Graco Inc. acquires machinery makers
MINNEAPOLIS - Graco Inc., a global specialist in fluid handling, has taken over two key U.S. makers of polyurethane processing machinery and their European affiliates in separate moves.
In recent weeks, Minneapolis-based Graco took over Gusmer Corp. of Lakewood, N.J., and Liquid Control Corp. - businesses with nearly $70 million in annual sales.
Most recently, Graco paid $45 million to affiliates of PMC Global Inc. of Sun Valley, Calif., to buy the stock of Gusmer Corp., and a further $20 million for its Gusmer Europe S.L. operation in Vilanova, Spain. The two businesses had sales totaling $43 million.
Earlier, Graco bought North Canton, Ohio-based Liquid Control Corp., which reports annual sales of $26 million from three subsidiaries: Profill Corp., also based in North Canton, Decker Industries Inc. of Palm City, Fla., and Liquid Control Ltd. of Wellingborough, England.
Russian company planning expansion
NIZHNEKAMSK, RUSSIA - Russian petrochemicals company Nizhnekamskneftechim is planning two polyolefin projects with combined capacity of nearly 772 million pounds. The plants are to begin operating in Russia by 2007.
In 2007, Nizhnekamskneftechim, a national leader and major European synthetic rubber producer, plans to launch a high and linear low density polyethylene plant with 507 million pounds of annual capacity at the Nizhnekamsk oil refinery complex.
In the meantime, the company expects to complete and start a $120 million polypropylene plant with a capacity of almost 265 million pounds at the same site by next year.
Another project, due for completion during 2006, is an HDPE plant planned by petrochemical company JSC Salavatnefteorgsintez. The 265 million-pound-per-year plant will be in Salavat.
Hybrid Plastics starts production of POSS
HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Hybrid Plastics Inc., a nanotechnology firm based in Hattiesburg began commercial production of POSS-brand masterbatches recently.
Masterbatches in the POSS (polyhedral oligomeric silsequioxanes) product line can be based on polyolefins and engineering resins, Chief Operating Officer Carl Hagstrom said by telephone. The materials can offer nanometer-scale control to improve the thermal and mechanical properties of traditional polymers, officials said. Hybrid's first commercial masterbatch products are for food packaging film.
The firm relocated from Fountain Valley, Calif., in June to take advantage of a partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi, also in Hattiesburg. Hybrid now leases a research and development lab at USM and works with the school's polymer science program, which Hagstrom described as ``one of the best in the country.''
Hybrid now operates one twin-screw extruder with annual capacity of about 110,000 pounds in a 20,000-square-foot site. The 17-employee firm plans to add a second extruder and several new employees by the end of the year, Hagstrom said. Sales for 2005 are expected to be between $1 million and $5 million.
Hybrid was founded by Joe Lichtenhan, who developed the POSS technology while working with the U.S. Air Force. Lichtenhan, Hybrid's chief executive officer, now shares ownership with several members of the firm's management.
Hybrid - through its POSS nanostructured materials - was a finalist in the 2002 Best of Small Tech Award given by Small Times Magazine, officials said.
Solutia puts nylons into umbrella group
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. is bringing its nylon resins and nylon-based fibers under one umbrella for the global auto industry.
The new Vydyne Automotive group takes its name from Solutia's trade name for its injection molding nylon resins. The new group also includes nylon fibers used in tires, air bags, hoses and interiors.
Solutia also will increase product development and plans to launch several new products early this year.
Colines' B-Pack unit demonstrates film
NOVARA, ITALY - Gruppo Colines srl recently demonstrated the latest version of its Barriercast seven-layer barrier film line at its B-Pack SpA subsidiary in Novara, near Milan.
B-Pack was set up 10 years ago as a test bed for barrier film processing technology, and also to be a commercial producer of the films. It claims to have been the first company in Italy to produce ethylene vinyl alcohol-based barrier film. It also makes films with nylon barrier layers.
Colines, also in Novara, has spent several years developing the technology at B-Pack. Considerable effort went into reducing and recycling production scrap, which now is about 3 percent.
The line has eight extruders - the eighth reprocesses edge scrap and feeds it back into one of the other seven. A Cloeren die encapsulates the barrier layers, so that edge trim contains only the principal polymer, which can be either polyethylene or polypropylene.
Marketing manager Francesco Peccetti said the firm guarantees its Barriercast film lines will produce a maximum of 5 percent scrap.
Processing operations, not machinery sales, are the principal money earners for Colines. In 2002, the last year for which figures are available, film production brought in 35 million euros, while machinery sales amounted to 15 million euros.
Colines also has developed technology to produce 15-micron breathable PE film for diapers. It is based on the use of mono-orientation of film containing high levels of calcium carbonate.