IPL shutting down one site indefinitely
SAINT DAMIEN, QUEBEC - IPL Inc. will close its Windsor, Ontario, plant for an indefinite period because of a drop in business.
Most of the injection molding now under way at Windsor will shift to the four other facilities operated by Saint Damien-based IPL, the company announced June 27. The firm gradually will lay off the 150 employees through the summer, with a final shutdown set for Sept. 5.
``This production restructuring is one of the steps taken by IPL management to restore rapidly the company's profitability,'' company officials said in a news release.
IPL purchased injection molder Prelude Plastic Products Corp. four years ago as it ramped up sales to the auto industry, but it noted June 26 that a variety of factors have cut into business expectations across its customers' industries for the year. Rather than hit a predicted 5 percent sales growth for 2003, the company now expects the annual numbers to match those for 2002. IPL posted C$206 million (US$152.7 million) in sales last year.
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in Toronto was a key to IPL's business woes, the firm said. SARS fears resulted in a steep drop in travel to the region, negatively affecting sales for IPL's food-packaging division, the company said.
Conair's Davis dies in traffic accident
FRANKLIN, PA. - Conair Group senior welder Tom Davis, 44, was killed June 25 in a motorcycle accident on his way to work at the auxiliary equipment firm's Franklin plant.
A 26-year Conair employee, he is survived by his wife and four children.
At NPE 2003, Conair took time at a meeting of management, staff and sales representatives to remember Davis' years of service and welding skills. Davis helped assemble some of the equipment and display stands at Conair's booth.
USPE moving to S.C. to follow customers
MANTUA, OHIO - United States Plastic Equipment, a plastics-oriented machine shop in Mantua, is relocating to Blythewood, S.C.
President Paul Miller said the firm is following injection molding customers that have moved to the Southeast. He estimated that injection molders make up about 80 percent of USPE's customer base.
USPE does laser cutting and repair work, and distributes plastic tanks and replacement machinery parts such as barrels, feed screws, nonreturn valves, end caps, nozzles, nozzle tips and tie bars. After the move, USPE will maintain a distribution center in Mantua.
Miller said he has been in contact with economic development officials in the Blythewood area regarding possible tax abatements for his business. He's also looked into forming a partnership or joint venture with Southeast Plastic Machine Co., a similar firm based in Lexington, S.C.
If that partnership does not materialize, Miller said USPE will operate in its own 30,000-square-foot facility. He expects the new operation to employ 15-20.
Miller, who has 14 years of industry experience, founded USPE in 2001. The firm expects to post sales of $1 million this year.
Board blames powder for fatal plant blast
KINSTON, N.C. - The Jan. 29 blast at West Pharmaceutical Services Inc.'s Kinston plant was caused by an explosion of fine plastic powder used to make the company's rubber medical products, according to the Chemical Safety Board.
CSB leaders and investigators said at a June 18 community meeting that the dust explosion - which killed six people and injured many others - occurred above an area where rubber strips were coated with moistened polyethylene powder. The powder is used as a nonstick coating for rubber sheeting, and when dry, is fine and capable of forming explosive mixtures in the air, CSB said.
The board will meet in Kinston when the investigation is complete to issue recommendations.