Fire takes out N.Y. blow molding plant
BATAVIA, N.Y. — A March 31 fire destroyed the Batavia plant of blow molder Eastern Molding International.
The fire was reported at about 6 p.m. March 31. All 15 employees working at the plant at the time escaped without injury. Three local firefighters later sustained minor injuries while battling the blaze.
The fire intensified around 1 a.m. April 1, causing local authorities to evacuate a nearby apartment complex, according to Batavia city spokesman Adam Maxwell. The fire was under control by about 1 p.m. April 1, although firefighters battled periodic flare-ups throughout the day.
Eastern Molding produces blow molded plastic containers and other plastic items. It has operated in Batavia since the late 1960s and recently was sold to local businessman Jerry Reinhart. Reinhart had planned to expand the business, which employs about 50. Reinhart could not be reached for comment April 2.
Most of the metal structure was destroyed, although some office space was salvaged, Maxwell said. The fire lasted long enough to burn through fire walls that were designed to stop fires from spreading. The cause of the fire remains unknown.
Custom to add compounding in Houston
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Custom Polymers Inc. said it plans to install compounding at its recently opened recycling facility in Houston.
The Charlotte-based company is leasing a 12,000-square-foot plant in Houston and began recycling post-industrial material there in February. It invested about $50,000 to install grinding, sorting, metal separation and repackaging services in Houston, Custom President Phil Howerton said by telephone.
Custom, which recycles mainly commodity thermoplastics and some engineering resins, needed a location closer to its customers in the western United States, Mexico, and Central and South America, Howerton said. In total, it expects to handle 40 million to 50 million pounds of plastic this year.
City Council halts AERT expansion
SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc.'s plans to expand its Springdale plant are on hold.
Springdale City Council denied the company's request to rezone 18.7 acres from residential to industrial after residents voiced concern about increased industrialization in the area. President Joe Brooks said the firm will appeal the decision.
AERT had planned to issue as much as $15 million in industrial revenue bonds to finance its recycling and extrusion expansion. The company wants to build a 120,000-square-foot plant and add 150 employees. Currently, it operates four extrusion lines in its 103,000-square-foot facility.
AERT recycles polyethylene and wood chips and makes composite lumber for the door and window, industrial flooring, and residential and commercial decking markets.
Asian crisis cuts into ASEANplas 99
SINGAPORE — ASEANplas 99 drew a diverse, international crowd, but Southeast Asia's economic crisis translated into sharply lower attendance as measured both by visitors and the number of exhibiting companies, according to numbers released April 1 by show organizers.
The show, held March 23-26 in Singapore, drew 6,751 visitors from 51 countries — 86 percent from Asia. That was down nearly 29 percent from the 9,481 who attended the pre-crisis ASEANplas 97, which was the last time the show was held in Singapore.
Organizer Messe Dusseldorf reported 268 companies from 24 countries exhibited ASEANplas this year, compared with 340 exhibitors at the 1997 show. Four-fifths of the exhibiting firms came from outside Singapore, with Germany (66 companies) leading the pack, followed by Italy (31), Malaysia (23), Austria (21) and the United States (17).
ASEANplas will be staged next in 2000, though exact dates have yet to be set.