LODI, OHIO Rising costs for energy and raw materials have led Teknor Apex Co. to close its color concentrate plant in Lodi.
The 39-employee Lodi site will close by the end of the year, an official with Pawtucket, R.I.-based Teknor said in an Aug. 26 news release. Production from the site will be transferred to Teknor plants in Henderson, Ky.; Hebronville, Mass.; and Jacksonville, Texas.
``By consolidating production in our other plants, we expect to strengthen our business, while maintaining service to our existing customers,'' Executive Vice President Bert Lederer said in the release.
Teknor purchased the site from Accurate Color about 10 years ago, Lederer said in an Aug. 29 phone interview. The plant's smaller size, in relation to the Henderson, Hebronville and Jacksonville plants, played a role in the decision, he added.
Most of the materials made at the plants were color concentrates and dry color, with a heavy emphasis on the rotational molding market. Machinery from Lodi will be moved to the other three plants. The property eventually will be sold.
``This makes us a healthier company,'' Lederer said. ``It's better for us to run a few larger operations than several smaller ones.''
Teknor ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders and also is a major manufacturer of garden hose. The firm employs 2,000 at 14 locations worldwide and has annual sales of more than $650 million.
Haitian's profit falls as costs go upward
NINGBO, CHINA Ningbo-based Haitian Plastics Machinery Group Co. Ltd., China's largest maker of injection molding machines, saw its profit fall more than 8 percent in the first half of 2008, as demand plummeted from economic woes in the U.S., rising oil prices and higher costs in China.
The tougher business environment led to a ``rapid and steep decline'' in demand for molding machines, particularly for smaller machines with less than 500 metric tons clamping force, according to parent firm, Haitian International Holdings Ltd.
Profit for the first six months of 2008 fell to 263 million yuan ($38.4 million), from 287 million yuan in the same period of 2007 ($37.7 million), even as sales rose about 9 percent to 2.06 billion yuan ($300.5 million), Haitian said in an Aug. 25 filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Haitian said sales of smaller machines, which make up more than 60 percent of its total business, fell 2.1 percent. But the company saw demand rise in some of its large-tonnage machine markets, such as automotive and electrical appliances, where the economic slowdown has been more muted.
Haitian also said it saw very strong growth in its energy-saving Mars series, where sales rose by 85 percent and now account for nearly one-fourth of Haitian's total sales.
China's new labor law and continued tightening of capital availability in the country, along with the global credit crunch, have curtailed spending, especially among smaller customers, Haitian said.
``Our potential customers have temporarily scaled down their capital investment plan[s] and slowed down'' purchases, the company said. ``Notwithstanding this, the group is still confident in the business development in China. With the persistent growth in [gross domestic product] in China, the surge in domestic demand is expected to continue with the economic growth in China.''
Haitian said it sold about 9,000 injection molding machines in the first half of the year, down from about 10,000 in the same period in 2007. But the average sales price rose to 224,000 yuan ($32,806), an increase of 21 percent.
Matsui sues Kawata over patent violation
TOKYO Japanese auxiliary equipment maker Matsui Mfg. Co. Ltd. has filed a second patent-infringement lawsuit against competitor Kawata Mfg. Co. Ltd., this time accusing its rival of violating its patent on a hopper.
Matsui, based in Tokyo, said in an Aug. 27 statement that Kawata violated patents on Matsui's ``aero power hopper'' when Kawata introduced its ``power reduction hopper.''
Matsui said its hopper, which it introduced in 1989, can both blend and remove foreign objects, and it asked the court to terminate ``production, sales and usage'' of the Kawata model, and compensate the company for its loss.
Matsui said it notified Kawata, also based in Tokyo, of its claim a year ago, but said that because Kawata's position made it difficult to continue negotiations, it filed the lawsuit.
A Kawata spokesman said the company had not received a copy of the lawsuit but was aware of the suit from Japanese newspaper reports. He said Kawata filed a counterclaim May 20 with Japan's patent agency, asking it to invalidate Matsui's patent.
``It is not new. It is not unique or advanced,'' Kawata said. ``It is not entitled to a patent.''
Kawata said it has been producing these hoppers since before Matsui filed its patent.
Matsui, in May, filed a similar suit against Kawata, alleging that the firm violated Matsui patents with its low-speed G Master KG series granulator.