Solo Cup closing plants, laying off 400
HIGHLAND PARK, ILL. - Solo Cup Co. is closing four manufacturing locations and laying off 400 people.
The closings were announced in mid-May and affect workers at plants in Augusta, Ga.; Kensington, Conn.; and Lakeland, Fla., said Solo Cup spokesman Drew Ferguson on June 3. Plants in those locations, including two facilities in Kensington, will close by mid-July, he said. The company also is closing a small machine shop in Highland Park, where Solo is based, said Ferguson.
The moves were necessary after Solo purchased Owings Mill, Md.-based competitor Sweetheart Cup Co. in March, Ferguson said. Both companies supply injection molded cups, bowls, plates, trays and cutlery and paper tableware.
``[Solo officials] decided to create multitechnology facilities, where many processes and products are under one roof,'' Ferguson said. ``We are relocating machinery to other plants and hope to re-employ up to 90 percent of the [laid-off] workers in the future.''
Machinery in Georgia will move to a plant near Augusta, while much of the equipment in Kensington will shift to Sweetheart's former Maryland campus, Ferguson said. Equipment in Lakeland will move to other plants in the region. ``It's not your basic shutdown,'' Ferguson said.
According to layoff notices posted in the states of Connecticut and Georgia, the closures affect about 161 people in Kensington and 54 workers in Augusta.
Solo and Sweetheart have combined sales of about $2.2 billion. Sweetheart had 19 plants before the sale, and Solo had 14.
Weather hinders BASF PS production
MOUNT OLIVE, N.J. - Severe weather - including high winds and electrical storms - knocked out BASF Corp.'s polystyrene plant in Joliet, Ill., on May 30.
No restart date has been set for the plant, which has 760 million pounds of annual capacity. Mount Olive-based BASF has declared force majeure as a result of the incident and has placed all of the plant's customers on material allocation, BASF spokesman David Elliott said.
Although the site never lost power, the extreme weather caused ``a failure of critical equipment'' according to Elliott.
No one was injured during the storm and the plant suffered no structural damage. If problems continue for an extended period, Elliott said BASF possibly could supply customers from plants in Mexico or Germany.
Antec reports increase in attendance
BROOKFIELD, CONN. - SPE-Antec 2004 drew 2,952 people to Chicago - a 14 percent increase over the 2003 annual conference held by the Society of Plastics Engineers in Nashville, Tenn.
SPE's new executive director, Susan Oderwald, credited a rebounding economy and the Brookfield-based society's commitment to making Antec a forum for high-level technical information.
The May 16-20 Antec reported a record number of technical papers this year, with 837 presentations. Attendees also toured a trade show and went to seminars.
SPE has announced that Antec 2005 will take place May 1-5 in Boston.
Graham adding plant in Pennsylvania
YORK, PA. - Graham Packaging Co. LP is building a bottle blow molding plant in West Hazelton, Pa., ramping up its work with on-site customer Dial Corp.
York-based Graham is building a 125,000-square-foot plant that will be connected to the Dial facility by a conveyor belt, said Graham spokesman Donald Sarvey. The facility should be completed by Sept. 1 and will employ about 100, Sarvey said.
The site will be one of 23 plants operated by Graham that are collocated on customer sites, Sarvey said. Graham has 57 facilities worldwide, seven of them in Pennsylvania.
The plant will make PET and high density polyethylene bottles for personal-care and household products, including liquid soap and laundry detergent. Dial, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been a large Graham customer for many years, Sarvey said.
Graham ranked fifth on Plastics News' survey of North American blow molders, with $745 million in relevant sales in 2002. Graham has opened plants in Arizona and Mexico in the past year.