Swiss Steel AG gets new name, facility
EMMENBRÜCKE, SWITZERLAND - Swiss Steel AG has a new name and a new facility in North America.
The company, which makes tool steel, became Schmolz + Bickenbach AG in September when Swiss Steel merged with Schmolz + Bickenbach KG and Ugitech SA.
Schmolz + Bickenbach, based in Emmenbrucke, also has opened its seventh North American site, in Greer, S.C., to supply toolmakers for both the plastics molding and metal-stamping industries. The region has seen increased growth because of new auto plants, the company said in a Dec. 7 press release.
Schmolz + Bickenbach also is expanding with a pending acquisition of Chicago tool-steel producer A. Finkl & Sons Group, announced Dec. 6. Finkl & Sons makes specialized steel used in the auto, aircraft and energy industries and has about $260 million in annual sales.
Investor group buys Emabond business
NORWOOD, N.J. - A senior management-led group of investors has purchased the Emabond business unit from Ashland Inc. and will continue operation under the name of Emabond Solutions LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
``We're looking to advance the technology and we're exploring global expansion,'' said Steve Chookazian, general manager and one of the investors.
Emabond designs and manufactures a line of high-strength joining processes for the assembly of thermoplastic parts. It is used in the welding of polyolefin resins and high strength plastics.
Chookazian said the deal, which included intellectual properties, closed Oct. 9 and the changeover was seamless. The staff of 24 will continue to operate from its Norwood headquarters.
Other members of the management team include Drew LaMarca, manufacturing and technology; and Joon Park, advanced design and process engineering. Mark Chookazian, the original inventor and founder of the process, is an investor.
DAK Group, a Rochelle Park, N.J.-based investment bank, acted as the financial adviser for Emabond Solutions and will continue as a strategic adviser.
Mark Chookazian was involved when Emabond was set up as a joint venture in 1969 with W.R. Grace. It later was sold to Ashland in 1986. He retired in 1993.
Steve Chookazian said most of the product's applications are for pressure situations. The process is used for filtration, medical, automotive, consumer and industrial products.
``It can be used anywhere there is a need for reliable, permanent welding for thermoplastic parts,'' he said.
SIG expects growth from Plasmax coating
NEUHAUSEN, SWITZERLAND - Packaging equipment company SIG Holding AG is anticipating major growth from its Plasmax PET bottle barrier-coating technology.
Neuhausen, Switzerland-based SIG recently announced that it has helped customers launch two more pilot projects using Plasmax in Europe and North America. SIG said it expects sales of the technology to reach 190 million euros ($242 million), almost quadruple what it is forecasting for 2009.
Rexam plc has one of the Plasmax pilot plasma coating units, and a second is with an undisclosed U.S. packaging company, according to SIG.
Already, the technology has been used in pilot production by European fruit juice manufacturer Eckes-Granini Group. That customer has filled 5 million Plasmax-treated PET bottles, with an aim of giving them a longer shelf life.
Eckes-Granini uses the technology at its juice plant in Henniez, Switzerland. Plasmax equipment was integrated with an existing bottle blow molding and aseptic filling line, and Eckes-Granini began running the coating unit from April.
The Plasmax process also has been tested in Germany on PET-bottled beers by the Brewery Testing and Training Institute in Berlin.
The beer's smell, taste and freshness, as well as oxygen infiltration and carbon dioxide loss of the product, were examined after six months of storage. The test found the containers fulfilled all the breweries' requirements from packaging quality, according to SIG.
The Plasmax system uses the Plasma Impulse Chemical Vapor Deposition process to coat the inside of PET bottles with a thin layer of glass. That process forms a secure barrier against oxygen ingress and carbonation loss.
Rexam's Petainer PET bottle unit is commissioning a 30 million-unit-per-year pilot system at its plant in As, Czech Republic. Petainer, which makes refillable PET bottles, sees the SIG technology as a good value for the money, according to Managing Director Per-Olof Wallin. If the system proves successful, Petainer may introduce it at its LidkÃ¶ping, Sweden, plant, Wallin added.
Rexam is in the process of selling Petainer, and the unit has attracted several potential buyers, Wallin said in a telephone interview from LidkÃ¶ping.
SIG developed the Plasmax technology with German glass technology company Schott AG, forming a 50-50 joint venture in 2004. In August of this year, SIG acquired Schott's stake in the venture, which was called Schott SIG Barrier Technologies GmbH.
SIG has forecast that by 2009, annual sales of the Plasmax system will be 52 million euros ($66 million).
SIG, reporting its financial results, recently revealed that its plastics packaging division generated sales of 63 million euros ($80 million) for the first half of 2006, up 17 percent from the same period a year ago.