Compounder closing molding operation
SHEBOYGAN, WIS. - Compounder Plastics Engineering Co. will close its custom molding and tooling operation and could lay off more workers by the end of the year, according to an advertisement the company ran in a local newspaper.
The Sheboygan-based company blamed Asian competition for the decision. The business molds parts for cookware and small appliances, President Michael Brotz said in the Oct. 30 ad in the Sheboygan Press. Plenco officials were unavailable for comment before deadline.
The closure of the molding operation affects 43 workers.
``We regret the need to take these actions,'' Brotz wrote. ``But the manufacturing recession in this country and, in particular, the general exodus of manufacturers of cookware and small appliances to low-wage countries such as China leaves us no alternative.''
The firm said as many as 75 of its remaining 400 employees could lose their jobs by year's end due to a consolidation of its materials molding business and support and administrative staff.
Plenco is a major U.S.-based producer of phenolic resins and molding materials. It also produces polyester bulk molding compounds and polyester pellets at its campus in Sheboygan.
The firm said the layoff timing is uncertain, and some employees could be offered other positions. A recent decision by Mirro Co., a unit of Newell Rubbermaid Inc., to move cookware production to China affected Plenco's decision, Brotz said.
Hunter plant hit hard by arsonist's fire
SAN MARCOS, CALIF. - Sprinkler maker Hunter Industries Inc. is recovering from apparent arson that damaged the second floor of its principal manufacturing facility Oct. 26.
``We have leads in the case,'' said Detective Ronny Cox of the San Diego County sheriff's office.
Cox estimated damage to the 150,000-square-foot, San Marcos structure at $5 million, mostly from water. Jeff Carowitz, Hunter vice president of marketing, said the cost to replace or repair equipment and infrastructure could reach $15 million.
Carowitz said fires were set using accelerants in seven locations, including areas used for injection molding, inspection and storage. Those areas make up about 25 percent of the building and include more than 120 presses.
A sprinkler system suppressed at least two of the fires, but firefighters, in turning off the system, inadvertently allowed fires in other locations to grow, according to Carowitz.
Hunter shifted tools to its other molding sites in San Marcos and Cary, N.C., and half-owned Grizzle & Hunter Plastic LLC in Temecula, Calif. In San Marcos, Hunter employs 1,000 in eight buildings.
Machine hydraulics were being restored, but as of Nov. 4, no molding operations had resumed.
Hunter makes plastic underground sprinkler systems, valves and controls for the landscaping market. Slower seasonal demand late in the year will make it easier to catch up, Carowitz said.
Griffco reviving PVC pipe plant in Miss.
ATLANTA - Griffco Plastics Inc. is scheduled to reopen its PVC pipe extrusion facility in Quitman, Miss., nearly seven months after it filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
The site is the only production plant of the Atlanta firm, operated by brothers Don and Charles Griffin. County officials closed the site in February after Griffco failed to pay $112,000 in taxes. Griffco officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Paul Mosley, president of the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, said the plant will reopen in about two weeks with two extrusion lines and 25 employees. According to Plastics News data, the firm once had as many as 17 lines.
UPG yet to determine fate of factories
WESTMONT, ILL. - United Plastics Group Inc. expects to announce changes soon for two of its North American facilities.
Talks were under way Nov. 6 related to injection molding plants in Bensenville, Ill., and Guadalajara, Mexico, UPG officials said. The company said a public relations firm mistakenly sent out a news release stating the factories would close and that employees and customers were notified Nov. 6.
The Westmont-based company later retracted the statement, noting that there has been no final word on what will happen at the sites, but that a decision would be announced early the week of Nov. 9.