerships with Sears, Home Depot and others will allow Evergreen to reach 120 major metropolitan areas in the United States, Mezzanotte said.
Evergreen, formed in March 1998, collected 25 million pounds of post-consumer nylon carpet last year and expects that total to rise to 80 million pounds in 1999.
Evergreen's $80 million facility in Augusta is scheduled to be completed in September. Mezzanotte said the plant will employ 55-60.
Lati getting results from database use
Engineering thermoplastic compounder Lati USA Inc. already is seeing speed-to-market benefits from its efforts to aid customers in material selection.
Recently, Lati saved a customer several months in production time by running two mold flows in a single day using a mineral-filled nylon 6 for an electrical component. Another compounder had refused to run the second test, said Jim Johnson, senior technical service engineer with Lati in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
In another case, a customer had idled a new $50,000 machine because of substandard material until Lati provided him with a mineral-filled nylon 6 that met the machine's standards. Johnson said the customer was in production a week after first contacting Lati.
Johnson credited Lati's database of 18,000 formulations covering 20 resins.
``There's an increased emphasis on how compounders help OEMs access a variety of materials,'' Johnson said. ``We have to be ready for that.''
Lati USA is a division of Lati Industria Termoplastici SpA, an Italian firm with 1998 global sales of almost $100 million and production of more than 65 million pounds of ETP compounds.