Chisso to start making compound in Ga.
TOKYO - Chisso Corp. of Tokyo will begin production of Funcster-brand long-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene compounds at an operation in Covington, Ga., in January.
The 22 million-pound-per-year-capacity facility will be at a Hercules Inc. plant. Hercules and Chisso operate a joint venture in Covington that makes PP staple fibers.
To market the Funcster products, Chisso is establishing a separate company named ComUSA LLC, which will have a sales office in Detroit. The material primarily will be sold into the automotive market, Chisso officials said in a May 12 news release.
The company already sells the compounds to Japanese transplant automakers and their suppliers, as well as Big Three and European automakers, Chisso international business general manager Paul Murayama said in the release. ``Our intention is to target the rapid growth, high-performance sectors such as front-end modules.''
Murayama said Chisso hopes to launch Funcster production in Europe within two years.
In late 2004, Chisso announced it was exploring the possibility of producing Funcster compounds in North America through an alliance with Audia Group, owner of PP compounder Washington Penn Plastic Co. However, a company spokesman said Audia is not involved in the newly announced plant.
Alcoa to close Ohio extrusion facility
PITTSBURGH - Alcoa Inc. will close its Kama rigid sheet extrusion plant in Elyria, Ohio, by the third quarter, laying off 66 workers.
The Pittsburgh firm said May 6 the closing is necessary to align production with demand. The plant's sheet is used in deli trays, clamshells and cookie trays.
``The decision to close this plant is very difficult,'' Mario Garza, Kama global vice president of operations, said in a news release. ``Despite the best efforts of our workforce, the cost structure of the Elyria plant is not competitive in today's global market.''
Alcoa acquired Kama Corp. of Hazleton, Pa., in 2002 as part of Ivex Packaging Corp. Production from the Elyria plant will be transferred to other Kama facilities and some equipment will be relocated within Alcoa.
Ohio announces polymer-research grants
COLUMBUS, OHIO - Ohio announced $34 million in polymer-related grants to create two Wright Centers of Innovation, which will be tied into six universities.
The centers will do research to develop technologies that state officials said could create 4,500 jobs in Ohio's polymer industry during the next three years and help protect the state's existing 140,000 polymer-related jobs.
The grants, from the state's Third Frontier Project, include a $22.5 million to create a Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices, based at Ohio State University, and an $11.5 million for the Ohio Biopolymers Innovation Center, also at OSU.
Sixty polymer companies also have pledged more than $52 million in support for the Wright Centers.
The University of Akron will be part of the CMPND. UA President Luis Proenza said the university will add a building next to its Polymer Engineering facility that will be dedicated to nanotechnology and other emerging polymer research.
Some of the money also is going to the University of Dayton, the University of Toledo, Kent State University and Wright State University.
SPI cancels trade mission to China
WASHINGTON - A series of last-minute pull-outs by participants prompted the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. on May 12 to cancel its planned June 15-23 trade mission to China.
The Washington-based SPI trip was to start in Shanghai and end at the Chinaplas 2005 show in Guangzhou. By mid-April, eight to 10 firms had either signed up or expressed serious interest, according to Karen Bland Toliver, SPI's senior director of international trade and industry statistics. But a month later Toliver issued a statement saying, ``Unfortunately, we had a number of last-minute cancellations, leaving us with only two companies registered to the mission.''
SPI's Global Business Council had worked with the Department of Commerce to plan the trip.