Fire spares facility of Calif. recycler
RIVERSIDE, CALIF. - A fire in the Riverside materials yard of recycler Unlimited Plastics Inc. burned for more than four hours June 26 with dense smoke disrupting highway and local traffic, and nearby businesses and residences.
Twenty-five units from five different agencies assisted in the firefighting efforts, said Riverside division chief Mike Fisher in a statement. Damage is estimated at $500,000.
Fire units arrived within two minutes of the 4:56 p.m. alarm, according to officials.
On the open portion of its 5-acre site, Unlimited stored wooden pallets with plastic products for later recycling, but virtually all materials in the yard were lost in the dramatic, highly visible blaze. The 60,000-square-foot facility was not damaged.
Fisher said the fire's cause had not been determined. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries.
President Rosalva Rodriguez runs the industrial recycling business, which employs 26 and had 2006 sales of $4.3 million. The fire did not touch the firm's machinery, Rodriguez said by telephone.
Defense contract gives Hybrid boost
Hattiesburg, Miss. - Hybrid Plastics Inc. of Hattiesburg is dramatically boosting its capacity to make POSS-brand nanostructured chemicals as part of a $5.6 million contract with the Department of Defense.
POSS is derived from polyhedral oligomeric sil sesquioxanes, which is related to silicone. It improves the thermal and mechanical properties of traditional polymers and can be used with existing manufacturing methods.
The compounds have an average diameter of 1.5 nanometers, or a billionth of a meter. They can be used as direct replacements for hydrocarbon-based materials or as low-density performance additives to traditional plastics.
``By this time next year, our capacity will be significantly higher,'' Chief Operating Officer Carl Hagstrom said in a telephone interview.
The contract enables the firm to add machinery to boost capacity, Hagstrom said. However, he added, client confidentially agreements kept him from disclosing commercial uses. Hybrid is in the process of adding 15,000 square feet to its 35,000-square-foot Hattisburg plant.
Hybrid founder Joe Lichtenhan developed POSS at a U.S. Air Force laboratory. The firm is in partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
Kraiburg building TPE plant in Asia
GUANGZHOU, CHINA - Kraiburg TPE GmbH & Co. KG and business partner Hong Kong-based Milton Plastics Co. Ltd. both plan for more extensive offerings in Asia.
Waldkraiburg, Germany-based Kraiburg TPE will open its first Asian manufacturing site in Malaysia in mid-2008.
Milton distributes and sells Kraiburg's thermoplastic elastomers in the region, and offers support services. Milton recently established Milton Holdings International Ltd. in Hong Kong to oversee its Asian operations.
In 2005, Kraiburg inaugurated its China company, Kraiburg TPE China Co. Ltd., to offer technical services and research and development to clients in China. But it chose Malaysia for its first production site to create balance in the region, said Kraiburg China Managing Director Bobby Liu.
``No doubts, China is a quick-growing market, but the whole Asia-Pacific [region] has big potential,'' Liu said at ChinaPlas, held May 21-24 in Guangzhou.
The plant is near the Kuala Lumpur airport, he said. Until it is open, Kraiburg's TPE supply will continue to come from Germany, he said. He noted that a China plant is in the firm's future.
``In terms of revenue and growth, we will have a TPE plant in China,'' Liu said.
Kraiburg employs 18 in China, mainly to provide research and technology services.