West Pharmaceutical explosion fatal
KINSTON, N.C. - Three workers were killed and at least 27 injured, including eight critically, by an explosion at West Pharmaceutical Services Inc.'s rubber compounding facility in Kinston on Jan. 29.
Despite numerous initial news reports identifying the factory as a plastics facility, a company spokeswoman said West manufactured only rubber parts there.
At deadline Jan. 31, investigators still were searching for a cause of the massive explosion, but a detailed Associated Press story said officials were investigating whether dust given off during rubber mixing had ignited.
The facility employed about 225 and made syringe plungers and intravenous components. West, based in Lionville, Pa., does plastic molding at several facilities, including ones in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
``The worldwide West family sends its thoughts and prayers to the victims of this devastating incident, as well as to their families and loved ones,'' West President and Chief Executive Officer Don Morel said in a Jan. 30 news release. ``Our primary focus right now is helping those in need, restoring safety to the area and working with federal, state and local officials to identify the root cause of the situation.''
Morel was quoted in news reports as saying the company has not decided if it will rebuild the plant.
ENE shutters bag plant in West Virginia
MILLWOOD, W.VA. - ENE Plastics Inc. has closed a Millwood facility that manufactured plastic bags for grocery and retail applications.
The operation had 27 workers on active status and nine others on layoff when the plant closed Jan. 24, according to Mark Kassing, executive director of the Jackson County Development Authority in Ripley, W.Va.
The state helped organize a Jan. 30 meeting to help workers obtain unemployment and job placement benefits and seek payment of back wages, Kassing said. ``We hoped to have the employer [there], but that didn't happen.''
Los Angeles-based ENE began leasing the 37,500-square-foot facility on 5 acres in February 2001. At one time the operation, known as ENE of West Virginia, employed more than 100.
Mamor begins blow molding in U.S.
HEBRON, KY. - Milan, Italy-based Mamor Packaging Services SpA's first foray into the United States started production this month and soon expects to be producing 100,000 of its blow molded high density polyethylene shipping containers annually.
The local unit, Mamor Corp., will be staffed by 15 when at full capacity at the 63,000-square-foot site. The company has a 10-year lease. Mamor chose Hebron because of its proximity to the company's customer base, said business development manager Peter Brunn.
Brunn said Mamor eventually will open three or four more U.S. plants. It also operates plants in France, Germany and Spain.
Evenflo consolidation closes two sites
VANDALIA, OHIO - Evenflo Co. Inc. said Jan. 17 it will close plants in Suring, Wis., and Ball Ground, Ga., this summer. Production will be relocated to other Evenflo plants and to the Vandalia-based firm's suppliers.
Evenflo did not provide details of the product mix at the two facilities, but the Ball Ground plant does injection molding, according to a local official. The company makes car seats and infant carriers, strollers, baby bottles and related accessories, activity centers and other infant items.
Competitor Newell Rubbermaid Inc. recently announced consolidation of its car seat business in Macedonia, Ohio. It closed its Graco plant in Greer, S.C., and shifted production to Macedonia from a plant near Canton, Ohio. The latter was converted to a Rubbermaid Home Products facility. As well, it shut a Graco plant in Carlisle, England, because of high production costs.
Evenflo's Georgia plant will be for sale after it closes in midsummer. The facility has plastic molding operations in 388,800 square feet of space, according to Sheri Wilburn, executive director of the Development Authority of Cherokee County. The plant was built in 1993 and expanded three years later. It was valued at $12 million in a 2000 tax assessment. Wilburn said the Ball Ground plant is the largest industrial facility available in fast-growing Cherokee county.