Blow molding HDPE grades up 2 cents
AKRON, OHIO - Makers of blow molding grades of high density polyethylene were successful in passing through the final 2 cents of a 5 cent-per-pound price increase in October.
Competitive pressures led suppliers to split the 5 cent increase seen by all other grades of PE in September into a 3 cent September move, followed by a 2 cent October hike. High prices for natural gas, a PE feedstock, have placed severe pricing pressure on the market since early 2002.
U.S./Canadian sales of HDPE into blow molding applications were up almost 1 percent through July vs. the same period in 2002, according to the American Plastics Council in Arlington, Va. Sales into blow molded gas tanks were up 16 percent, while sales into blow molded liquid-food bottles were down 4 percent.
Calif. fires disrupt plastics business
VALLEY CENTER, CALIF. - Wildfires in Southern California have taken a toll on some in the plastics industry.
Fallbrook Engineering Inc. lost its main office and laboratory Oct. 26, but two other office buildings on the 5-acre Valley Center site were spared. Damage exceeded $750,000, according to President Richard Meyst.
The fire destroyed prototype polypropylene and polycarbonate parts for a new umbilical-cord cutter. The health-care design, development and consulting firm was working with Phillips Plastics Corp.'s design center in Hudson, Wis., to obtain replacement parts.
Olson Irrigation Systems of Santee lost nearly four days of work to unhealthy air quality and, for one day, had no electrical power, said Roxanne Sample, production manager. The firm molds sprinklers and irrigation components on eight presses.
``The fires were within a few buildings of ours'' on Oct. 26, said Elliott Rabin, president of Ridout Plastics Co. Inc. in San Diego. The material distributor and custom manufacturer lost nearly three days of business activity.
Budwig Co. of Poway did not operate Oct. 27 because of fire-related logistics and hazardous air, said Dan Valadez, accounts manager. Budwig operates nine injection molding presses.
Poor air quality prompted San Diego thermoformer Specialty Manufacturing Inc. to close Oct. 27 and to reduce operations on the following two days, said Haydn Forward, vice president of sales and marketing.
Graham opening Ariz. PP bottle plant
YORK, PA. - Graham Packaging Co. LP will open a new blow molding plant in Arizona dedicated to making polypropylene bottles for Ensure adult nutritional drinks, replacing the metal cans currently used.
The 100,000-square-foot plant is to open in Casa Grande, Ariz., in March on a 10.6-acre site, said spokesman Donald Sarvey. The facility will make multilayer bottles for the Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories in Abbott Lake, Ill.
The Ross division has a plant less than a mile from the new Graham facility. York-based Graham was awarded a new contract with Abbott to make the drink bottles, Sarvey said. About 40 percent of Graham's 56 plants sit on-site with customers, and many others are nearby, Sarvey said.
The facility, launching with 30 employees, will be Graham's eighth plant west of the Mississippi River and its first in Arizona, Sarvey said. The company recorded worldwide sales of $906.7 million in 2002.
Kenner & Co. buys fabricator Atrium
DALLAS - In a $658.9 million deal, an investment group led by private investment firm Kenner & Co. Inc. has acquired window and door maker Atrium Cos. Inc. of Dallas.
In an Oct. 30 telephone interview, Atrium President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Hull said Atrium's strategy to become a vertically integrated vinyl and aluminum products maker would not change. Atrium has made three acquisitions this year. Under Kenner, the firm will add more vinyl extrusion capacity and look to acquire more vinyl window fabricators.
As it stands, nearly two-thirds of Atrium's vinyl extrusion work is outsourced.
``We want to bring a significant amount of that inside,'' Hull said, noting that the company will either enter a joint venture or do a greenfield expansion on its own to get extrusion capacity on the West Coast