Aero Plastics seeks Chapter 11 shelter
LEOMINISTER, MASS. - Housewares maker Aero Plastics Inc. voluntarily is seeking protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
The Leominster company filed Jan. 6 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Atlanta, where its manufacturing is based, according to J. Michael Lamberth, an Atlanta lawyer representing Aero.
Principal assets are listed as the 500,000-square-foot Atlanta plant, where the company employs about 400. Aero is continuing to operate during the proceedings.
Aero estimates assets and debts each at $10 million to $50 million. The firm's unsecured creditors are mainly resin companies. According to the filing, Total Petrochemicals USA Inc. of Atlanta tops the list, owed $1.85 million, and Resin Distribution Inc. of Ayer, Mass., is next with $1.37 million.
Officials at the injection and blow molder did not return calls.
Aero, founded in 1969, sells through retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Home Depot. Aero makes food and storage cases, as well as trash and utility products. The company shifted most of its production from Leominster in 2003.
KM, Dalian to make extruders in China
MUNICH, GERMANY - Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH and a big customer in China, Dalian Shide Group Co. Ltd., announced Jan. 21 they will build extruders in a joint venture factory set to open this fall in Zhejiang Province.
Munich-based KM will hold 90 percent of the shares of the firm and Dalian Shide will hold the remaining 10 percent. KM said the total investment will be about 10 million euros ($13 million).
The plant will make profile and pipe extruders and downstream equipment, targeting the middle and upper price segments. Since 2001, Krauss-Maffei has supplied more than 100 profile extruders to Dalian Shide Plastic Industry Co. Ltd., a huge maker of vinyl windows and pipe in China. The company claims to be the biggest extruder of vinyl windows in China. KM in 2003 said it got an order for 240 machines from Dalian Shide.
Graziano Parisi, a member of Krauss-Maffei's managing board and an executive covering the extruder business, said, ``We'll be cutting order lead times and producing ... closer to our markets and customers.''
Zhejiang Province is between Shanghai and the plastics-machinery center of Ningbo. The plant is to begin production by the end of October.
Employee killed at Molding Dynamics
SPINDALE, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Labor is investigating a fatality at a custom injection molder in Spindale.
Tim Rowe, 46, was killed Jan. 10 when a mold piece struck his head at Molding Dynamics Inc. A Labor Department spokeswoman said the investigation could take six to eight weeks.
Rowe had worked at the firm six years, according to Alan Kearns, president and majority owner. Rowe was attempting to remove an insulated hot runner from a mold, Kearns said, when a spring-loaded slide apparently came unstuck and flew out.
Kearns said in a telephone interview that he closed the Spindale molding operation for three days after the incident. He said the 55-employee business never had a serious accident before. Founded 15 years ago, Molding Dynamics supplies diverse markets including housewares and home and garden.
AmPro adding five presses in Alabama
LEEDS, ALA. - AmPro Custom Molding is spending about $450,000 to expand its injection molding capacity in Leeds.
President and Chief Executive Officer Burns Roensch said growing demand for automotive parts in Alabama and adjacent states is the main reason AmPro is adding five new Sumitomo injection presses, Star robots and related equipment. Most of the presses, with clamping forces of 50-130 tons, were delivered in early January.
Some of the Sumitomos will replace aging Boy machines, Roensch said in a telephone interview. Overall, AmPro has presses of 22-500 tons. The firm is growing in custom molding, insert molding, imprinting, assembly, contract manufacturing and drop shipping. He did not disclose annual sales.
Roensch is majority owner of Leeds-based AmPro, a division of American Household Products Inc. AmPro employs 50-60, depending on its work mix, in its 75,000-square-foot plant.