UTM boosting large-mold plant, staff
EASLEY, S.C. United Tool & Mold Inc. is adding floor space, equipment and workers to one of its two South Carolina mold-making facilities.
The 12,900-square-foot expansion to its Duncan, S.C., plant will provide more room for large molds, with a crane in place that can handle molds of up to 130,000 pounds.
At the same time, UTM has started the search for 20 skilled toolmakers to add to its current staff of 14 employees.
The additional floor space will allow us to hire more of the highly skilled workers our industry is known for, said UTM President Scott Phipps in a news release. We know that we are only as good as our employees.
United Tool has its headquarters and a mold-making facility in Easley, and expanded to Duncan in 2003, focusing the Duncan plant on larger molds. Easley can handle molds up to 30,000 pounds in weight.
In addition to the floor space, the Duncan plant has two new five-axis high-speed milling machines, electric discharge machines and computer-aided-design and reverse-engineering capabilities. The bulk of the company's business growth has been in large molds, with customers in the automotive, consumer appliance, medical, large truck and aerospace industries.
UTM also is expanding an on-site mold service program, which sends employees to molders' plants to work on-site, reducing the amount of time a mold is out of service.
Texas pipe maker Modern shuts down
BEEVILLE, TEXAS Beeville-based Modern Products Industries Inc. has shut its doors apparently a casualty of the economic recession.
Modern was a subsidiary of St. Paul, Minn.-based Johnson Screens, which in turn is owned by Houston-based oilfield services giant Weatherford International Ltd.
Pam Priour Stuart, president and CEO of the Bee County Chamber of Commerce, said Modern had employed about 75.
In a community like this there are about 15,000 people in Beeville that is a lot of jobs, she said. The plant shut down about a month ago, Stuart said May 14 by telephone.
Neither Johnson Screens nor Weatherford officials could be reached for comment. The status of the plant and the future of the equipment is unknown.
According to Plastics News estimates, Modern Products sold about $20 million worth of goods in 2008 extruding an estimated 40 million pounds of PVC on nine extrusion lines.
Joe Montez, executive director of the Bee County Development Authority, said he does not know what Johnson Screens' plans are for the vacated facility.
About 80 percent of Modern's sales were in PVC pipe and conduit an industry that saw a 20 percent drop in demand in 2008.
India affirms its anti-dumping ruling
NEW DELHI India's government said May 12 that it plans to move ahead with stiff anti-dumping penalties on imported Chinese injection molding machines. But some Indian and Chinese firms question whether the decision is final.
India's Ministry of Finance issued a May 12 notice saying that Chinese presses were dumped in India at less than their regular value, harming India's industry, and manufacturers could face penalties of up to 223 percent. The Ministry was said it was affirming a preliminary decision.
However, Electronica Machine Tools Ltd., an Indian importer of Chinese-made machinery, and its Chinese partner, press maker Ningbo Haitian Plastic Machinery Group, questioned that decision. They claim the government has not considered all facts and it is not clear to them if the notice represents a final decision. Haitain is China's largest injection molding machine manufacturer.
This is not at all final, said Electronica marketing CEO Milind Agnihotry. He noted the Indian government's previously imposed ban on Chinese toy imports that was suddenly reversed.
Agnihotry said the firms will continue to press their case. They claim the company that asked for the investigation, L&T Demag Plastic Machinery Ltd., exaggerated the amount of potential damage and submitted incorrect information about the domestic industry.
L&T Demag officials declined to comment. L&T is a joint venture of Larsen and Toubro Ltd. of Mumbai and Germany's Demag Plastics Group of Schwaig.