Milacron, Sidel settle patent suits
CINCINNATI - Milacron Inc. and Groupe Sidel have settled patent disputes over Milacron's personal-computer-based machine controls and Sidel's quick-change mold designs for blow molding.
Terms were not disclosed.
Milacron said both sides will drop lawsuits as a result of the settlement. Cincinnati-based Milacron also will dismiss the complaint it filed last summer with the International Trade Commission, which sought to bar imports of Sidel machines into the United States.
The PC-based control deal continues a series of settlements Milacron has announced against other machinery makers, including injection press suppliers Dr. Boy GmbH and Sandretto USA Inc., and Sipa SpA, which makes both injection molding and blow molding equipment.
Milacron received U.S. patents on using a personal computer to control a plastics processing machine in the early 1990s.
Sidel, based in La Havre, France, makes machines for blow molding PET containers, and other packaging equipment. Milacron said it will grant Sidel nonexclusive license to use Milacron's PC control technology. Sidel will pay a one-time fee.
Also, Sidel will grant Milacron a nonexclusive, royalty-bearing license to make parts compatible with Sidel's patented design for quick-change blow molds.
Milacron announced the settlement April 11. An official of Sidel Inc. of Norcross, Ga., confirmed the settlement but declined further comment.
TransNav's Mich. site nets Toshiba units
NEW BALTIMORE, MICH. - TransNav Technologies Inc. has expanded molding capacity at its New Baltimore plant with the addition of two Toshiba electric presses.
The electric machines have cut cycle time and improved shot-to-shot repeatability for difficult jobs, said Ilja Vreeken, general manager. He did not disclose the cost of the 180- and 20-ton presses.
TransNav had the presses shipped to its new facility in New Baltimore. The firm moved from a smaller plant in the same industrial park late last year. Vreeken estimated the floor space of the leased facility at 46,000 square feet.
The new operation includes a 71/2-ton crane that helps TransNav maintain an efficient plant layout for its 23 injection presses, which have clamping forces of 20-1,000 tons. Vreeken said the operation is in the same industrial park as its parent company, TransNav Inc.
TransNav Technologies had injection molding sales of $28 million for the year ended Oct. 31. Its other molding plant is in Puebla, Mexico.
Nina to add film line, printing press
ORLANDO, FLA. - Nina Plastics Inc. will add film and printing capacity at its Orlando operation in the fall.
Nina has ordered a three-layer blown film line and a flexographic printing press from Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp. of Lincoln, R.I. W&H said it plans to ship the Varex extrusion system in September and the Novoflex central impression printing press the next month.
Nina currently runs eight film extrusion lines, an eight-color press, several four- and six-color presses, and bag and pouch-making machines. The private company was founded about 20 years ago. Its major markets are lawn and garden, produce, automotive and industrial operations.
Nina's new film line will be 83 inches wide. The printing press will be 52 inches wide and include a direct, gearless drive. Company President Satish Sharma indicated plans to add a new extrusion line per year during the next four years.
Universal Forest buys Inno-Tech Plastics
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Universal Forest Products Inc. has expanded into plastics processing with the acquisition of Inno-Tech Plastics Inc.
Terms were not disclosed in the transaction, which was sealed April 10. Inno-Tech Plastics extrudes polystyrene profiles for use in fencing and other outdoor construction applications.
Inno-Tech's plant in Springfield, Ill., was owned by a father-son team, Gary Robbins Sr. and Gary Robbins Jr., who will continue to work with Universal on research and development.
Matt Missad, Universal Forest executive vice president, did not provide details on the number of extrusion lines, employees or sales at Inno-Tech. Grand Rapids-based Universal Forest will use a portion of its 90 North American facilities for manufacturing and distribution of Inno-Tech products, he said.
Universal serves four markets: retail, industrial, site-built construction and manufactured housing. The publicly held company reported 2001 sales of $1.5 billion.