Tech Blend adding space for warehouse
ST. JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, QUEBEC - Black concentrates producer Tech Blend and Co. LP is more than doubling its space to bring warehousing under one roof.
The St. Jean-sur-Richelieu firm is spending C$2.5 million (US$2.4 million) to build a 60,000-square-foot addition and expects to complete the project by the end of the year. The company has relied on outside storage and distribution facilities, said sales director Kevin Greene.
``The new building incorporates the latest state-of-the-art technologies for energy recovery and conservation of both the existing plant and the new building,'' Tech Blend President and Chief Executive Officer Manouk Djoukhadjian said in a news release.
The company is a major producer of black concentrates for markets such as pipe, film, geomembranes, automotive and packaging. Greene said most of the output from its two continuous mixer lines is shipped into the Northeast United States. The company employs about 35.
Tech Blend bought its 50,000-square-foot plant in 1999. The site formerly was a polypropylene fiber plant run by Hercules Canada Inc.
New lab enhancing Precision's abilities
NEWARK, DEL. - A new test laboratory, featuring automated trim-handling systems, is among the benefits Precision AirConvey Corp. will gain by doubling the space at its Newark headquarters.
In June, the pneumatic conveying systems company pushed its overall space to 20,000 square feet, adding features that include a new product research and development center, as well as a testing center with fully operating trim-handling systems, plastics auxiliary equipment and a static-control system.
``We literally have everything represented in the lab,'' said Chief Executive Officer Tom Embley in a telephone interview.
He said the lab lets employees and customers test ideas to make sure they are feasible.
``We said that we needed a lab to expose sales and other people to what we can do and what we can't do. Now, we can actually run equipment before shipping'' he said.
Sales are up 12 percent this year and have doubled during the past five years, according to Embley. He said North American sales have been particularly strong, pointing to the film and sheet market as a growth area.
Companies are seeing the importance of recycling and are finding that it can help reduce resin costs, he said.
``With the increase in the cost of resin - if you have 7-8 percent scrap, it is now worth a lot more to you,'' Embley said.
The company offers automated edge-trim removal systems for film and sheet. It also has roll splitters, densifiers and repelletizing systems.
He said it took six months to design and renovate the flexible space. It also has an exercise area, a new employee lounge and a training room. In addition, the company has warehouse space with advanced inventory controls.
Ashland Inc. invests in China operations
COVINGTON, KY. - Resin maker Ashland Inc. said it plans to spend $78 million (590.1 million yuan) to build an unsaturated polyester resin plant in northern China, its second in the country, and set up an application development and administrative center in Shanghai.
The $35 million (264.8 million yuan) resin plant will begin operations in 2009, and comes as the company said demand for plastic composites is very strong in China's construction, transportation and wind-power markets.
The Covington-based firm said it plans to triple capacity at its existing Chinese unsaturated polyester plant in Changzhou, to 132 million pounds a year, by next year.
``Our growth in China has been fast-paced,'' Ashland Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James O'Brien said during a July 25 conference call with analysts.
Since the Changzhou plant opened in 2005, O'Brien said, the company has expanded and sold out the plant's capacity and is again expanding production at the site.
International market growth in China and Europe in the company's performance materials unit, which includes resin manufacturing, offset weakness in its North American markets, Ashland said July 25 in its third-quarter earnings report.
Ashland said the resin plant will be built at an unspecified location in northern China. Shanghai-based spokeswoman Helen Pei declined to say what the new plant's capacity will be.
The company also said it will spend $43 million (325.3 million yuan) on its new technology development and administrative center in Shanghai. That 150,700-square-foot facility, to be finished in 2008, will be Ashland's regional headquarters.
``It is vital to our continued success in China that we provide in-country product and application development support,'' said Luca Fontana, chief technology officer, in a news release. ``With this new center, Ashland will be able to proactively provide our customers in this region with the scientific and technological expertise they need.''