Newell Rubbermaid moving mat molding WOOSTER, OHIO — Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is moving production of bath and sink mats and drain boards to Mexico to make room for a distribution expansion at its Wooster plant.
Spokeswoman Keri Butler said transfer of compression molded mats will begin June 1. About 188 workers at the Wooster facility will be affected by the move.
Newell Rubbermaid plans to spend $10.4 million on 20 additional loading-dock doors and conveying and sorting equipment to boost distribution capacity. Relocating the mats operation will free up about 120,000 square feet of space.
Newell Rubbermaid will move mats production to an existing plant in Tultitlan, near Mexico City. Rubbermaid uses thermoset synthetic rubber and clay compounds to make the mats.
FRE Composites sets product focus
ST. ANDRE EST, QUEBEC — FRE Composites Inc. will focus on electrical and industrial products now that it has been divested from its parent company, Heroux Inc.
FRE makes filament-wound products and will continue to emphasize that process, President Benoit Arsenault said in a telephone interview. The St. Andre Est-based company recently expanded into making reinforced epoxy lighting poles.
Arsenault said his company still has a few aerospace accounts, but won't pursue new business in that market. One of its aerospace clients is Raytheon, for which FRE makes filament-wound launch tubes for Stinger missiles.
FRE has annual sales of about C$15 million (US$10.4 million). Heroux, a manufacturer of aerospace and power-generation products, bought FRE in 1992 when Heroux's main markets were in a slump and it wanted to diversify. Heroux management since has found that FRE does not fit its core businesses, according to Arsenault.
"Heroux can now focus all efforts on its key sectors of aerospace and power generation, markets we have been penetrating on an increasing basis," Gilles Labbe, Heroux chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
Arsenault led a buyout of FRE and is the majority shareholder. Quebec investment fund Le Fonds de Solidarite des Travailleurs du Quebec participated in the C$5.3 million (US$3.7 million) buyout by taking a 30 percent stake in FRE.
Cambridge lightens Excursion tailgate
MADISON HEIGHTS, MICH. — Ford Motor Co. may boast that its Excursion is the biggest sport utility vehicle on the road, but supplier Cambridge Industries Inc. says its composites business is bringing at least one element of the SUV down to size.
Cambridge is turning out a three-piece tailgate made of sheet molding compound for the 7,700-pound vehicle, reducing the total weight of the rear door by 15 percent.
"Can you imagine how hard it'd be to lift if it were steel?" said John Sieg, vice president of marketing and communications for the Madison Heights-based automotive parts supplier.
The contract to produce the doors for Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford represents the first time composites have gone into a triple rear-door system, Sieg said. The top half of the door lifts up while the bottom half splits in half and swings out.
Using composites saves Ford 12 pounds on the piece, which measures in at 70 inches wide and 60 inches high.
The automaker aims to turn out 60,000 of the nine-passenger, nearly 19-foot-long Excursions annually.
Cambridge began producing the doors in August at its Centralia, Ill., factory, for final assembly at Ford's truck plant in Louisville, Ky.
PTC Enterprises buys fourth Indigo press
EDON, OHIO — PTC Enterprises Inc., a Tier 2 automotive molder in northwestern Ohio, has purchased its fourth Indigo injection press from Autojectors Inc.
PTC now owns four of the injection presses, which are made in Ahmedabad, India. Autojectors, a unit of Milacron Inc., shipped the new press, with 110 tons of clamping force, to PTC in Edon last fall, said PTC President Pat Thiel.
The first three Indigos have clamping forces of 33, 305 and 440 tons. Thiel said the newest Indigo replaced a 1981 Reed press. The company needed a machine with better consistency and controls, he said.
PTC now runs 15 injection presses. Autojectors is based in Avilla, Ind.
Freefoam adding two extrusion lines
CORK, IRELAND — Leading Irish profile extruder Freefoam Manufacturing Ltd. is installing two complete extrusion lines supplied by Battenfeld Extrusion Technology to produce foamed PVC profiles.
Freefoam has been expanding its profile production steadily during the past four years, adding at least one new line each year at its Cork plant.
Freefoam makes rigid PVC profiles for the construction industry, and a range of products that combine foamed and rigid profiles.