Mitsubishi press rep MHI cuts U.S. staff
BENSENVILLE, ILL. - MHI Injection Molding Machinery Inc., which sells Mitsubishi presses in the United States, has laid off its national sales manager and an undisclosed number of other employees as it scales back in the face of a weak U.S. market, a top executive said.
David May's last day was Dec. 31. He said he has worked at MHI for nearly 12 years and probably will stay in plastics machinery.
MHI President Kazumoto Sakai said other employees were laid off, including some administrative positions. He did not say how many jobs were cut from MHI, in Bensenville. Sakai said the company has contracted out some of its sales and service work as part of the restructuring. But he stressed that MHI continues to sell machines and handle service and spare parts. MHI is owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. of Nagoya, Japan.
``We have no intention to change our strategy and our sales,'' Sakai said.
In a Jan. 5 telephone interview, Sakai said MHI needed to cut costs to match its lower U.S. sales volume. The U.S. injection market is about half the size it was in the late 1990s.
``It's picking up, but from the last half of the year 2000, it's been very tough,'' Sakai said. ``It's still tough.''
Mitsubishi outsourced U.S. sales of its machine tools to Yamazen Inc. of Schaumburg, Ill., but MHI has no intention of doing that for injection presses, Sakai said.
Plastech cited for safety violations
DEARBORN, MICH. - Automotive molder Plastech Engineered Products Inc. faces a possible fine of $163,000 after federal safety officials said they found a range of safety problems at its Bryan, Ohio, plant, including violations of some of the same standards that inspectors found during a 2002 inspection.
The Bryan plant is on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ``site-specific targeting'' list of facilities with high injury and illness rates, according to Jule Ann Jones, area director of OSHA's Toledo, Ohio, office. OSHA announced the inspection Dec. 16.
The repeat violations include failing to protect energized electrical equipment from water exposure and failing to conduct machine lockout audits. Jones said a repeat violation means the problem was cited in an earlier inspection and fixed, but then reappeared.
The inspection also found willful violations for hazards associated with falls and for failing to isolate all sources of energy. The company also faces a number of violations categorized as serious, for lack of hearing-loss protection, machine guarding and personal protective equipment.
Officials with Dearborn-based Plastech could not be reached for comment. Jones said the company has entered into negotiations with OSHA.
An OSHA news release also noted that the firm's Newton Falls, Ohio, facility faces $540,000 in fines for an incident last year in which a worker's hand was amputated when it was caught in a mechanical power press.
Plastech told Ohio officials in November that it planned to close the Newton Falls plant early this year.
Rehau moves Mich. extrusion to Quebec
LEESBURG, VA. - Rehau Inc. is shifting its extrusion business for the furniture industry from Sturgis, Mich., to Canada, but will retain a presence in Sturgis, as its expands its distribution center there.
The manufacturing shift to Baie d'Urfe, Quebec, will cut about 40 jobs in Sturgis. When possible, Leesburg-based Rehau will offer jobs in Baie d'Urfe to employees from Sturgis, officials said. The change is to be complete by July.
The Quebec plant already makes rigid and flexible PVC profiles. The Sturgis work consists of furniture edge bands.
Vantage spending $1 million to expand
STANDISH, MICH. - Thermoformer Vantage Plastics Inc. is investing $1.1 million in an expansion that will add 18 jobs to its 47-employee workforce.
The state of Michigan announced a $168,000 grant Jan. 5 to help with the expansion to the Standish-based company. The city is chipping in another $18,700 in support.
Vantage specializes in pallets and industrial dunnage used mostly in the auto industry.