Igloo merges production into new HQ
KATY, TEXAS - While some other consumer product companies move work offshore, Igloo Products Corp. has invested to expand its U.S. manufacturing operations.
The ice chest manufacturer has a huge, new headquarters and manufacturing plant focused on blow molding, injection molding and vacuum forming. Formerly based in Houston, Igloo consolidated offices, manufacturing and distribution into one location in Katy. It had operated one plant in Katy and one in Houston.
``We simply outgrew the Houston location,'' Jim Morley, Igloo president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
The campus includes an 805,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility and an 87,000-square-foot corporate office. The new buildings are adjacent to a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility that has been in operation for more than 25 years. Igloo employs 1,200 at the new site.
Plastech shuts down two Ohio plants
DEARBORN, MICH. - Auto parts maker Plastech Engineered Products Inc. plans to close two Ohio injection molding facilities in the first quarter of 2005.
The firm filed notice Nov. 2 with the state announcing 90 layoffs in Newton Falls, Ohio, and 110 at a recently acquired site in Circleville, Ohio. A Plastech official did not return phone calls.
Plastech originally planned to shut the Newton Falls location last year, said David Watson, city manager.
``Now they promised they will,'' Watson said in a Nov. 8 telephone interview. Plastech had two product lines at the site. Two-thirds of the work went to a new vendor last year; now, the remaining one-third will go to another vendor.
Plastech acquired the 71,000-square-foot site in Circleville earlier this year when it bought LDM Technologies Inc., said Circleville Mayor Jean Droste. Plastech officials notified Droste by certified letter Nov. 1 of the plant's closing.
The Dearborn firm has a total of 25 plants and sales of $975 million, according to Plastics News estimates.
Archer Daniels forms bioplastics venture
DECATUR, ILL. - Food-processing giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. plans to enter the bioplastics field.
ADM has entered an alliance with biotechnology firm Metabolix Inc. to commercialize plastics based on fermentation of renewable resources such as corn sugar. The partners will build a 100 million-pound-per-year production site and set up a joint venture to make and market polyhydroxyalkanoates, a type of polyester.
Metabolix and ADM foresee PHA applications in film, fibers, coated paper and molded items. The polymers are biodegradable and can be composted. Properties range from rigid to highly elastic, the firms said. Metabolix developed a process that converts agricultural materials to PHAs by biological fermentation. Metabolix of Cambridge, Mass., has more than 130 issued and pending U.S. patents on the technology. Its work was funded in part by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The polymers' cost ``will allow their widespread incorporation into consumer products,'' G. Allen Andreas, ADM chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
Decatur-based ADM had sales of $36.2 billion for fiscal 2004.
Beryln outsources parts, keeps assembly
WORCESTER, MASS. - Berlyn Extruders Inc. is moving from its 40,000-square-foot building in Worcester to a smaller building, as the 42-year-old firm downsizes and plans to outsource much of its component manufacturing to focus on final assembly.
Founder and owner Jerry Berlyn said the company will hold an auction Nov. 10 to sell surplus metalworking equipment. ``We're selling the machine tools that we don't need,'' he said.
The firm is moving to a 15,000-square-foot plant in Worcester.
Some competitors already assemble extruders from outsourced components. The firm has done nearly all its own machining in-house. But the slow U.S. plastics equipment market means that strategy no longer makes sense, Berlyn said.
``The job shops are so hungry. We can buy on the outside for less money,'' Berlyn said Nov. 4. ``We don't have enough volume to support the latest [metalworking] machinery.''
Berlyn Extruders will make some proprietary components, do assembly and design its extruders and auxiliary equipment.
Berlyn said the U.S. market has shrunk dramatically.
``There is so much machinery-building capacity out there. I don't see anything exciting in this industry for the next two to three years. That's not to say there isn't profitable business.''