England's RGE installs 5 Sandretto presses
GODMANCHESTER, ENGLAND - RGE Engineering Co. has installed five 1,100-ton Sandretto Mega TES injection presses to mold household appliance parts at its plant in Whittlesey, England.
The company's U.S. plant in Newport, Tenn., also recently took delivery of a large Sandretto press, officials said.
The Sandretto machines in Whittlesey, each equipped with dehumidifying dryers and computer numerically controlled parts-handling robots, mold components such as freezer drawers for a major, undisclosed appliance maker. The plant also makes backs and bases for office swivel chairs. The plant's machines range from 200-1,100 tons, said plant manager Ken Dodson.
Privately owned RGE's headquarters plant is in Godmanchester. It has a toolroom and a molding shop equipped with 60 Negri Bossi presses with clamping forces up to 600 tons. It employs 250, said mold shop manager David Bygrave.
The Newport plant runs 15 Toshiba and Engel presses with clamping forces of 120-1,250 tons. The lines primarily are used for furniture parts. The plant recently received a new 1,250-ton Engel.
RGE also runs a mold-making business in Marinha Grande, Portugal.
U.S. Specialty boosts space, equipment
LEOMINSTER, MASS. - Launched just five years ago, injection molder U.S. Specialty Packaging Inc. has leased more space and added equipment.
The company, which makes high density polyethylene pails and covers under its own brand name, recently leased 18,000 additional square feet in Leominster, bringing the total size of its site to 60,000 square feet, said Vice President Lynn Castriotta.
The firm paid more than $1 million for two Van Dorn Demag presses with clamping forces of 880 and 650 tons. The machines will be used with multicavity molds for high-volume production, Castriotta said. The company now has four injection presses and wants to add five to 10 employees next year to its current total of 42, she said.
By the summer of 2004, the company would like to buy or build a 60,000-square-foot building in Leominster instead of leasing space, said President and founder Ralph Castriotta, a 36-year veteran of several processing companies.
``Since Sept. 11 , I've got my fingers and toes crossed, but we've survived,'' he said. ``It hasn't been easy, but we've continued to grow instead of shrink.''
PDI to consolidate at expanded site
GLADWIN, MICH. - Packaging Direct Inc. still plans to consolidate manufacturing operations, but recently changed its course.
The thermoformer of specialty packaging for fresh-cut produce plans to add about 45,000 square feet for a total of 79,000 square feet on its 8-acre Gladwin site. PDI will invest $750,000 to $1 million for construction and some equipment, Jim Hop, vice president of finance, said by telephone. PDI needs site approval but hopes to begin construction in January.
Once more space is available, PDI intends to vacate a leased, 22,000-square-foot plant in Beaverton, Mich. PDI operates 13 lines in Gladwin and nine in Beaverton.
In late 2001, PDI considered 11 acres in a state Renaissance Zone in Gladwin. The plan called for a single structure to replace the Gladwin and Beaverton facilities. PDI worked with Gladwin officials, but ultimately balked at the anticipated plant and equipment investment of $3 million.
Hop, who had been PDI's banker, joined the company in June and analyzed the project's potential long-term impact on debt. ``We would risk a chance of hurting ourselves in the long run,'' he said. Business softness in the July-September quarter contributed to the decision.
Established in 1996, Packaging Direct vacuum and pressure forms roll stock, mostly PET, for platters, clamshells and herb packs. The firm employs 40 and had 2001 sales of about $8.5 million. Hop projects current-year sales will exceed $10 million.
Canada's Irwin Toy files for bankruptcy
MONTREAL - One of Canada's largest toy companies, Irwin Toy Ltd. of Montreal, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Irwin owes its major creditor, Congress Financial Corp., about C$40 million (US$25.6 million). Irwin is examining ways to reduce costs and possibly sell parts of the company, officials said in a news release and in an interview with Canadian Press.
Irwin contracts out most of its toy production in Asia. It also runs a puzzle design and manufacturing plant in Montreal, according to spokeswoman Christine Mulkins. The private company's financial problems are due in part to Irwin's inability for a period last summer to meet shipment deadlines.
Chris Byrne, editor of Toy Report, said order fulfillment problems can occur when toy suppliers grow faster than their logistical systems allow with mass retailers.
``A lot of companies get stuck in this quandary,'' Byrne said. ``Mattel and Hasbro, for example, had to adapt to a new [ordering-system environment] when they grew through acquisition,'' Byrne said.