Sekisui Chemical building plant in Ky.
WINCHESTER, KY. - Japan's Sekisui Chemical Co. is investing more than $43 million to build a plant in Winchester that will make a polymer for the inner layers of North American car windshields.
Sekisui expects to open the plant by the fall of 2007. The facility will make polyvinyl butyral for use in windshield layers and other auto and architectural glass.
The site will employ 80 and have the capacity to make PVB for 6 million vehicles annually, the Tokyo-based company said in a Jan. 23 news release.
Sekisui markets the material under the S-LEC brand name. The Winchester plant will operate under the name Sekisui S-LEC America LLC. The film is used as a protective barrier and also provides improved sound and solar protection.
Young blow molder ready to add machine
PEMBROKE, N.H. - When his work was outsourced, Steve Wilson saw an opportunity to start a new blow molding company.
He responded by forming WSW Plastics LLC last year and is looking to expand the business and boost sales by 10 percent.
``I used to manage a plastics facility for a stadium-seat producer, but they made a strategic decision to outsource the work,'' said Wilson, who would not name the company.
He stayed on as a consultant but decided to start his own business. Wilson said he went back to his former employers, and they outsourced some stadium-seating work to him.
``I spent some time looking for jobs, but then I saw the opportunity. It was something that I always wanted to do,'' said Wilson, who has 34 years of blow molding experience.
WSW Plastics in Pembroke now blow molds stadium seating and skateboard ramps in an 18,000-square-foot facility. It has 16 employees, and the company operates 24 hours a day, five days a week. WSW has three blow molding machines with 6- to 20-pound shots. Wilson anticipates adding a fourth machine this year.
``We had a very good first year,'' he said, noting that sales hit $1.4 million.
WSW molds mostly high density polyethylene but has worked in other materials.
Wilson said the first year was hectic. Electric prices were stable but are going up this year. The price of HDPE also has been volatile since Hurricane Katrina. However, he said he has enjoyed the challenge and is looking at new markets for blow molding.
Graham Packaging opens design center
YORK, PA. - Blow molder Graham Packaging Co. LLC unveiled a new design center recently to serve as an incubator and interactive workshop to develop plastic containers.
``What's unique is that we put engineers next to designers, and they work in teams [with the customer],'' said Sheldon Yourist, Graham's senior manager of global product design.
Yourist said the building has a design studio and a materials library - everything from wireless laptops and plasma screens to image files and other reference materials. Another area showcases bottles Graham has produced.
``It takes you out of the standard conference room,'' said Yourist, noting the facility lets a customer work on a design, pick colors, create models and prototypes, and then take them home.
Graham Packaging makes containers for food and beverages; automotive lubricants; and household, personal-care and specialty items. It said it has produced more than 20 billion containers at 87 plants in North and South America and Europe. The firm had sales of $2.4 billion for the past 12 months.