Plastomer growing, adds 15 employees
LIVONIA, MICH. - Plastomer Corp. is adding employees and looking to possible future expansion to keep pace with new business for a line of automotive components produced from its in-house scrap.
The Livonia company already has orders from DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes vehicles for its Fibrethane urethane foam system, with other automakers also taking a serious look at the material, said Executive Vice President David Baughman in an Oct. 8 telephone interview.
Plastomer uses scrap from its existing foam gasket production, then casts and die cuts it into an acoustic layer used in doors and instrument panels, where it replaces a cotton material.
``It's growing in business and we have a lot more scrap we can use,'' Baughman said. ``We're able to offer something that saves money and is a recycled product.''
Plastomer has made foam gaskets for the automotive industry for nearly 50 years, and introduced Fibrethane a year ago. The company has about $30 million in annual sales, with parts in nearly all North American vehicle brands.
The firm has added 15 people to bring its employee base up to 270 to meet the new contracts. Plastomer will be considering acquisitions, joint ventures and cooperative production opportunities in the near term to continue its growth, Baughman said.
Intertape relocating production to Mexico
MONTREAL - Intertape Polymer Group Inc. is consolidating flexible bulk container production in Piedras Negras, Mexico, to become more competitive and to cut costs.
Intertape estimates it can save about US$3 million pretax annually by relocating production from Rayne, La., and Edmundston, New Brunswick. The Mexican facility has enough capacity to accommodate the extra work. Intertape of Montreal said it expects to implement the changes by late November.
According to published reports, 80 employees in Edmundston and 10 in Rayne will lose their jobs. The company also plans to reduce 35 administrative and sales jobs.
Intertape also has manufacturing agreements in India and China that help reduce the cost of making intermediate bulk containers. The products, based on nonwoven polyolefins, typically carry dry industrial products. Intertape claims to be North America's largest integrated IBC producer. It formerly also made the containers in Augusta, Ga.; Truro, Nova Scotia; and San Luis Potos¡, Mexico.
The firm will take a pretax charge of US$2.5 million in the third quarter to cover restructuring moves.
The public company expects third-quarter sales to be about the same as those in the second quarter, when it logged US$153.7 million. It said economic conditions continue to be weak.
Fiber-Tech acquires Crane's CorTec unit
SPOKANE, WASH. - Reinforced panel maker Fiberglass Technology Industries Inc. has added to its production capabilities with the purchase of Crane Co.'s CorTec unit.
Fiber-Tech completed the purchase Sept. 20 for about $3 million, making the factory in Washington Court House, Ohio, its third manufacturing site, joining facilities at its headquarters in Spokane and in Cadillac, Mich.
Officials for Crane, based in Stamford, Conn., declined to comment, but the company has divested other operations during the past year, including its Canadian plumbing business last year. CorTec was part of Crane's engineered materials division, making reinforced panels typically used for truck and trailer sidewalls.
Fiber-Tech also manufactures truck and trailer walls along with houseboat panels and construction products, specializing in fiberglass panels produced with a plywood inner core.
The addition of CorTec will allow the company to expand offerings to its core customers, said Robert Brethen, chairman and chief executive officer of Fiber-Tech's parent company, Celstar Group.
Pannonplast joins smart-card specialist
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - Pannonplast plc is preparing to cash in on predicted growth in smart cards in Eastern Europe through a recently signed cooperation deal.
Its subsidiary, Multicard Plastic Card Producing Ltd., has linked up with German smart-card specialist Giesecke & Devrient GmbH of Munich, Germany, to manufacture chip payment cards for Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
G&D is providing Multicard of Budapest with chips and technology for card personalization, coding and production. Multicard will embed the chip module and produce the cards in volume for a variety of applications, according to Pannonplast.
During 2001 Pannonplast invested 135 million Hungarian florints ($530,000) to upgrade the Multicard operation.
Multicard sales manager Vaisz Gyula said the company will begin producing smart cards by the end of this year and should manufacture about 200,000 smart cards next year for Hungarian clients. Multicard purchases and laminates PVC sheet for card production. The operation already makes credit-card blanks. The company employs 40.