Stimulus funds aid Ill. thermoformer
NILES, ILL. A lighting products firm is using a grant to help lift itself out of the recession.
A.L.P. Lighting Components Inc. of Niles soon will install its third rotary thermoforming machine in Olive Branch, Miss. The Maac machine will be installed by mid- to late May, said plant manager Scott LaCourse. It is the key part of a $250,000 expansion project aided by a $150,000 grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Last year we were down to a four-day week and laid people off, LaCourse said in a telephone interview. Now the plant is working overtime and is in hiring mode. LaCourse expects to boost the operation's roster by 10 to 15 percent. LaCourse declined to provide precise employment levels.
The Olive Branch facility is mainly a plastics processing plant. It already has two rotary thermoformers and 10 single-stage formers. When the new rotary starts up, it will boost productivity by replacing two to four older, single-stage machines. The operation also does sheet extrusion for internal use and outside sales.
LaCourse said the new rotary will make acrylic and polycarbonate lenses and diffusers. There is room in the 125,000-square-foot facility to accommodate the new machine without renovations.
Sabic recalls 40 production workers
PITTSFIELD, MASS. Sabic Innovative Plastics LP is recalling 40 production employees this month at its major resin plant in Mount Vernon, Ind.
The callback comes after 20 production workers were called back in January, according to site communications leader Sheila Naab. The callbacks are mostly from attrition, Naab said by phone March 16.
In the past year or so, as people have left the company or retired, they haven't been replaced, she explained. We wanted to make sure these jobs would be sustainable, and we've had a slight increase in business here as well.
In early 2009, Pittsfield-based Sabic IP had planned to cut 100-125 jobs in Mount Vernon where it produces Lexan-brand polycarbonate and other specialty resins but ended up letting only 79 employees go. Naab said the number of job cuts was reduced because several employees took advantage of a special retirement bonus that was offered by Sabic IP at the time.
The 50-year-old Mount Vernon site employs about 1,100. It was owned by GE Plastics for most of its history and has been part of Sabic IP parent Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) since 2007, when that firm bought the entire GE Plastics business for $11.6 billion.
Mold-Masters opens facility in India
GEORGETOWN, ONTARIO Mold-Masters Ltd. has opened a hot- runner production facility in Coimbatore, India, where the company has had an engineering office since December 2006.
It has always been a question of when, not if, we would make a major expansion in India, President and CEO Jonathon Fischer said in a news release. With the rapid growth of tooling production in India, the timing was perfect to boost our regional presence and support for the local market.
The facility is designed to manufacture local hot-runner systems, mold bases, and temperature controllers, said Kannan Venkatraman, the company's regional manager of South-East Asia.
Mold-Masters has more than 900 employees, and manufacturing and sales support in 40 countries.
Rain Bird to shutter Ariz. plastics plant
TUCSON, ARIZ. Irrigation systems producer Rain Bird Corp. plans to close a plastics plant in Tucson early in 2011, according to a local news report.
Glendora, Calif.-based Rain Bird will move the plastics work to its other facilities in California, Mexico and Europe, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star. The move will allow the company to make better use of its resources, said Dave Johnson, the company's director of corporate marketing.
Rain Bird also plans to lay off 108 Tucson workers in April, the report continued, but it will retain a presence in Tucson. It did not disclose the number of workers in Tucson.
Rain Bird opened its Tucson plastics operation in 1997, according to the report. Johnson did not respond to requests for an interview.
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