Pipe insulation firms to form joint venture
LANCASTER, PA. — Three makers of technical pipe insulation have agreed to a joint venture by combining their worldwide companies into one large corporation.
Nomaco Inc. of Zebulon, N.C., Armstrong World Industries Inc. of Lancaster, and Waalwijk, Netherlands-based Thermaflex Isolatie BV hope join their pipe insulation businesses by mid-1999 after due diligence and regulatory and corporate approvals, according to a Feb. 2 news release.
The three companies signed a letter of intent Jan. 26, but Camilla Collova, spokeswoman for Armstrong, said details like the new company name and ownership percentages will not be available until the deal is closed.
When combined, Armstrong, Nomaco and Thermaflex will have 19 manufacturing sites in 13 countries, which they say will improve customer service and enable them to introduce better products.
Although each company targets mainly the commercial and industrial markets with its version of technical pipe insulation, Nomaco Chairman Marc Noel said business and manufacturing will not be duplicated.
``It's almost ideal because of the distant location of all the plants,'' he said. ``Very few plants do overlap.''
Nomaco also has operations based in Belgium. The merger will allow Nomaco and Thermaflex, which specialize in thermoplastic elastomers, to combine their products with Armstrong's, which are made mainly from rubber, Noel said.
Ontario blow molder open for business
BARRIE, ONTARIO — Doug McKenzie and Brian Turner have formed Creative Molders Ltd., a new blow molding firm in Barrie.
Two other partners in the company, Charles Williams and W.R. McNary, will handle sales. Williams and McNary run McNary Agency, a manufacturers' representative agency in Southfield, Mich.
Turner, McKenzie, Williams and McNary bought the assets of Olympus Plastics, a blow molding company that made automotive parts, when it went bankrupt Nov. 23. A spokesman for Ernst & Young Inc., the receiver and manager of Olympus, said the primary reason for the bankruptcy was former owner Paul Katakouzinos' failed attempt to open a sister facility called Toroplast Ltd. in McAllen, Texas.
When Toroplast filed for Chapter 11 protection last spring, the Texas plant had $2 million to $3 million in advanced funds, which depleted funds in the Barrie plant.
McKenzie and Turner are former employees of Olympus.
Operations at Creative Molders, which makes bottles for consumer products, began Jan. 12.
The company plans to enter the automotive industry in the next 18 months after acquiring ISO 9001 and QS 9000 industry certifications.
The firm operates six machines, including Milacron and Bekum models, in a 32,000-square-foot building, Williams said. It employs 16 but hopes to triple that by the end of the year, he said.
Perfection blamed for clogged faucets
MADISON, OHIO — Perfection Corp., a manufacturer of water-heater components, has been blamed for thousands of clogged faucets caused by their faulty plastic pipes.
The 50-inch-long polypropylene pipe, called a dip tube, delivers cold water to the bottom of the water-heater tank, where the burner is. When the tube decays, so does a water heater's efficiency. Eventually bits of the plastic tube can get into pipes and cause other problems.
The problem surfaced in May 1995 when 28 tubes that had failed were returned to the firm.
Perfection has traced the problem to 1993, when it began compounding at the extruder. Prior to that, the company bought the plastic precompounded.
Frank Volgstadt, vice president of research, codes and standards at Perfection, said the plastic was not mixed sufficiently and that the problem was ``inherent in the process.'' Without the right chemical makeup, the PP tubes can break up and dissolve in two to three years.
Perfection resumed buying precompounded plastic in 1996.
The company says the problem is very small, citing returns of only 0.07 percent. It has not issued a recall and claims there is no way to estimate how many tubes were defective.
Perfection, based in Madison, makes the majority of water-heater components in the United States and Canada. A total of 11,000 claims have been filed so far for repairs or replacements.
R.I. injectoin molder to build Mass. plant
NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. — A&J Industries LLC, a North Smithfield-based injection molding company, plans to build a 20,000-square-foot facility in Uxbridge, Mass., near Worcester.
John Sivieri, director of business development, said the company hopes to break ground this summer and be in the new facility by the end of the year.
The firm currently is using an 18,000-square-foot, former Tupperware building in North Smithfield.
Co-presidents Al Prindle and John Gaudet started the business full time in December 1997. A&J makes its own molds in-house and also builds tools for its customers.
The company's two largest accounts are for shock absorption products for an aftermarket footwear company and wheel hubs for K2 Corp. in-line skates.
A&J has 19 machines from 75-450 tons. It will add five more machines, all 400 tons or larger, when the new plant is complete.
Sivieri said A&J also plans to add about five employees to the current 22. A&J Industries reported 1998 sales at $1.8 million and is projecting $4 million to $5 million for this year.
Thermoformer takes Malaysian partner
ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Thermoformer Merrill's Packaging Inc. has developed a partnership with a Malaysian company to give it a manufacturing presence in Southeast Asia, and is close to a similar arrangement with an Irish firm.
The partnership with thermoformer Texchem-Pack of Penang, Malaysia, gives Merrill's low-cost manufacturing that its multinational customers want, said Brian Meltzner, sales manager for Burlingame, Calif.-based Merrill's.
``It's brought in increased sales, and also opened doors for opportunities with larger multinational companies,'' he said in a recent interview at Medical Design & Manufacturing West '99 in Anaheim.
Meltzner said he was not sure if either company took an ownership stake in the other. Texchem-Pack, which is part of Penang-based Texchem Corp., has thermoforming plants in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Merrill's also is close to announcing another partnership with an Irish firm, and is scouting partners in Latin America, he said. Merrill's provides packaging for the electronics, medical, food and consumer markets.