AmBath expands thermoforming plant
MESA, ARIZ. — AmBath Corp. nearly quadrupled the size of its Mesa facility to improve material and mold-handling systems.
AmBath thermoforms acrylic bathware, such as bathtub and shower-stall liners that are retrofitted over existing bathware during renovation. Spartech Corp. supplies the acrylic.
Norm Murdock, plant manager, said his firm eventually will add two more thermoforming lines to occupy part of the 90,000-square-foot addition AmBath built at a cost of $500,000. It now runs three lines for bathtub liners and two for shower base liners and wall surrounds.
The expansion's main aim is to free up space for more than 600 bathtub liner molds AmBath keeps in stock to fit a wide range of bathtub designs. It thermoforms one-quarter-inch acrylic for the liners.
Privately held AmBath sells its products to hotels, motels and resorts in the United States, Canada and Caribbean region. An affiliate, ReBath Corp., offers franchises to regional firms that sell and install AmBath products in U.S. homes. Officials did not disclose sales.
Solo doubling cup capacity, work force
WHEELING, ILL. — Solo Cup Co., a Highland Park, Ill.-based manufacturer of plastic cups, plates, bowls and containers, plans to double the size of its 72,000-square-foot Wheeling plant.
The project includes converting the 37,000-square-foot warehouse portion of the facility into production space and the addition of a new, 67,000-square-foot warehouse.
Bill Whitmer, director of economic development for Wheeling, said there is no solid number for the investment yet, but estimated it would be $2.8 million.
The expansion is to be completed by Sept. 1.
Along with the physical expansion, the company plans to double Wheeling's current work force of 100.
Solo Cup ranked second in Plastics News' 1999 survey of North American thermoformers, with estimated relevant sales of $310 million.
Arco buy boosts BP Amoco's PP output
LONDON — BP Amoco has agreed to acquire Atlantic Richfield Co. for $26.8 billion in a deal that will create the world's second-largest oil company and a leading producer of polypropylene and several plastics feedstocks.
The deal gives London-based BP Amoco important access to the U.S. West Coast, where Los Angeles-based Arco has a large refining presence. The deal also will combine an existing joint venture between the two firms to develop Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oil field.
In plastics, the deal will add to BP Amoco's status as the world's second-largest PP maker behind Montell Polyolefins. Arco plans on entering the PP market by opening a 400 million-pound-per-year plant in Carson, Calif., later this year.
The new firm also is the world's largest producer of acrylonitrile, which is used to make ABS and other plastics, as well as the global leader in paraxylene and purified terephthalic acid, which is used in PET production.
The deal will lead to 2,000 job cuts, mostly in the United States. Officials did not say how many of those cuts would come from the new firm's plastics and chemicals businesses.
Worker dies at Canadian plastics plant
TORONTO — Blow molder ABC Group of Toronto experienced its first industrial fatality after 25 years of business when a worker was crushed in a trim press on March 30.
Eliathamby Maheswaran, 40, died at the scene despite first aid administered by fellow employees and rapid response from police and ambulance teams, said Bernie Coish, ABC director of administration.
Maheswaran died shortly after midnight at ABC Interior Trim Systems, one of several ABC Group operations in the Toronto area. The plant makes automotive knee bolsters.
Coish said his firm and Ministry of Labour and police officials are conducting an investigation and, as of April 1, had not determined whether operator error, machine failure, or both contributed to the accident. He said ABC Group has an excellent safety record and no worker had ever been incapacitated by an on-the-job injury before this incident. A Ministry of Labour spokesman said the investigation is continuing.