The following items were compiled by Plastics News reporter Angie DeRosa at the International Builders' Show, held Feb. 8-11 in Atlanta.
Crane's new siding is injection molded
Crane Performance Siding has introduced its first injection molded siding product.
The Columbus extruder, a unit of Crane Plastics Co., outsources molding on the Portsmouth Shake line, said President Mike Crane. He would not disclose the molder, but said Crane does not plan to bring the molding in-house.
When compared with extrusion, injection molding creates finer detail in siding products, officials said. The Portsmouth Shake, molded from polypropylene, is patterned in a deep rustic grain that emulates split cedar.
Rotonics introduces fire-protection tank
Rotonics Manufacturing Inc. introduced a linear low density polyethylene fire-protection water tank, a new application designed to fit in smaller wood-frame homes, officials said.
``It's not really made to put out a fire,'' said Sherman McKinniss, retiring president and chief executive officer. ``It's really made to get you out of the house to save your life.''
The tank addresses the primary reason people lose their lives in fires: the inability to exit the house, he said. It fits through standard doorways and can be used to extinguish smoke and small fires. It is being used throughout homes in the Chicago area, where homes are smaller wood-frame styles, the firm said.
RMI molds the tank at its facility in Bensenville, Ill. Officials do not plan to add more rotomolding machines for the tank, but have incorporated it into existing production, McKinniss said.
Kadant enters plastic with building division
Paper company Kadant Inc. has made a foray into plastics with a new construction products unit.
Kadant Composites Inc. began production last year in a 90,000-square-foot facility in Bedford, Mass., said President Jonathan Painter. The facility has 30 employees and five production lines.
Officials plan to add two more lines soon. ``We've purchased the equipment, but we haven't installed it,'' Painter said. ``Right now, we're able to keep up.''
The firm mixes papermaking byproducts with recycled high density polyethylene to extrude deck and rail profiles branded as GeoDeck. The company also is in the early stages of fence production. Officials also mix minerals and recycled HDPE to make an injection molded roof tile to compete with slate.
Although the firm currently has one 1,000-ton injection molding machine, officials are looking to outsource that production, Painter said.
Publicly held parent company Kadant Inc., based in Acton, Mass., reported $221 million in 2001 sales.
``In our composite start-up, our focus has been on marketing and distribution,'' William Rainville, chairman and chief executive officer, said in Kadant's earnings release. ``I'm pleased that we have made progress in both. We have begun a program including trade advertising, in-store promotion and trade and home show exhibits and most importantly, added three new distributors.''
Painter said he expects his business to generate $4 million to $6 million in sales this year.
Mitten upgrading, installing equipment
Mitten Vinyl Inc. aggressively is attacking the U.S. market.
The Paris, Ontario-based vinyl siding and soffit producer introduced a line of products especially for the U.S. market and has brought on four salesmen, officials said.
Expansion plans this year include upgrading the firm's mixing system at the Ontario plant and adding machinery. Details were not provided.
Last year, 30 percent of Mitten's sales were in the U.S. market. Ideally, officials said, they would like to increase that amount to 50 percent.
Mitten Vinyl reported C$38 million (US$25.6 million) in 2000 profile sales, with six extrusion lines.
Concept launches accent product line
Concept Plastics Inc. is making its move into the building and construction market.
The High Point, N.C., custom injection molder made its debut at the International Builders' Show in Atlanta, with a line of polyester accent products called Architectural Innovations. The line includes brackets and corbels, overlays, finials and ceiling medallions.
There was a fairly significant downturn in the furniture and lamp markets last year, said Chief Executive Officer Paul Saperstein, and now the company wants to sell products directly to builders.
Concept has been molding products for those industries since 1970. Most recently, the company has noticed a move toward decorative built-in cabinetry for housing, officials said.
The company operates 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space among five facilities in High Point and will not add capacity, but will absorb any new business into existing production, Saperstein said.