Western Container adds Miss. capacity
MIDLAND, TEXAS - Western Container Corp. is putting the finishing touches on an expansion of its injection molding capacity in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Western is investing $14 million in the expansion, which includes a 100,000-square-foot addition to bring the plant's space to about 300,000 square feet. The firm also is installing new machinery from Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., according to Western Container General Manager Eric Scott.
The expansion is the latest in a series in Hattiesburg since the plant began operating in 1998. The plant injection molds PET preforms and blows them into bottles subsequently filled by Coca-Cola Enterprises affiliates in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee. Scott said in a telephone interview from Hattiesburg that the expansion will be done in the first quarter of 2006. The site now has capacity to injection mold 7 million preforms and blow mold 3.5 million bottles daily.
The Hattiesburg plant is one of six operated by Midland-based Western. Scott said employment has been rising steadily in Hattiesburg, and he expects it to reach 145. Hattiesburg's average starting salary is about $33,000, including benefits.
``We have been in a growth mode for all eight years we have been in Hattiesburg, and as a result, we have enjoyed a solid employee base and secure jobs for all employee members,'' Scott said in a news release.
``The type environment that they offer is crucial to retaining a valuable workforce, and the quality of their employees is evident in their success,'' said Frank McWhorter, chairman of the Area Development Partnership. ADP helped Western secure state tax credits for the expansion.
Delphon buys pad printer TouchMark
HAYWARD, CALIF. - Packaging supplier Delphon Industries LLC acquired pad printer TouchMark Inc. on Jan. 3 in an effort to broaden the Delphon service base. Terms were not disclosed.
Less than two miles separate the Delphon and TouchMark facilities in Hayward, and the plan calls for consolidating operations, said Jeanne Beacham, Delphon's chief executive officer.
TouchMark, which employs fewer than 20, pad prints logos, graphics and part identifications on packaging made of Santoprene thermoplastic elastomer, polypropylene, polycarbonate, rubber, powder-coated metal and other materials. Sizes extend from large panels to microscopic devices for medical applications. TouchMark also provides graphic design and assembly.
Gary Jones, who was TouchMark president, will continue as operations manager through a transitional period.
Including the TouchMark division, Delphon has annual sales approaching $20 million.
Other Delphon divisions are Gel-Pak in Hayward, which applies a proprietary gel coating to injection molded boxes and trays; and Quik-Pak of San Diego, which uses open-cavity package technology and assembly services in processing plastic packaging for semiconductor and micro-electromechanical-system manufacturers and integrated-circuit design firms.
Airbus, Boeing using more composites
TOULOUSE, FRANCE - Airbus SAS plans to use polymer-matrix composites as the principal fuselage material in new generations of its medium-range aircraft, which is replacing the A320.
The material choice fuels a lingering dispute between arch competitors Airbus and Boeing Co. about responsible use of advanced materials for commercial aircraft fuselages. Using composites rather than aluminum has raised questions about inherent risks, damage detection and ultrasound-scan requirements.
Each firm wants to be an advocate for weight-saving carbon-fiber-reinforced composites, but neither wants demerits if the newer materials fail to meet customer expectations.
While both firms have made composite tails, wings, rudders and nacelles, Boeing will advance use of the technology in the fuselage of the 787, due for market entry in 2008. Airbus counters with composite aft fuselages and horizontal and vertical tails on its jumbo A380 and its 787 replacement, the A350. The A380 is nearing commercial use, and the A350 is slated for a 2010 launch.
Boeing, based in Chicago, had 2004 sales of $53.5 billion and, at year-end 2004, employed 159,000.
Toulouse-based Airbus employs 53,000 and had 2004 sales of 20 billion euros ($27.3 billion). The simplified joint stock company is owned by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. (80 percent) and BAE Systems plc (20 percent).