Highland adds line to make Korlux sheet
SHEPHERD, MICH. Bordener Engineered Laminates Inc., dba Bordener Engineered Surfaces Inc., has launched a faux granite sheet that is flexible and easy to install.
Highland Plastics Inc. of Shepherd has reconfigured one of its extrusion lines to make the sheet, which is marketed under the Korlux brand.
The sheet consists of a flexible stone veneer comprising two layers. The top layer is impregnated with stone to provide a granite appearance; the back layer is mineral filled.
Polypropylene is the resin matrix for the construction.
Midland, Mich.-based Bordener is supplying Korlux in thicknesses of 0.35-0.5 mil. Reception has been good, said Greg Mesler, Bordener's sales and customer service manager.
Korlux is suited to commercial, institutional and residential applications, Mesler said in a telephone interview from his firm's office in Midland, Mich.
Early versions had a laminated construction, but coextrusion provided the best balance of properties and efficiency.
Mesler said test installations of Korlux are underway and distribution is being lined up for several big-box retailers. It's easy to apply, doesn't chip and is durable, Mesler said. The sheet can be applied with glue.
Highland has helped develop the sheet since Bordener took the project on about three years ago.
Highland Plastics owner Steve Simmons and his team provided invaluable assistance with their knowledge of processes and the ability to furnish prototypes, Bordener chief scientist Chris Surbrook said in a news release.
Simmons said in a telephone interview that the Korlux project helps Highland diversify from its main business in automotive, which is hurting in the current economy. Among its auto parts are acoustic barriers, auto flooring and trunk liners.
What's nice about this sheet is that it is non-auto related, Simmons explained.
HIghland's four extruders, two of which are coextruders, process polypropylene, ethylene/vinyl acetate and thermoplastic polyolefins. The line modified to make Korlux has a 4.5-inch extruder and can produce sheet up to 60 inches wide.
Clamshell producer closing Kan. plant
LAWRENCE, KAN. Lawrence Paper Co. is planning to consolidate its thermoforming operations, closing its plant in Perry, Kan., and moving the work to its Lawrence headquarters.
Basically, too much of the business is moving overseas, Lawrence President Justin Hill said in a telephone interview. The company's plastic clamshell business has been waning during the past 10 years, he added.
We'll move two or three machines to Lawrence and move out of the factory. We're not getting out of the business, Hill said.
No timetable has been set, but the 12-mile move could take a couple of months, he said. There's room in Lawrence to set up the machines, and three of the eight employees in Perry will make the move as well.
Lawrence started thermoforming in Lawrence in 1985.
Clean room expands Tech-Way markets
FRANKLIN, OHIO Tech-Way Industries Inc. recently expanded its medical molding capabilities, adding a 4,000-square-foot, Class 100,000 clean room to house seven molding machines.
It's allowed us to get into some areas we were not in, said Ron Parker, owner and president of Tech-Way.
The project started a year ago and the area is now set with seven molding machines with clamping forces of 8-110 tons and shot sizes of 0.25-9 ounces.
Parker said the mix includes new and used machines, among them brands like Milacron, Arburg and Van Dorn.
The clean room also contains a proprietary machine that was created by Tech-Way employees.
Franklin-based Tech-Way has the ability to do insert molding, medical assembly and prototyping. The firm specializes in products that are made from engineered resins.
The new area was a makeover of a warehouse area, and Parker said it exceeds Class 100,000 parameters. The company has been involved with medical molding since 1989 and has grown alongside its customers.
Overall, the company occupies a 90,000-square-foot facility and has 35 presses ranging up to 500 tons. Parker is a second-generation owner: His father, Robin Parker, started the company in 1964 with four partners. Now, it has 55 employees.
Tech-Way also serves markets including power tools, aerospace and food-processing equipment for commercial applications.
We're optimistic. Like so many others, we are slower than we like to be, but it is a process of developing new customers and developing new products, Ron Parker said.
Flex-N-Gate to idle auto parts division
TILLSONBURG, ONTARIO Flex-N-Gate Corp. will idle its D.D.M. Plastics Co. auto parts division in Tillsonburg in April.
Volumes have dropped off substantially for all programs, Randy Marko, Flex-N-Gate vice president of human resources, said in an interview from the firm's Windsor, Ontario, office.
D.D.M. will lay off about 160 workers at the injection molding plant by early April.
They will join about 450 laid off last year and early in 2009.
We're doing an idling, not a closure, Marko stressed. Much of the equipment will remain in place. At the same time, Marko said, the company is not trying to give the impression the plant definitely will reopen.
Workers at D.D.M. are represented by the International Association of Machinists.
D.D.M has had contracts to mold parts for Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and the Cami Automotive Inc. joint venture between General Motors Corp. and Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd. in Ingersoll, Ontario.
D.D.M.'s work will be transferred to other Flex-N-Gate facilities. The Urbana, Ill., firm and its subsidiaries do plastic injection molding in Kitchener, Windsor and Peterborough, Ontario, Salem, Ohio, Danville, Ill., Russellville, Ky., Evart, Mich., and Ada, Okla., Flex-N-Gate said on its corporate Web site.
Flex-N-Gate entered plastics molding in 2001 when it purchased Ventra Group Inc. of Oakville, Ontario. The company also has extensive metal fabrication operations.
Engel Mexico shows Dolphin technology
MONTERREY, MEXICO Engel de México SA de CV, a subsidiary of Engel Machinery Inc., has presented its Dolphin technology to French automotive industry supplier Faurecia SA, which would use the technology in automotive interior applications.
Dolphin can make two-component, soft-touch parts such as dashboards and arm rests on one injection molding machine.
The process uses an Engel duo machine that has a rotary table at its base.
Currently, automakers like Volkswagen AG buy such items from companies similar to Faurecia after the latter firms have conducted a long process of manufacturing the foam and ABS-based injection molded parts separately and then combining them.
Ricardo Guerrero Balandrano, sales coordinator for Engel México, said in a Feb. 2 interview in Monterrey that Engel has been in contact with Faurecia, which has two large plastic injection molding plants in Puebla, close to Volkswagen's giant vehicle manufacturing complex.
VW's Puebla complex, 75 miles southeast of the Mexican capital, is Volkswagen's only vehicle assembly operation in North America, although the German carmaker has announced that it intends to build another assembly complex in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Engel has operated in Mexico for 15 years. The company has 1,400 presses installed in the country. Its major customers are in the automotive industry, followed by clients in packaging, medical supplies, electronics and telecommunications.
Most of Engel's presses in Mexico are between 600 and 2,000 tons, according to Guerrero.
He said that the company, which employs 18 in Mexico and gives technical support to customers in Central America and Puerto Rico, plans in 2010 to open a training center and spare parts warehouse in Querétaro, 130 miles north of Mexico City.