Hilex Poly closing S.C. film, bag site
HARTSVILLE, S.C. - In a move not entirely unanticipated, Hilex Poly Co. LLC will close its film and bag plant in Hartsville by the end of October and move equipment to three unspecified facilities. About 100 employees will be affected.
The company is leasing space at Sonoco Products Co.'s headquarters campus in Hartsville, Hilex President and Chief Operating Officer Rex Varn said Jan. 6.
Hilex was formed in late 2003 after an investment group purchased Sonoco's high density polyethylene film business. The company has its headquarters at a separate Hartsville site and plans to retain that, Varn added.
The plant makes specialty bags and mono- and multilayer blown film. After the equipment is moved, the company will consider expanding other Hilex plants, Varn said. Hilex has plants in Milesburg, Pa; Mount Olive, N.C.; North Vernon, Ind.; Jerome, Idaho; and Victoria, Texas. Hilex also is set to open a new recycling plant in North Vernon by the end of the first quarter.
Sonoco officials have not decided on plans for the Hilex facility, said spokesman Allan Cecil.
Hilex is a unit of Los Angeles-based HPC Group of Cos. Hilex is one of the largest bag makers in North America, making grocery bags, retail bags and other products. It ranked No. 23 on Plastics News' listing of North American film and sheet producers, with $250 million in sales for 2003.
Silver Line expansion begins with plant buy
NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Silver Line Building Products Corp. has purchased a 422,000-square-foot building in Durham, N.C., which will be equipped with 20 extrusion lines over a three-year phase.
The North Brunswick-based profile extruder has been eyeing the area, along with Winston-Salem, for some time.
Spokesman Andrew Karr said the plant will have roughly six lines in the first year with 450 employees, extruding vinyl window and door lineals.
Silver Line has active extrusion plants in North Brunswick; Marion, Ohio; Lithia Springs, Ga.; and Fall River, Mass. It is equipping a distribution site in Garland, Texas, and a fabrication site in Lansing, Ill., with extrusion lines.
Kodak Toronto plant closing, 360 jobs cut
TORONTO - Growth of digital imaging technology has spelled the demise of Kodak Canada Inc.'s Toronto manufacturing facility.
The plant includes 17 injection molding presses up to 400 tons that mainly mold spools, cores, canisters and other microfilm-related products. Company spokesman Bruce Horsburgh said Kodak Canada probably will sell the presses when they stop running in mid-2005. The operation occasionally took on outside molding, too.
About 360 employees in Toronto will lose their jobs this year as a result of the closure. Another 550 will continue running sales, marketing and support departments.
Horsburgh said the closure is not a cost-cutting move, but rather will match capacity to demand. Overall, parent Eastman Kodak Co. wants to reduce employment by 12,000-15,000 and cut operations square footage by a third in a three-year program. Toronto production will move to undisclosed Kodak plants.
The Toronto plant also did solid-state processing of PET bottle-grade resin from 1989 until 2002.
PE pipe maker W.L. nabs rival's facility
CASPER, WYO. - Polyethylene pipe producer W.L. Plastics LLC has purchased competitor Allwire Inc.'s plant in Gillette, Wyo.
The deal closed Dec. 30, officials said, giving Casper-based W.L. its second plant in the state. The building includes 45,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 3,000 square feet of office space. It houses five extrusion lines. The company's 20 employees will continue working there, officials said.
``W.L., we felt, could do a better job running the plant,'' Allwire President Alan Hopkins said in a Jan. 5 telephone interview.
``It was a logical fit. In that area [of the country], they're better. We consider their dealings were gentlemanly all the way through.''
W.L. kicked up production in Casper in 2001, to supply pipe for a methane recovery project in the Powder River Basin. Fresno, Calif.-based Allwire opened its Gillette facility in 2002 to supply the same market.
Last year W.L. opened another extrusion facility in Cedar City, Utah.
Mike Dahl, a W.L. director, said plans include modifying and adding some equipment at the Gillette site.
As for Allwire, its own expansion is not slowing down, Hopkins said. The firm has selected a site in North Las Vegas, Nev., where officials plan to build a 16,000-square-foot facility.
``We hope to have things going in six months, at the latest,'' Hopkins said.
Relocated Viking gets new name and owner
ANOKA, MINN. - Rotational mold maker Viking Pattern and Mold Co. has a new owner, a new location and a slightly new name.
Business manager Chad Strombeck bought the assets of the 20-year-old business from Gordon Shelberg in October, renaming it Viking Mold Inc., said sales manager Steve Beauchaine in a Jan. 5 telephone interview.
The new Viking Mold moved to a rented site in Anoka, about 10 miles from Viking Pattern's home in Blaine, Minn.
The 20 employees are handling the same services in aluminum rotational and vacuum form tooling, and the company plans to expand into blow mold tooling, Beauchaine said.