Kraton elastomer capacity stretching BELPRE, OHIO — Shell Chemical Co. is ramping up new capacity for its Kraton-brand styrenic block copolymers business as it continues its efforts to sell the unit.
Shell will add 29 million pounds of Kraton capacity by 2002 and an additional 13 million pounds by 2003. The expansions will be split between Kraton plants in Belpre and Berre, France.
The Kraton business is operating as an independent unit within Shell Chemical until a buyer is found.
Kraton is the market leader in styrenic block copolymers, which make up the largest share of the thermoplastic elastomer market.
Industry analysts have estimated the value of the business at more than $1 billion. The unit posted sales of about $500 million last year.
Recent new uses of Kraton include an overmolded cover for Kodak's Max Sport camera, thermoformed plastic cups for air travel and stretch wrap film for supermarket meat and fruit trays.
The material also is widely used in automotive parts, roofing materials, sealants and construction footwear.
Suppliers plan hikes for PET, PC, ABS
AKRON, OHIO — Major PET makers, including Nan Ya Plastics Corp. America of Livingston, N.J., KoSa of Houston, Eastman Chemical Co. of Kingsport, Tenn., and Wellman Inc. of Shrewsbury, N.J., will try to hike prices 5 cents per pound July 1, while Dow Chemical Co. will attempt to boost prices July 1 for its ABS, polycarbonate, PC/ABS and styrene acrylonitrile products.
The PET increase attempts follow a 7 cent-per-pound hike earlier this year. Seasonal beverage demand pushed that increase through after the market had seen as much as 3 cents per pound of price erosion in late 1999 and early 2000.
Dow's ABS attempt will be for 8 cents per pound, except on pipe and fitting grades, which will attempt a 5 cent jump. In PC, Midland, Mich.-based Dow will go for 11 cents. The firm also will seek a 9 cent hike on PC/ABS and 8 cents on SAN.
Cost pressure in development and production is leading Dow to take those steps, according to ABS/SAN/PC manager Gary O'Neill.
PC and ABS market leader GE Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass., also is seeking increases of 11 cents on PC, 9 cents on PC/ABS and 8 cents on ABS, SAN and acrylic styrene acrylonitrile, effective June 26.
BASF Corp. of Mount Olive, N.J., also is raising prices on its ABS, SAN, and ASA resins by 8 cents per pound on July 15.
D-M-E allies with German hot-runner firm
CHICAGO — Milacron Inc.'s D-M-E unit (Booth S1149), which makes standard mold bases and components, has forged a partnership with a German company with expertise in edge gating for hot-runner systems.
The deal with Heisskanal Technik Schulte GmbH of Ludenscheid, Germany, also involves point gating and valve gating.
A staff of mold designers at D-M-E's Application Engineering Team will help customers select the proper HTS system.
Compact and flow-balanced, the HTS edge-gate system has the precision needed for micromolding, according to Milacron. Sealed edge gate tips are mounted directly into the manifolds. The HTS flow-balance technology is available in three standard manifold configurations: 2X4, 2X8 and 2X16.
The HTS point-gate systems give direct gating into the center of the part, allowing center-to-center spacing as close as 14 millimeters.
The German company's valve gates come in four- or eight-drop configurations.
Control allows changes via desktop PC
CHICAGO — Atlanta-based Process Control Corp. (Booth N5445) has introduced its new PCCWeb control panel that allows materials handlers to monitor and make changes on their PCC gravimetric blenders without leaving their desks.
"You can monitor and/or change the recipe from the [computer]," Chief Executive Officer Joseph Robertson said.
The control panel can be accessed through a Web browser, on which a processor could monitor up to 40 blenders at one time, he added.
The PCCWeb control panel can only be used with PCC's new machinery — it cannot be retrofitted to blenders already in place, Robertson said.