Asahi buys plant, more growth in works
MALDEN, MASS. — Asahi/America Inc. has purchased an old pipe plant in Canton, Mass., with the intention of filling it with four new extruders by September to manufacture fiber-optic cable duct.
The plant is the latest in a string of expansions for the Malden pipe maker. In March 1998, Asahi opened a facility in Arkansas to manufacture cable duct and corrugated PE pipe, and in the fall began production at a new Arizona plant.
Asahi will spend about $3 million to equip the Canton building and get it up and running, said Leslie Lewis, Asahi/America's president, chairman and chief operating executive.
Once the plant is complete, Asahi/America's total production capacity for fiber-optic cable duct will increase to 6 million feet per month. That figure includes capacity from the four new Davis-Standard extruders as well as the existing 10 extruders at the firm's Arkansas and Arizona plants, he said. The company expects to hire about 30 employees to staff the new facility.
Asahi/America has purchased another extrusion line for corrugated pipe and expects to have it operating at its Arizona plant by June. That machine will enable the company to produce pipe up to 48 inches in diameter.
Asahi continues to search for a fourth manufacturing plant, which it plans to open in early 2000. By the end of next year, Lewis said the company plans to acquire and open a fifth, strategically located plant. With all the changes, Lewis predicts Asahi/America's sales will reach $53 million this year.
CPI Plastics to open new extrusion unit
MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — CPI Plastics Group Ltd. is opening its fifth profile extrusion plant, mainly to make a wood replacement called Extrudawood.
The company is leasing a facility in Mississauga, where it already has three other plants and its headquarters, said spokeswoman Kate Kalin. It soon will install four new extruders and plans to add 10 more there by the end of the year. Company officials did not disclose the cost of the project or equipment suppliers. The new plant boosts CPI's manufacturing space to 275,000 square feet.
President Ron Mitchell said a new decking system based on the extruded polystyrene compound will be introduced at building retailers this spring. MacMillan Bloedel Building Materials of Vancouver, British Columbia, will distribute the decking system across Canada and in selected locations in the U.S. market. McFarland Cascade of Tacoma, Wash., agreed to distribute the system in 13 states in the western United States.
CPI also recently agreed to have a newly formed, private company, Extrudawood Outdoor Systems Inc. of Mississauga, distribute Extrudawood throughout North America for outdoor applications.
Newell Rubbermaid cancels hub plans
WOOSTER, OHIO — Officials of the newly merged Newell Rubbermaid Co. have canceled plans to build a $51 million distribution hub at Rubbermaid's home town of Wooster and have put on hold a decision to open three other U.S. hubs.
Instead, Newell Rubbermaid will spend more than $20 million for robots and other new equipment at the Wooster factory, company spokeswoman Keri Butler said from Wooster.
The city of Wooster had granted tax abatements to the housewares giant, to ensure that the company would build the distribution center in Wooster. Original plans called for adding between 250,000 and 500,000 square feet to Rubbermaid's 1.2 million-square-foot Wooster plant.
Butler said Newell Rubbermaid has given up the abatement. Newell Co. merged with Rubbermaid Inc., in deal that closed in late March.
The new management already has trimmed about 100 jobs in Wooster. Company officials have said they expect to reduce the operation's current work force of 1,850 by 10-15 percent.
Sidel hails new barrier for PET bottles
NORCROSS, GA. — Groupe Sidel has developed technology that it calls a major advance for single-layer PET bottles with good oxygen barrier properties — a cost-saving machine that coats the inside of the bottle with carbon.
The French PET blow molding equipment maker said the target is any PET bottle holding liquid, such as soda or beer, that needs a barrier to oxygen and carbon dioxide. ``Very soon'' Sidel will begin selling the Actis machine in Europe, said Michel Picandet, vice president of sales for Sidel Inc., the company's North American operation in Norcross. Sidel's home factory in Le Havre, France, will make the Actis machine.
Picandet said Sidel will not market Actis technology to the U.S. market initially. The company will seek a letter of letter of nonobjection from the Food and Drug Administration for the food-contact application.
The technology is an alternative to the current way to make PET beer bottles, which requires a coinjection molded preform that includes a special oxygen barrier.