OC growing program for long-glass fiber
TOLEDO, OHIO - Owens Corning is looking to expand its long-glass-fiber program for polypropylene in North America and Asia through an agreement with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. announced April 1. The deal will allow OC to work with other resin producers.
Owens Corning originally developed the composite PP system through a joint venture with DSM NV. The venture, StaMax BV, established a solid automotive sales base in Europe, with the injection molded material used in front-end modules, door panels and other structural components. DSM sold its resin program to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Sabic in the past year.
Owens Corning retained a half-ownership in StaMax, but now Sabic takes total control of the composite's production in Europe, overseeing sales and marketing in Europe and the Middle East. OC will continue supplying the long-glass fiber for Sabic's material. The companies did not disclose financial details.
At the same time, the deal will allow Toledo-based Owens Corning to bring the proprietary long-glass program to North America and Asia, teaming up with other PP suppliers, spokeswoman Janet Galecki said. The arrangement should allow for rapid growth of the composite here, although it will not carry the StaMax brand name.
``It was a great joint venture,'' she said. ``It grew significantly, and now we can grow it even further.''
The company also will look to expand sales beyond the automotive industry, Galecki said.
Kiefel strives to be a full-line supplier
WRENTHAM, MASS. - Kiefel Extrusion GmbH, a German company known for machinery that produces high-density polyethylene T-shirt bags, still is pushing to become known as a full-line supplier, including larger lines to produce multilayer barrier films.
Kiefel launched that image at the K 2001 show, said Steven Engel, president of Kiefel Inc., the company's U.S. headquarters in Wrentham.
Kiefel became known in the United States for its high-output bags machines. Kiefel has supplied three-layer, five-layer and seven-layer blown film extrusion systems, and the machines to run low and linear low density PE, but the bag machines overshadowed the company's multilayer technology, Engel said.
The expanded emphasis on barrier-layer films promoted Kiefel, based in Worms, Germany, to buy two winder operations in 2000 and 2001: Wintech Winding Technology AG of Lachen, Switzerland, and the winding division of Christian Maier GmbH & Co. of Heidenheim, Germany.
``To get into these markets you need more sophisticated winders,'' Engel said. One example is Wintech's use of a versatile surface center gap technology, which allows the winder to run in a number of modes. The Maier pickup brought Kiefel orbital winding technology, designed for very short cycles. Orbital winding can wind at extremely low tensions and do multiple slitting, Engel said.
In technology news, Kiefel is selling its new collapsing frame-rollers, made with nylon bristles so they prevent wrinkles and won't scratch the film as it cools. The rollers slip over the standard aluminum roll on the collapsing frame. Engel said the bristles are an alternative to wooden slats and the aluminum rolls.
The firm also has redesigned its controller, which runs on Windows NT with a touch screen.
Kiefel sells its blown film extrusion systems, winders and dies under the Kirion brand name.
Hermann Ultrasonics opens tech center
SCHAUMBURG, ILL. - Schaumburg-based Hermann Ultrasonics Inc., which makes welding equipment for plastics, has opened a West Coast tech center in Sylmar, Calif., near Los Angeles.
The center includes an application laboratory equipped with Hermann Ultrasonics' digital, computer numerically controlled welders. The company can hold technical seminars in Sylmar for up to 20 people.