Miller adding beer-bottle test markets
MILWAUKEE — On the heels of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.'s exit from the plastic beer-bottle market, Miller Brewing Co. said it will expand its PET beer-bottle test-market locations.
The company will add six to eight cities to its current 10 test markets across the country. Milwaukee-based Miller will announce the locations in the next couple of weeks.
Miller is not disclosing the duration of its testing. The bottles are blow molded by Continental PET Technologies Inc., a Florence, Ky.-based unit of Owens-Illinois Inc.
Rohrer expands thermoforming capaicty
WADSWORTH, OHIO — Rohrer Corp. has added a fourth thermoforming line at its Elgin, Ill., facility.
Rohrer makes blister packs, clamshells, trays and similar packaging at the facility. President John Rohrer said his firm eventually will have six roll-fed, light-gauge thermoforming lines at the 31,000-square-foot plant.
Rohrer has been best-known as a leading carded-packaging printer. John Rohrer said customers wanted one supplier of carded and thermoformed components, so his firm decided to enter thermoforming. He did not reveal the cost of the plastics program.
Elgin mainly thermoforms PVC into shapes as large as 2 feet by 3 feet. It also makes glycol-modified PET and high-impact polystyrene packaging.
Rohrer employs about 320 and has annual sales of about $43 million. Its headquarters plant and warehouse are in Wadsworth, and it also performs card printing in Buford, Ga.
BASF lays off 18 at N.Y. colorant plant
MOUNT OLIVE, N.J. — BASF Corp. recently laid off 18 workers at its colorant plant in Rensselaer, N.Y.
The Mount Olive-based firm made the move because of competitive conditions, BASF spokesman David Elliott said.
The Rensselaer plant, which still employs 200, produces dyestuffs and ultraviolet-light absorbers used in plastics and other products such as sunscreen.
The plant is part of BASF Corp.'s coatings and colorants division. The Southfield, Mich.-based division posted sales of $1.1 billion in 1997.
Court restores Viskase damage award
CHICAGO — Viskase Cos. Inc. is claiming victory in its long-standing lawsuit against American National Can Co.
On May 13, the U.S. District Court in Chicago reinstated the $102.4 million damage award given to Viskase in November 1996. Both Viskase and ANC are headquartered in Chicago.
In 1996, a jury found that ANC's use of Dow Chemical Co.'s Affinity and Attane-brand polyethylene resins infringed Viskase's patents relating to heat-shrink films for fresh meat, processed meat and poultry applications. Damages were based on lost profit, price erosion and a royalty of 30 percent for use of the patents.
ANC fought the verdict and in September 1997 won a small victory when the verdict in the Affinity-brand infringement allegations was set aside. However, in August 1998, the court awarded Viskase a partial summary judgment finding that ANC's use of Affinity infringed Viskase's patent.
In reinstating the damage award, the court declared that ``there is no longer any necessity to retry the question of damages.''
Total Plastics opening Pa., Ohio sites
KALAMAZOO, MICH. — Total Plastics Inc. is opening a new plastics shapes distribution and fabrication facility in Pittsburgh.
The firm is leasing a 5,000-square-foot building and initially will focus on distribution, according to spokesman Greg Nowak. The official opening was scheduled for May 24.
Kalamazoo-based Total plans to serve the entire Chicago-to-East Coast industrial corridor, Nowak said. Within six months it will open a facility in Cleveland. Late last year it bought GarRon Plastics Inc. of Baltimore, which also has a plant in Harrisburg, Pa. Other Total plants and warehouses are in Detroit and Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and South Bend, Ind. Its national sales office is in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Nowak said GarRon brought low-volume specialty business to his firm, which usually deals in high-volume shapes and fabrications. GarRon focuses on aerospace, military and medical applications.
Total is a subsidiary of publicly traded A.M. Castle & Co., a specialty metals distributor. Officials did not reveal Total's sales.