Ube boosts nylon capacity in Thailand
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY - Ube Engineering Plastics SA will add 110 million pounds of nylon 6 resin capacity at its plant in Rayong, Thailand, by the end of 2009.
The plant currently has capacity of about 230 million pounds. Strong growth in Southeast Asia is prompting the Ube's move, said Akio Koma, vice president of chemical products and resin, during K 2007, held Oct. 24-31 in Dusseldorf.
The firm generates about one-third of its annual sales from plastics and chemicals, including nylon, ABS and polyethylene. It is a unit of Ube Industries Ltd. in Tokyo.
Ticona relocating acetals to larger site
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY - Engineering resins maker Ticona plans to open what officials say is the world's largest acetal plant, in Kelsterbach, Germany, in 2011.
The new plant will have capacity of almost 310 million pounds a year and will replace an existing 240 million-pound facility there. The existing site is being closed to make room for an expansion of a nearby airport, said global acetal business director John Caamano at K 2007 in Dusseldorf.
Global acetal growth is expected to average 4-6 percent for the next several years, Caamano added. Growth in Asia should be in double digits, while U.S. growth should check in at 2 percent and European growth at around 3 percent, he said.
Kelsterbach-based Ticona ranks as the world's largest acetal maker. The firm, with North American headquarters in Florence, Ky., is a unit of Celanese Corp. of Dallas.
ColorMatrix to open second China plant
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY - Liquid color maker ColorMatrix Group Inc. is planning a manufacturing site for Suzhou, China, in early 2008.
The Berea, Ohio-based firm will open a 30,000-square-foot facility, said global development director Mark Frost in an interview at K 2007 in Dusseldorf.
ColorMatrix acquired a manufacturing plant in Shanghai earlier this year, when it bought Colorant-Chromatics Group of Cham, Switzerland. The Ohio firm has operated a sales office in Hong Kong for more than 10 years.
``We have a strong customer base in China,'' Frost said.
Also this year, ColorMatrix purchased Buenos Aires, Argentina-based Dosicolor, a liquid color maker with plants in Argentina and Mexico, for an undisclosed price.
ColorMatrix has annual sales of more than $100 million.
California firms report effects of fires
SAN DIEGO - Raging wildfires in Southern California have caused massive evacuations of residents and destruction of homes, but it appears the impact on the plastics industry has been minimal.
A spot check identified some site closures, operational inconveniences and smoky, ash-filled air, but so far, no major facility losses. Yet, ongoing fires could threaten certain plants.
Some blazes began Oct. 21, and more than a dozen fires were challenging firefighters simultaneously in the following days.
The San Marcos site of irrigation systems maker Hunter Industries Inc. closed Oct. 22-23, returning to normal operations Oct. 24. Thermoformer Specialty Manufacturing Inc. of San Diego operated with less staff for those same two days, in some cases ``because people could not find a route to the office,'' said engineering manager Jack Schrieffer.
Sheet and shapes distributor and fabricator Ridout Plastics Co. Inc., also of San Diego, reported reduced staffing, delayed deliveries and some customer closings.
Injection molder Paulson Manufacturing Corp. of Temecula, a security-device maker, maintained operations with reduced staff. Film maker Western Plastics Inc., also of Temecula, had similar issues, said Vice President Patrick Cunningham. ``Some employees [were] not able to get here, with freeway and road closures ... [and] delivery routes and schedules had to be redone.''
``For the most part, most of the damage has been in residential and rural areas,'' said Gerry Krippner, president of HK Plastics Engineering Inc. of Oceanside. ``We are not out of the woods yet.'' HK's plastics and screw products divisions maintained operations, but were not making local shipments, he said.
Kjeld Hestehave, president of processor Bomatic Inc. in Ontario, said plastics businesses in town have not been affected other than air quality, ash and dust from wind conditions.