Omnium's India JV primed for growth
PUNE, INDIA Plastic Omnium Varroc Pvt. Ltd., a joint venture supplier of plastic auto exterior components, is bullish on growth in India due to global manufacturers setting up operations there, and their focus on cutting weight to improve fuel economy.
We are looking for new projects and hope they will come through. We will set up more such plants in the north and south part of the country, Bertrand Chaize, chief technical officer, said in an interview at the recent Plastomotive 2011 conference in Pune.
Plastic Omnium Varroc is a Pune-based joint venture owned by Paris-based Plastic Omnium SA and Varroc Polymers Pvt. Ltd. of Aurangabad, India.
Varroc Polymers operates 20 production facilities in India and abroad, as well as three research and development centers.
The companies set up their first joint venture plant in Chakan in 2009 to serve automakers that already had set up base in India. Plastic Omnium owns 60 percent of the joint venture.
The venture also has sequencing and assembly operations near original equipment manufacturers in northern India and Maharashtra. It is developing exterior parts including bumpers and body panels.
Plastic Omnium Varroc already supplies plastic exterior components to Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. of Mumbai for its existing models of the Gio compact truck and Maxximo vehicles, and plastic exterior painted components to General Motors India's Chevrolet Beat, said B.P. Shiv, chief marketing officer.
The JV is also working on new innovative products for an OEM vehicle model yet to be launched and is also working on various forthcoming models and products of GM, M&M and [Volkswagen], Chaize said.
It is looking at emerging opportunities as well, he said.
Some more OEMs will soon announce their India location plans in the next two to three months, and we are already in touch with them, Shiv said.
Plastic Omnium has an unrelated joint venture in north India that makes plastic fuel tanks, plus a fully owned operation in Ranipet, India, that makes plastic fuel tanks for Toyota and other automakers in the region.
Asept Pak expands for medical contract
MALONE, N.Y. Asept Pak Inc. has installed its fifth blow-fill-seal machine as it works to fill a massive pharmaceutical packaging contract.
In November, Asept Pak received an $850,000 grant from the Empire State Development Corp. toward the $1 million cost of purchasing and installing a Rommelag 305 machine at its 18,000-square-foot plant in Malone.
The Rommelag 305 machine will manufacture upward of 60 million plastic vials per year four times the capacity of each of the company's other machines, which are all Rommelag 3012M models.
Asept Pak sought financing for new machinery in 2010, after officials signed a five-year contract with Pharma Caribe of Punta Gorda, Fla., to supply nasal saline rinses and an inhalation product, at a rate of 220 million vials per year.
According to state records, the recent recession made it hard for Asept Pak to finance the project on its own.
To receive state funding, the Malone-based company, which employs 18, must increase its payroll to 80 by Jan. 1, 2014.
Asept Pak in January moved from two to three shifts at its factory to accommodate increased production. The plant has clean rooms, a mixing/compounding room, an extensive water system and laboratory space to accommodate the new machine.
Asept Pak's customers include Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Sanofi-aventis. Those companies have embraced the blow-fill-seal method for medical inhalers and, increasingly for eye medications for the level of sterility it provides and the decreased chance of patients receiving incorrect dosages, according to Asept Pak.
Asept Pak's founder and CEO, optometrist Dr. Gary Hanley, did not return telephone calls.
Mexico is promoting tomato mulch films
MEXICO CITY Mexico's plastics industry association, Anipac, is launching a campaign to promote padded polyethylene ground sheets as a means to increase crop yields in the country.
The Mexican sector is a world leader in the technology but needs government financial backing to accelerate its use, industry leader Eduardo Martínez Hernandez said in February.
Padded ground sheets are used on only 247,100 acres in Mexico, said Martínez. Yet tomato crop yields, for example, are 10 times greater when the technology is applied, he added.
Mexico is the world's largest exporter of tomatoes, shipping 1.1 million tons, 44 percent of the total, in 2007, according to Global Trade Information Services Inc. of Columbia, S.C.
About 15 companies manufacture padded plastic sheets for agriculture in Mexico, according to Martínez, president of Anipac the Asociacón Nacional de Industrias del Plastico AC, based in Naucalpan.
Those companies include Olefinas SLP SA de CV of San Luis Potosí, 250 miles northwest of Mexico City, and Plasticos del Futuro SA de CV of Naucalpan, an industrial suburb of the Mexican capital.
GE Energy membrane uses fluoropolymer
ANAHEIM, CALIF. An environmental services unit of GE Energy has introduced a hydrophilic cartridge-filter membrane that can eliminate alcohol pre-wetting hydrophobic membranes.
Aspire is the new product's brand name. Polytetrafluoroethylene is used to make both the hydrophilic and hydrophobic versions.
The development challenge was to find the correct chemical to allow a membrane to stay wet permanently, said Christopher Keller, global product manager for membranes technology with the unit in Kansas City, Mo.
While other hydrophilic membranes are in the market, none of them offer permanent wetting capability.
GE Energy recognized the product potential several years ago, began serious development work in 2009 and filed for patent protection in 2010.
For a cartridge-filter manufacturer, the innovation from start to finish can reduce the cost per cartridge by up to 40 percent, according to Keller.
The hydrophilic membrane holds up during liquid microfiltration, even after exposure to steam autoclave cycles and certain corrosive chemicals.
Keller was interviewed during the UBM Canon trade shows, held Feb. 8-10 in Anaheim.
GE Energy is a business of industry-diversified General Electric Co. of Fairfield, Conn.
Raven Industries adds 9-layer pilot film line
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Raven Industries Inc. plans to add a nine-layer pilot extrusion line, which it will use to develop new blown film barrier structures.
The system, to be installed later this year, will feature nine extruders in various sizes and an 11-inch ProCone multilayer die.
We know the products developed on this system will lead to unique barrier films for all our markets and engineering applications, said Jim Groninger, vice president and general manager of Raven's engineered films division, in a news release.
The ProCone die is new technology from Pawcatuck, Conn.-based Davis-Standard LLC. These dies are engineered in a stackable mandrel arrangement, which enables vertical and angular movement within the stack. This provides more versatility for structures with five to nine layers.
Once the line is operational, Raven will allow Davis-Standard to access the system for demonstrations and development.
Pasco adding more presses, clean room
MEADVILLE, PA. Pasco Tool & Plastics Inc. is boosting its manufacturing space with a new 12,000-square-feet addition, including a Class 100,000 clean room.
Ron Posego, engineering and sales manager, said in a Feb. 8 telephone interview that the Meadville-based company is adding on to its current 20,000-square-foot facility to adjust to the needs of a customer. Pasco was providing tooling and small prototype runs for the client and, when asked, decided that a clean room environment for molding and assembly would provide additional opportunities.
To start, the 1,250-square-foot clean room will accommodate one molding machine and an assembly operation.
Pasco currently has 12 injection molding presses ranging up to 330 tons. It has a mix of Milacron and Van Dorn machines, including four Milacron Roboshots.
Posego said the company has not yet decided what machines to buy, but plans to add one to the clean room and three more to the overall facility in the next 18 months.
Pasco, which employs 54, plans to add about six workers in the next 18 months.
The company launched in 1972 as a tooling operation and has steadily added more services, including injection molding and prototyping.
Founder Tony Passilla Sr. is active in the business, as are his sons Tony Jr., who is vice president of day-to-day operations; Jeff, who recently returned to serve as vice president of molding operations; and Steve, inspection manager.
Pasco is expanding its work for the medical industry, but is involved in a variety of industries, including industrial safety products.
Posego said the company's sales have increased 30 percent during the last two years and he is hoping for even greater growth this year.