Recession sinks a third ACH plant deal
MILAN, MICH. Flex-N-Gate Corp. and Automotive Components Holdings LLC in March terminated a proposed purchase of ACH's Milan plant by Flex-N-Gate without completing a sale.
Urbana, Ill.-based Flex-N-Gate in 2006 signed a memorandum of understanding to buy the plant, but was unable to complete the deal after economic conditions deteriorated, ACH spokeswoman Della DiPietro said in an April 16 interview.
ACH is a holding company of Ford Motor Co. and is made up of former parts plants spun off to Visteon Corp. in 2000, then handed back to Ford in 2005 to sell or close. The Milan plant injection molds bumper fascia and blow molds fuel tanks. It employs 500. ACH will invest in production improvements at Milan until it can pursue a new sale, DiPietro said.
It's the third time in a year that the economy has foiled an ACH plant sale: In 2008, ACH terminated contracts to sell its Sandusky, Ohio, lighting plant to Meridian Automotive Systems Inc. and its Saline, Mich., interior parts plant to Johnson Controls Inc. DiPietro said production and improvements have continued at both plants amid plans to sell both, along with a book of business, when conditions improve.
Color Master installs continuous mixer
BUTLER, IND. Color Master Inc. bucked the recessionary trend in March, when it installed a new production line at its Butler plant. The new continuous mixer is the firm's sixth production unit, Vice President Kyle Skaggs said in a recent interview.
The line which includes Color Master's first underwater pelletizer can produce micropellets. It is making material for vinyl siding and consumer bottles for cosmetics and other markets, Skaggs said.
Butler-based Color Master makes color compounds and concentrates based primarily on polyolefins, ABS, polystyrene and PVC. The 18-year-old firm posted sales of about $11 million in 2008. Sales in January and February were down from a year ago, but Skaggs said March and April have been healthier, thanks to increased sales in building and construction markets.
President Phil Schlink said the next machinery addition at the 47-employee firm probably will require an expansion of its 40,000-square-foot plant.
StackTeck adds $1.5M in new machinery
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO Canadian mold maker StackTeck Inc. will invest US$1.5 million in new equipment to speed manufacturing and improve the flow of production.
The Brampton firm has added a Hardinge hard turning lathe, which can reduce manufacturing time for key mold components by 20 percent, CEO Randy Yakimishyn said in an April 15 news release. More equipment is slated to arrive this month to boost StackTeck's high-speed milling capacity.
StackTeck also has added injection molding presses for mold testing in house. It has 11 presses, ranging in size from 110-660 tons. Five of the presses were added in the past year.
The additions help the company meet customers' needs for a wider range of services, Yakimishyn said. StackTeck makes injection mold tooling for the packing, consumer products, housewares and medical industries.
Tegrant division to shutter foam plant
DEKALB, ILL. Tegrant Corp.'s Protexic Brands protective packaging division plans to close its Marion, Ohio, plastic foam plant within 60-90 days.
That facility makes more than 80 percent of its products for automotive, Phil Amberg, Tegrant's vice president of human resources, said in a recent interview. There has been a dramatic reduction in demand over time. He said typical products from Marion are expanded polypropylene bumper cores.
About 40 workers will lose their jobs, including 17 already laid off. Amberg said it is unclear where the work will be moved. The relocation is part of discussions under way with the plant's union, Local 1949 of the United Steelworkers.
The Marion plant opened more than 30 years ago as Tuscarora Inc. It was bought in 2001 by SCA Packaging North America. SCA became Tegrant in 2007 when SCA was purchased by Metalmark Capital LLC of New York.