Italy's MPE opening U.S. sales office
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Italian molder MPE srl plans to open its first U.S. sales, engineering and distribution office, a possible launching pad to further growth in North America.
The Torino, Italy, company will establish U.S. operations in Charlotte, where it has leased about 10,000 square feet of space in a business park, said Jeff Edge, vice president of industrial development with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. The office is to open by early November.
The operation will start with seven employees, Edge said. MPE will work with regional automotive suppliers to develop business in North America, he said. If sales pick up considerably, the molder could look for a larger facility or even manufacturing space in the area, Edge said.
MPE performs both injection and blow molding work, Edge said. In Torino, the company molds interior trim and under-the-hood parts for automotive applications and employs 94, he said. About 20 percent of MPE's business also comes from the appliance and furniture industries, he added.
The company worked through the North Carolina Department of Commerce to find a site convenient to the automotive corridor in the Southeast, he said. The firm will launch a new unit, MPE USA, to support its development from Charlotte.
Company officials could not be reached for comment.
Bemis growing Welsh film & bag plant
MINNEAPOLIS - Bemis Co. Inc. plans a £10 million ($16 million) expansion of its plant in Swansea, Wales, that makes high-barrier shrink film packaging, to meet growing European demand.
The project, backed by a £1.4 million Welsh government assistance grant, involves expanding the Bemis Swansea Ltd. extrusion, blown film and bag converting plant by 20 percent and adding 40 jobs next year.
Within the next five years the plant will add seven extrusion lines, doubling capacity, according to a report in the British journal Plastics & Rubber Weekly. Executives declined to confirm the report. Bemis is based in Minneapolis.
Bemis Swansea, formerly Curwood Packaging Ltd., makes coextruded and blown film packaging for meat and cheese.
``This investment will allow Bemis to implement new product initiatives aimed at specific markets throughout Europe [and] will extend its market reach,'' said Matthew Jackson, Bemis European shrink products divisional general manager.
New Ky. molder takes lean approach
FRANKLIN, KY. - A husband-and-wife team has started a custom injection molding operation in Franklin.
Kentucky Custom Molding Inc. has been in production since June, started by Kathy and Bob Thornton. They currently are their firm's only employees, operating three 200-ton Kawaguchi presses in a 3,500-square-foot, leased site.
The duo is taking a lean approach. ``This is a very hard time,'' President Kathy Thornton said in a recent telephone interview. ``But ... there's been a lot of interest in us, because we're in a good location.''
The firm is using its status as a woman-owned business as part of its strategy, Kathy Thornton said. Its certification under the Women's Business Enterprise National Council is pending.
The company molds consumer products and offers tool maintenance and design, light assembly and hot-runner capability.
Noveon buys TPU producer Thermedics
BRECKSVILLE, OHIO - Noveon Inc. has expanded its thermoplastic polyurethane business with its purchase of Thermedics Polymer Products in Wilmington, Mass.
Brecksville-based Noveon bought Thermedics from Viasys Healthcare Inc. of Conshohocken, Pa. No price was disclosed.
Thermedics supplies custom TPUs not readily available from other suppliers, Noveon officials said in an Oct. 6 news release. The firm makes medical-grade TPUs and optical- and industrial-grade aliphatic TPUs for extrusion and injection molding. Thermedics' production site in Wilmington opened earlier this year.
Most of Noveon's TPU production is in aromatics, which make up the largest portion of industry volume. Aliphatic TPUs are produced in smaller volume but are more highly engineered and have higher selling prices and profit margins, officials said.
In the first half of 2003, Noveon's sales increased almost 7 percent to $576 million, although pretax profit slipped more than 7 percent to $100 million.