Finland firm boosts its WPC production
HELSINKI, FINLAND — Global forest products group UPM-Kymmene Oyj is stepping up its production of wood-plastic composites to meet growing demand, particularly from central Europe.
The Helsinki-based company is investing around 12 million euros ($19 million) to construct a plant in Karlsruhe, Germany. The facility will turn out composite products using recyclable paper and plastic waste from the manufacture of laminated label materials.
UPM's new German facility, due to start by the end of this year, is scheduled to manufacture the company's first commercialized ProFi-brand composite product, a decking board, it said in a news release announcing the plan. The plant will have annual capacity of 26 million pounds.
Raw material will be drawn from its UPM Raflatac self-adhesive label material mill in Nancy, France, as well as from other local German label substrate factories, it said.
UPM-Kymmene said it has been pursuing new business opportunities in wood-plastic composites in recent years. In 2005, the group announced it was developing composite mixing offcuts and trim from its wood-products business, with paper and plastic laminate from paper converting processes.
It found that the composite made from laminate edge trim was durable and moisture-resistant. In addition, it said in 2005, the new material is suitable for machine tooling in the same way as wood products.
UPM began developing products and progressing to small-scale production of its new composite last year at its wood- products processing mill in Lahti, Finland. It installed an Austrian-supplied extruder at the Lahti plant.
``A mill in the middle of Europe strengthens our position in the fast-growing markets, now that the demand for materials suitable for outdoor building has considerably increased in central Europe,'' said UPM-Kymmene director Markku Koivisto, who is responsible for the UPM ProFi composites business.
Optimum purchases new blown film line
DELAWARE, OHIO - Optimum Plastics Inc. has installed a new nine-layer blown film from Kiefel Inc.
The line was commissioned June 10 at Optimum's Delaware facility. It is Optimum's second nine-layer line and the first from Kiefel of Wrentham, Mass.
Optimum will make food packaging with the new line, as it does with its first nine-layer system. In the early years after it was founded in 1997, the company made three-layer films exclusively before it decided to diversify into nine layers.
The line features oscillating haul off, brush rollers and collapsing technology. Optimum President Bob Clemons said the machine fits needs for precise drives and alignment to run stiff films like nylon and ethylene vinyl alcohol. Also critical is winding and slitting performed by Optimum in-line.
``We like to control the entire operation so we can better control our quality,'' Clemons said in a news release. Besides blown film, Optimum makes bags.
Apon buys remaining stake in Cycles JV
SAN DIEGO - San Diego-based injection molder Apon Industries Corp. bought out its partner's 50 percent interest in Cycles-Apon Inc. on June 9 for $500,000.
``We are going to change the [venture's] name'' to reflect the ownership change, said Anisuz Zaman, Apon owner and president.
The seller, Scientific Molding Corp. Ltd. of Somerset, Wis., inherited the stake as part of its March 2007 acquisition of Cycles Inc. of Sterling, Mass. SMC, primarily a contract manufacturer of medical devices, operates 11 facilities in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Ohio and India.
Separately, in late May, Apon spent $200,000 to buy a San Diego building near the U.S.-Mexico border for sales and accounting offices, and to do final assembly on some work from the maquiladora Apon Industrias SA de CV in Tijuana, Mexico, Zaman said.
``We will add five to 10 people to assemble and package products'' in the 1,500-square-foot San Diego location, he said. Previously, Apon was based in Chula Vista, Calif.
Recently, Apon added two new all-electric injection molding machines - a 300-ton Nissei and a 180-ton Toshiba - and relocated two used 85-ton hydraulic presses at the maquiladora. In total, the firm operates 46 injection molding presses, with 30-800 tons of clamping force, and four blow molding machines.
``We are going to add micromolding and a clean room,'' Zaman said.
Apon and Cycles formed the joint venture in 2005. Its operations employ 80, had 2007 sales of $2.5 million and share space with the maquiladora in a 78,000-square-foot Tijuana plant.
Apon employs 140 and reported sales of $7.5 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
Zaman projects the combined operations will have annual sales totaling $11 million.
Zaman formed Apon in late 1998, established the maquiladora in early 1999 and started a new corporation, Apon International Group, in August.
``We have 15 persons doing assembly for us in Dhaka, Bangladesh,'' said Zaman, who is a native of that country.
Nishiba Co. Ltd. of Kiryu, Japan, set up a Tijuana maquiladora in 1987, and Zaman operated that plant before leaving to form Apon.