Star Thermoplastics expands, upgrades
CHICAGO - Star Thermoplastics is expanding its Chicago facility with an eye on showcasing its thermoplastic elastomer compounds during NPE 2003.
The site is about six blocks away from NPE host McCormick Place. Star owner and President Tom Dieschbourg said he hopes to take new and existing customers on tours through the renovated site during the June 23-27 show.
The firm is adding 12,000 square feet to its 24,000 square feet and is installing four new small-scale injection molding machines for product development. A streamlining of Star's mixing line and three single-screw extrusion lines will increase capacity 33 percent to 16 million pounds annually. Star's lab facilities will be expanded as well.
The new projects also will lead Star to add two employees, giving the business a total of 17.
Star's product line includes styrenic block copolymer TPEs and rubber compounds. Its TPEs are made in a number of grades including medical, flame-retardant and supersoft. Typical end markets include medical, automotive, construction, electrical and hardware.
The 10-year-old firm recently commercialized grades for the personal-care and tool markets that can be overmolded onto ABS and thermoplastic polyurethanes.
Privately held Star does not release sales. Star is a division of Star Thermoplastic Alloys & Rubbers Inc.
3D Systems files suit against EOS GmbH
VALENCIA, CALIF. - 3D Systems Inc. slapped a lawsuit against German rapid prototype machine maker EOS GmbH just a few weeks after EOS announced its first U.S. sales - in a legal maneuver nearly as fast as the rapid prototyping machines made by both firms.
Valencia-based 3D Systems announced March 3 it filed suit in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas, to stop EOS from selling its laser sintering machines in the United States. 3D Systems said the patented systems were invented by the University of Texas at Austin and licensed to 3D Systems. UT has joined 3D Systems in seeking an injunction.
EOS denies the charge.
The machines are used to make models quickly by shooting a laser through a liquid resin bath, forming a solid part.
EOS, based in Munich, Germany, entered the U.S. market in 2001.
The University of Texas licensed the U.S. patents for the process, called selective laser sintering, to another prototyping equipment supplier, DTM Corp. 3D Systems said it acquired rights to the patents when it bought DTM in 2001.
Berstorff purchases Seide Engineering
HANNOVER, GERMANY - Berstorff GmbH has purchased Adolf Seide Engineering, a German company that builds smoothing rolls and other equipment for making plastic sheet and film.
Berstorff and its sister extruder maker Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH have established KMB Seide Technology GmbH. Berstorff and KM are part of Munich-based Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG.
Hannover-based Berstorff announced the deal, for undisclosed terms, on March 19.
Seide, which will remain at its plant in Buchholz, Germany, specializes in cast film machinery and sheet calendering technology. The acquisition strengthens Berstorff's position in the market for equipment for making thermoformed sheet. Berstorff of Hannover already is involved in specialized technical film and sheet machinery, and the company markets direct extrusion machines to thermoformers, where a compounding extruder feeds a sheet line, which then goes directly into a thermoforming machine.
Krauss-Maffei of Munich makes extruders for producing pipe, profiles and film, as well as PVC sheet, so the purchase of Seide also extends KM's sheet technology.
Seide holds patents covering film cooling with metal belts, planetary calenders, post-cooling units for plastic sheet and linear smoothing equipment.
Clariant (Canada) buys Quality Colour
TORONTO - Clariant (Canada) Inc. said it has boosted its presence in the west by acquiring Quality Colour Inc. of Delta, British Columbia.
The deal fills a gap in Clariant's geographic profile. Its farthest west production plant before the acquisition was in Phoenix. Clariant now has 14 facilities in North America.
Quality employs about 40 in a 41,000-square-foot building. Clariant bought the 12-year-old operation from David Austin, who will not continue with the Delta business. Other managers will remain, said John Clarke, vice president for North America for Clariant's Masterbatches Division. He did not disclose Quality's sales or terms of the purchase during a telephone inter- view.
Quality specializes in engineering resin compounds and concentrates for diverse markets. It also makes PVC and other commodity thermoplastic products. Its four extrusion lines have 3 million pounds of annual capacity. It supplies markets in western Canada and the northwestern United States.
Clariant Canada is based in Toronto, where last summer it built a 72,000-square-foot facility to replace an outdated one. The year before it expanded by acquiring some assets of Action Colour of Oakville, Ontario, and relocating them to Toronto. Clariant Canada also runs a plant in Lachine, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal.
The Toronto operation has seven extrusion lines, four silos and five shipping bays. The ISO 9001-registered plant features an 8,000-square-foot color-matching laboratory. In Lachine, Clariant recently added a third shift because of rising demand. It also installed new production and laboratory equipment in the 24,000-square-foot plant.
VitroCo to acquire property, equipment
SANTA ANA, CALIF. - VitroCo plans to invest $4 million to $5 million to acquire property and specialized milling and processing equipment.
The Santa Ana company plans to buy structures on 61 acres in Ione, Calif., where it hopes to begin operations later this year.
The company produces sodium aluminosilicate, a viscosity modifier, as Vitrolite for injection molding and extrusion and Vitrocoat for paints and coatings.
Production at Ione will be in addition to the firm's capacity through several toll milling and compounding sites. The business was formed as Hi-Tech Environmental Products LLC in 1996 and adopted the VitroCo identity last year.
Meanwhile, the company disclosed two new hires. Ed Johnson was named vice president of marketing and sales. He will introduce the product line in Europe and elsewhere from a new London office. Also, Vito Lamorte was named sales director.
Huntsman planning consolidation of PU
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Melbourne-based Huntsman Polyurethanes (Australia) Pty. Ltd. said it plans to lead consolidation of the Australian and New Zealand PU systems industry and seek new markets.
HP (Australia) is a unit of Huntsman Polyurethanes, a member of Huntsman LLC in Salt Lake City. Huntsman Polyurethanes has operations in Europe, Asia and the United States. HP (Australia)'s operations include a styrene and phenolic resins business and a surfactants business. Peter Littlewood, operations manager, said there are 10 suppliers of PU systems in Australia and New Zealand.
``That's simply too many,'' he said. PU customers were becoming globalized and consolidated, and some market sectors have moved much of their production offshore. ``For example, in the last five years a lot of manufacturing for the footwear and fashion industry has moved to China and Indonesia,'' he said.
``There is a major squeeze on petrochemical feedstocks at the moment and a concerted push on prices. I think we'll see PU prices move up globally because the major players have got to establish capital to reinvest in new plants.
``All these macro issues are likely to force consolidation of the Australian PU industry,'' Littlewood said.
Huntsman had initiated discussions with major players in Australia and New Zealand's forestry industries with a view to entering the engineered lumber market, Littlewood said. Composite wood products can be made using methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, a core component of PU.
Meanwhile, Huntsman plans to build an MDI plant in China to reduce Australia's imports from the United States. Littlewood said Huntsman and its Chinese business partners were granted a business license in early March to build an MDI plant in Caojing, just outside Shanghai.
Engel reports sales of Tecomelt presses
SCHWERTBERG, AUSTRIA - In the last half of 2002, Engel Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH of Schwertberg sold six of its vertical Tecomelt presses, used to make decorative interior car trim integrated with fabric or foam film. The presses, equipped with twin injection cylinders, simultaneously deposit melt into two cavities.
Engel also delivered an 800 VTM Tecomelt machine to Neue Materialien Furth GmbH (NMF) of Furth, Germany.