Nova sets sights on Mideast markets
CHICAGO Nova Chemicals Corp. plans to invest significantly in Middle Eastern polyethylene production, according to recently installed CEO Chris Pappas. Pappas made his pronouncement less than two months after a majority of Nova shareholders approved a takeover by International Petrochemical Investment Corp. of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Speaking during NPE2009, Pappas said Nova's plans include a 1.1 billion to 1.2 billion pound-per-year Advanced Sclair PE plant and a 10 percent smaller gas-phase PE plant in the Middle East. From start to finish the projects could take five years to complete, Pappas said June 23.
IPIC brings the ability to invest in the Middle East, he said.
Pittsburgh-based Nova also is investing in North American PE capacity. Projects underway in western and eastern Canada will add 350 million to 375 million pounds per year of extra PE to Nova's slate by 2011, Papas predicted.
Pappas pointed out parallels between Nova and Borealis AG, also majority owned by IPIC. Both invest in low-feedstock-cost markets, have similar business models and find customers where they can create value.
Nova, with $7 billion in annual sales, was not big enough on its own to invest in world-scale PE plants, Pappas said. IPIC turned Nova from a firm mired in financial issues to one with growth prospects fueled by IPIC's big asset base, he said.
Companies investing in renewables
CHICAGO Materials firms Merquinsa (Booth W131043) and DuPont Co. (Booth W113011) have struck a deal to make products based on renewable resources.
The arrangement announced June 23 at NPE2009 calls for Merquinsa to produce a new family of Pearlthane ECO-brand thermoplastic polyurethane based on DuPont's Cerenol-brand renewably sourced polyol.
The new materials are expected to be used in a wide range of footwear, sport and leisure, electronics and automotive applications. Merquinsa already makes Pearlthane ECO polyester and polyether products based on renewable resources.
Pearlthane ECO made with DuPont Cerenol shows outstanding properties comparable to petrochemically based TPUs, officials with Barcelona, Spain-based Merquinsa said.
Ray Miller, Cerenol global business manager for Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont, described Merquinsa as a highly innovative polyurethane producer with a proven track record for introducing sustainable offerings.
Frimo Group, ABB Robotics join forces
CHICAGO An automated routing, trimming and cutting cell on display in Booth S28096 at NPE2009 forms the centerpiece of an agreement between Zurich-based ABB Robotics and Frimo Group of Osnabruck, Germany.
Under the deal, the companies will jointly manufacture and market the FlexTrim cell. The deal also means Frimo now has preferred integrator status with ABB in the plastics industry.
Jeff Daily, president and CEO of Frimo's Wixom, Mich.-based U.S. unit, said the agreement provides joint marketing and sales opportunities for the partners.
Ted Wodoslawsky, vice president of marketing in ABB's robotics division, said the deal gives ABB exposure to new markets, especially automotive.
This agreement means we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of an automotive recovery, he said.
Offering flexibility through automated robot-based cells will appeal to automotive original equipment manufacturer, said Daily.
Car makers are producing a wider range of models at lower cost and the FlexTrim cell suits that requirement.
Also on show at NPE is a cell in which an ABB robot is demonstrated in a PU spray application.
Frimo employs 1,200 at 15 locations and had annual sales of 150 million euros ($209 million) in 2008.
Kiefel demos new cooling devices
CHICAGO Kiefel Technologies Inc. (Booth S21039) is demonstrating new features in its blown film technology at NPE2009.
Perfect Cool Vario and Perfect Cool Duo are the latest in high-output cooling devices. They are designed for big extrusion lines, such as those used to make shipping sacks.
The Vario model comprises a single air ring that is adjustable for maximum cooling. The Duo version has a double air ring system that is adjustable for more cooling.
More cooling means more output, Kiefel President James Ciolino said in an interview at the Hampton, N.H., firm's booth. They're great for a range of polyethylenes.
Kiefel is a division of Freilassing, Germany-based Kiefel GmbH.
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