Engineering school opens research lab
ANJOU, QUEBEC - Engineering school Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal has opened its new film research laboratory in Anjou, a suburb of Montreal.
Polynov Laboratory has a production-size cast extrusion line comprising two twin-screw extruders and two single-screw extruders. Davis-Standard of Pawcatuck, Conn., supplied major components of the system. Officials said the new line will help small and medium-size Canadian firms do film research before investing in production equipment.
The lab's total equipment budget was C$10 million (US$8.1 million), said laboratory manager Luc Parent. It is capable of research in construction products, automotive, food packaging, sanitary products, specialty papers and other markets.
Polynov is the first commercial-scale laboratory for the school's Research Centre on Polymers and Polymer Matrix Composites. Funding for the laboratory was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Quebec Education Ministry and companies including Davis-Standard and Lavergne Group.
Solvay, Chinese firm form a partnership
SHANGHAI, CHINA - Solvay Padanaplast SpA and Shanghai Original Enterprise Development Co. Ltd. have opened a plant in Shanghai to produce halogen-free, flame-retardant compounds for the cable industry.
The 50-50 partnership, called Padanaplast Original Advanced Compounds (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., began operating Feb. 1 with a capacity of 11 million pounds per year. Hai Lang Hou, president of Shanghai Original, said the cable sector is growing about 10 percent annually in China.
Roccabianca, Italy-based Padanaplast has annual global sales of about 50 million euros ($65 million) and is part of Solvay SA of Brussels, Belgium.
GE subsidiary opens 2nd Spanish factory
PITTSFIELD, MASS. - GE Advanced Materials has launched production at its second polycarbonate unit in Cartagena, Spain.
The new plant, built for 600 million euros ($780 million), will have annual capacity of almost 300 million pounds of Lexan-brand PC and will employ more than 250, officials with Pittsfield-based GEAM said in a news release. Commercial production began in late January.
The plant originally was set for a late 2002 opening, but was delayed to match customer demand, GEAM spokesman Terry Dunn said. GEAM's first PC plant at the site opened in 2000.
GEAM officials also confirmed plans to build a plant to produce Ultem-brand polyetherimide in Cartagena. Although officials would not provide more information about the plant, they had said previously it would cost $350 million, employ 120 and open in 2007.
The new PC plant raises the size of GEAM's Cartagena workforce to 600 and increases its total investment in the site to 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion). Officials described the Cartagena complex as ``one of the largest private investments in Spain in the last 20 years.''
Industry contacts expect global PC demand to grow 8 percent in 2005, down slightly from 10-12 percent growth last year.
In 2004, GEAM sales grew 17 percent to $8.3 billion, while profit climbed 15 percent to $710 million. Overall, the GEAM unit - which includes plastics, silicones and quartz - accounted for 5.4 percent of total sales and 3.4 percent of total profit in 2004 for parent firm General Electric Co. of Fairfield, Conn.
Hexcel plans to add carbon-fiber lines
STAMFORD, CONN. - Hexcel Corp. intends to invest about $80 million during three years to add new lines for carbon fiber and precursors at its Salt Lake City plant.
The expansion will increase carbon-fiber capacity about 40 percent. Meanwhile, Hexcel is improving its existing output.
``Market growth and the increasing penetration of these materials, particularly in commercial aerospace and wind turbine markets, bode well for Hexcel's prospects,'' David Berges, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Stamford-based Hexcel, said in a news release.
Italy's Viba teams up with Hong Kong's CVI
HONG KONG - Italy's Viba SpA has set out to grab a significant share of the developing masterbatch market in China through a joint venture plant in Hong Kong.
Viba, a color and additive masterbatch supplier, joined forces with Hong Kong masterbatch manufacturer CVI Modern Technology Ltd. to launch Viba-CVI in Hong Kong. The venture began operating in January and has a sales office in Shanghai, according to Viba of Tradate, Italy.
The plant can process about 4.4 million pounds a year; the firms want to expand that to about 20 million pounds within three years.
CVI's products include processing aids for linear low density polyethylene. Viba-CVI plans to serve the polyolefin film market.
Viba had relied on local agency representation in China. Viba also has plants in Hungary, Spain and France.