SPI considers merging two divisions
WASHINGTON - The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. said it may merge its machinery and mold-making units.
The Washington-based trade group is looking at folding the Moldmakers Division into the Machinery Division, and renaming it the Plastics Equipment Manufacturing Division. The mold makers group would become a section in the new division, similar to the sections that currently exist for different types of processing machines, said Walt Bishop, executive director for both divisions.
Combining the divisions would align their structure more closely with the rest of SPI's structure and would improve communications, Bishop said.
While merging the groups could improve attendance at meetings and allow for better speakers, it could be seen as a loss of independence by the mold makers, said Angelo Firenze, president and chief executive officer of Adaptive Instruments Corp. in Hudson, Mass., and a member of the Machinery Division's board.
Bishop said the mold makers would remain in control of their own budget.
Bart Alcamo, chairman of the Moldmakers Division and president of RBK Tool & Die Inc. in Modesto, Calif., said it is too early to comment on the proposal.
Any change probably would start June 1, the beginning of SPI's next fiscal year, Bishop said. SPI officials could discuss the proposal at their Sept. 10-12 board meeting in Arlington, Va.
Worker electrocuted at GE pilot plant
MOUNT VERNON, IND. - A contract worker was killed Aug. 23 in an electrical incident at a GE Plastics plant in Mount Vernon.
Jeffrey Wolf, 42, was electrocuted while performing maintenance work in a pilot plant that produces GE Plastics' Lexan polycarbonate, said GE Plastics spokesman Jay Pomeroy.
Wolf was employed by Industrial Contractors Inc., an Evansville, Ind., firm that has worked with GE Plastics for a number of years. The fatality is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The pilot plant was closed at the time of the accident and will remain closed during the investigation, Pomeroy said.
Toray buys NIC, moves into compounding
TROY, MICH. - Resin distributor Toray Resin Co. is moving into compounding by acquiring Nippisun Indiana Corp., an engineering resins compounder in Shelbyville, Ind.
The NIC plant has annual capacity of about 44 million pounds of compounds based on nylon, polybutylene terephthalate and other engineering resins. The plant's size and employment totals were unavailable.
Previously, Troy-based Toray Resin had distributed NIC compounds to the American operations of Japanese auto-parts makers. The NIC deal will enable Toray to market to Big Three automakers in the United States, as well as to its Japanese customers. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
NIC is a unit of Nippon Pigment Co. Ltd. of Tokyo. Toray Resin is a unit of Toray Industries Inc. of Tokyo, a conglomerate that also owns Toray Plastics America Inc., a film extruder based in North Kingstown, R.I.
SPI endorses risk-management services
WASHINGTON - The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. is throwing its membership muscle into promoting risk-management financial products offered by Enron Global Markets LLC.
Enron's risk-management services are designed to help plastics processors control their raw material and energy costs by establishing a limit or range of prices a processor pays for resin or energy. Risk-management contracts ideally protect buyers and sellers from extreme price movements.
Washington-based SPI and Enron of Houston plan to offer seminars to SPI members explaining how they can take advantage of Enron's risk-management offerings. The first of these seminars will take place at Plastics USA in Chicago in October.
Catherine Randazzo, SPI's chief member-services officer, described the SPI/Enron alliance as a service that will help companies grow and stay competitive.
Risk management has been used for many years in oil, agricultural and financial markets, but is still working to make inroads in plastics. Industry sources estimated that risk-management contracts controlled about 350 million pounds of resin each month in 1999. More recent data was unavailable.
In addition to Enron, Shell Chemical Risk Management Co. of Houston; Koch Industries Inc. of Wichita, Kan.; Louis Dreyfus Energy Corp. of Wilton, Conn.; CheMatch.com Inc. of Houston; and ChemConnect Inc. of San Francisco have been active in the field.