Foster Corp. growing Las Vegas operation
PUTNAM, CONN. - Thermoplastic compounder Foster Corp. is expanding its Foster West operation in Las Vegas, increasing capacity by 50 percent to help support its growth in the biomedical materials market.
The company also has hired three executives and plans to add personnel in Las Vegas.
The project will increase the size of Foster West to about 18,500 square feet from 13,000 square feet.
The plant will meet clean room requirements, but those guidelines will not be as stringent as in Putnam, where Foster opened a Class 100,000 clean room in June, said Ken Pickering, Foster's chief operating officer.
In 2004, Foster moved into the new, 45,000-square-foot Putnam facility, more than doubling the space from its previous site in Dayville, Conn.
The main addition to the manufacturing area is a 30-millimeter twin-screw extruder, which includes an integrated automated data-acquisition system to manage production of biomaterial compounding. That addition gives the firm four production lines capable of compounding thermoplastic elastomers and fluoropolymers.
TPEs make up about 40 percent of the company's business.
The Las Vegas facility also will have a new warehouse and logistics center. The plant will receive a number of upgrades, such as improved dust collection capabilities, environmental controls and technical controls, Pickering said.
Foster expects to complete the project sometime in the first quarter of 2005.
To help manage its growth, Foster added a general manager for Foster West, Fred Silberkraus, who has more than 30 years of experience in polymer compounding. He previously held vice president and general management posts with Chromatech Corp. and RPC Industries.
Also, Phillip LaCroix is the new quality manager for both factories, and Anthony Listro joined Foster as director of engineering and product development. Both men will be based in Putnam.
As Foster adds resources it will hire more people, Pickering said, and now is adding an assistant production manager and an engineer. The company employs about 55 at its two sites.
Wooster Hydrostatics carrying Denison line
WOOSTER, OHIO - Wooster Hydrostatics Inc. expanded its product line with the addition of Denison Hydraulics to Wooster's inventory.
Denison of Marysville, Ohio, makes hydraulics systems for plastic molding machines, stamping presses, other industrial machinery and off-road vehicles. Wooster's inventory also includes rebuilt Rexroth, Calzoni, Vickers and other hydraulic systems.
The Wooster-based company is a major rebuilder and repair business. It claims quick turnaround and an extensive inventory of original parts.
Alloy Polymers buys twin-screw extruder
RICHMOND, VA. - Compounder Alloy Polymers Inc. has bought a twin-screw extruder from Berstorff GmbH for its plant in Gahanna, Ohio.
Alloy Polymers ordered a ZE 75 A UTX machine, according to Berstorff of Hanover, Germany. The high-torque machine can produce 4,800 pounds an hour.
The line has features important to the toll compounder, such as a C-clamp system for quick barrel changes, and a modular barrel design, said Subhash Pahuja, Alloy president and chief operating officer.
The Gahanna plant already has two Berstorff extruders. Richmond-based Alloy bought the Ohio plant from Basell NV in 2002.
Immix to gain staff, add new equipment
HOLLAND, MICH. - Immix LLC of Holland, which launched commercial production of color concentrates in June, plans to add machinery and employees.
Immix produces concentrates based on polyethylene and polypropylene on two extrusion lines - one twin-screw and one single-screw - at a 10,000-square-foot site, said John Vogelzang, vice president of sales. Immix employs four, but plans to add jobs and install new machinery next year. The firm also is developing concentrates based on polystyrene, ABS, polycarbonate and nylon.
To date, Immix has targeted its products at injection molded parts outside the automotive market. Vogelzang said Immix's color concentrates can provide cost savings through better pigment dispersion and higher letdown ratios. The typical letdown ratio for PE and PP is 50-to-1, but concentrates from Immix can go as high as 400-to-1, Vogelzang said.
Originally, Immix's goal was to develop a plastic/rubber compound for use as an additive in the compounding market. But after experimenting with screw design, it found its plastic/rubber method worked as well in dispersing pigments, he said.
Immix posted sales of less than $1 million in 2004, but expects sales in 2005 to be between $2 million and $3 million.
Borealis A/S to sell Portuguese company
MADRID, SPAIN - Borealis A/S has pulled out of polymer production in Iberia with the agreed sale of Borealis Pol¡meros Ltda., its Portuguese petrochemical subsidiary, to Repsol YPF of Madrid.
The sale includes a plant in Sines, Portugal, that makes propylene, ethylene, and high and low density polyethylene.
The plant can make 606 million pounds of PE annually.
``This divestment will allow us to concentrate on our four major European sites: Austria, Belgium, Finland and Scandinavia,'' said Borealis Chief Executive Officer John Taylor. Officials said Lyngby, Denmark-based Borealis still considers Spain and Portugal important markets, and will maintain a customer service center in Barcelona, Spain.
Repsol already makes PE and polypropylene. According to the firm, the new capacity complements its portfolio and adds applications not served by its petrochemical plants in Tarragona and Puertollano, Spain.
Repsol Chief Operating Officer Ram¢n Blanco said his firm ranks ninth among Western European polyolefin producers. Borealis is third.