Superbag expands patent violation case
HOUSTON - Superbag Corp. has expanded its patent violation case, accusing more companies of importing plastic bags that illegally copy its design for an easier-opening handle.
Superbag received approval from the U.S. International Trade Commission to add five companies to the four it had accused of violating its patent.
The new firms are Advance Polybag Inc. in Metairie, La.; Prime Source International LLC of Westerville, Ohio; Nantong Huasehng Plastic Products Co. of China; Bee Lian Plastic Marketing Pte. Ltd. of Singapore; and Polson Products Ltd. of Hong Kong.
Advance denied the allegation: ``We're in business long enough to know better than to do that sort of thing,'' said Vic Platta, API's vice president of sales and marketing. Houston-based Superbag's amended complaint also names Advance's Thailand subsidiary, Universal Polybag Co. Ltd.
A spokesman for Prime Source said it has told the ITC it does not import the bags at issue.
Because companies have been added, the ITC hearing on the case has been postponed from mid-November to Jan. 20.
Bericap launches Russia molding plant
BUDENHEIM, GERMANY - Bericap GmbH & Co. is tapping the fruits of new economic growth in Russia, where it just launched a plant in Bor.
The 5 million euro ($5.8 million) injection molding facility, employing around 50, manufactures bottle closures for carbonated soft drinks, still and carbonated mineral water, juice, milk, beer, edible oils and motor oil, according to the company.
At first, the plant will produce 700 million to 800 million closures per year.
``Local production of additional products will be started as soon as the market requirement justifies local investment,'' Budenheim-based Bericap said in a news release.
Molds for the Russian facility, the molder's 15th worldwide, are being provided by Bericap's tooling plants in Poland or Hungary.
The Bor plant is not its only new operation in the former Soviet Union. The company recently reopened a closure unit in Almati, Kazakhstan, that it refurbished last year.
Meantime, the company is expanding its Bericap LLC water and soft drink closure operation in Ontario, Calif., which opened in June 2002. The plant is adding five new injection presses to the 11 already installed.
Uponor Oyj to lay off workers at pipe plants
VANTAA, FINLAND - Uponor Oyj may lay off as many as 50 employees at two Finnish pipe extrusion facilities as a result of automation. The move also will affect two smaller prefabrication sites, according to officials of the building products concern in Vantaa.
The sites, in Nastola, Forssa, Kerava and JyvÃ¤skylÃ¤, Finland, produce municipal water, sewer and storm-water pipes and related components under Uponor Finland Ltd., said Tarmo Anttila, vice president of communications. They employ about 350.
``The reduction will at the most be 30-50 persons, depending on the outcome of joint discussions,'' Anttila wrote in an Oct. 8 e-mail. ``The negotiations with employee representatives will be completed in November.''
Anttila said the automation project will be complete within a few months.
Earlier this year, the company sold its North American PVC pipe business to Minneapolis-based PW Eagle Inc. In August, Jan LÃ¥ng took over as chief executive officer, replacing Jarmo Rytilahti, who is planning to retire.
The company still is seeking a buyer for its polyethylene pipe business dedicated to gas distribution, Uponor Aldyl in Shawnee, Okla.
Through the first half of 2003, Uponor reported sales of 496.2 million euros ($568.5 million), a decrease of 12.7 percent from the same period one year ago. Officials said net sales grew by 2 percent, once currencies and divestments in the first quarter were taken into account. On Oct. 8, the firm announced it was rated AAA by Dun & Bradstreet Finland Oy.
Cal-Mold opening clean room at HQ
Cal-Mold Inc. is trying to beef up its relatively small medical business by opening a Class 10,000 clean room at its Mira Loma, Calif., headquarters.
The 5,300-square-foot clean room has three all-electric injection presses with clamping forces of 60-200 tons, and can handle electronics molding, said President Erik Fleming. The presses were moved from elsewhere in the plant. The company has a total of 39 injection presses.
Fleming declined to disclose the size of the investment.