Polyfoam shutters EPS molding plant
WHEELING, ILL. — Polyfoam Packers Corp. has closed its expanded polystyrene molding facility in Effingham, Ill., effective March 16.
Leora Rosen, vice president of marketing at the Wheeling firm, cited production changes at the plant's main customer, a manufacturer of air conditioners. Rosen said it doesn't make sense to keep the 70,000-square-foot, 40-employee operation running.
"The customer is still there, but their volume has changed," Rosen said in a telephone interview. "They've moved some manufacturing elsewhere in the country and some offshore. We had originally built the plant to service them."
Rosen said some of the 15 production lines will be moved to the firm's plant in Michigan City, Ind. Others may be up for sale.
Polyfoam focuses on protective packaging for medical, food-service and food-processing applications. Last fall, it sold two EPS molding operations, in Lewisburg, Tenn., and Waukegan, Ill.
CPI merges auto trim, seals business
MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — CPI Plastics Group Ltd. is consolidating its automotive decorative trim and seals manufacturing capacity into one plant.
The 55,000-square-foot plant in Mississauga previously housed production for the firm's wood-replacement decking and automotive seals and trim, said President Ron Mitchell. The company will have the plant reconfigured in a month or so, he said in a March 2 interview at CPI's Mississauga headquarters. Currently, it is fitted with four injection molding machines and 15 extruders, with capacity for 20.
"[Decorative trim and seals are] not our core business, but we do it as value-added," he said. "We try to maintain a very balanced portfolio."
CPI expanded last year with its fifth plant in Mississauga, which is configured for 40 extruders. Production will begin there this week, and the plant will be dedicated to producing CPI's eon-brand plastic decking.
"There are about 20 extruders in there already," Mitchell said.
Automotive work represents about 8-10 percent of total business for the firm, which reported 1999 sales of US$47.3 million.
"The key thing for us is to have it as a focused automotive plant, dedicated to that business," he said. Previously, the capability was spread among four plants. "We've got the capacity now to do more, but we're going to concentrate on sealing components, where we're replacing rubber with plastics seals."
Feds suing defunct firm GMR for fraud
DETROIT — The federal government is suing an apparently defunct plastics mold maker for allegedly raiding employee pension funds to pay company expenses.
The U.S. Department of Labor on March 9 sued GMR Plastics of Livonia, Mich., saying the company collected almost $8,900 from the paychecks of eight employees from 1996-98 but did not forward the money to its pension plan.
Officials with the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration said the company apparently went out of business in 1999. GMR was listed in the Inactive Business Database in 1999.
The Labor Department is asking U.S. District Court in Detroit to order the company's owner, Gary Raykhinshteyn, to pay the employees $11,500 and be removed as administrator of the pension plan. No hearing date has been set.
Raykhinshteyn could not be reached for comment.
New PSI plant to make screen changers
HICKORY, N.C. — PSI-Polymer Systems Inc., formerly Wil-Man America Inc., has ramped up production at a 3,000-square-foot factory to make screen changers and related products in Hickory.
Production began in November at the leased plant. PSI makes screen changers, divert valves, foam sheet dies and ancillary equipment. The firm's continuous-operation screen changer uses a two-bolt, two-screen-area design, which allows for screen changes without interruption of melt flow.
"This is a true continuous design," said PSI President Peter McKenna.
PSI also makes discontinuous screen changers with only one screen. It employs 11 at the Hickory manufacturing and technical center and at its Marietta, Ga., headquarters. Both facilities provide technical support. The North Carolina operation handles all design, engineering, manufacturing and assembly.