Constar adds capacity for wide-mouth jars
PHILADELPHIA — Constar International LLC is adding capacity for its specialty wide-mouth jar business.
The firm added a new machine that offers platform flexibility and the ability to change rapidly between jar sizes and designs, an economic benefit, Jim Bolton, vice president of marketing, said by phone.
Constar said its wide-mouth PET jars are strong and lightweight, making them an attractive alternative to glass.
The jars also are made with resin containing an oxygen-scavenging additive. The Diamond Clear additive is clear, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and offers a two-year shelf life, Bolton said.
The Philadelphia-based blow molder did not disclose the location or the capacity of the new machine, citing competitive reasons.
The company said it has experienced increased demand for food containers from existing and new customers.
Constar reported sales of $565 million last year. It is the 11th-largest blow molder in North America, according to the most recent Plastics News rankings.
Exopack LLC to shut bag plant in Indiana
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Exopack LLC is ending production at its Seymour, Ind., plant, the company announced May 2.
The facility primarily makes paper pet-food bags, a market that has been shrinking as more customers switch to plastic packaging, said Chris Swalm, corporate marketing manager, in a May 3 phone interview.
At one time, “We had more open capacity than we could handle,” he said.
The facility will close its doors June 30, affecting 111 employees, according to a notice filed with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Exopack will shift production to its plants in Spartanburg; Tifton, Ga.; and Sibley, Idaho.
The Spartanburg-based company ranked No. 14 in Plastics News' most recent survey of North American film and sheet manufacturers, reporting $500 million in sales.
Exopack Holding Corp. reported a loss of $18.7 million in 2011. The company has about 2,460 employees at 18 manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, and a warehouse in China.
Natural fibers used in Faurecia system
DEARBORN, MICH. — Auto supplier Faurecia SA is developing a system to injection mold using natural fibers, potentially replacing existing compression molded parts.
Faurecia's “natural fibers for injection process.” or NAFI, uses in-line compounding to add fibers such as hemp or kenaf to polypropylene to reinforce parts in place of heavier glass. The company, with global headquarters in Nanterre, France, already has validated door panels produced using the method, said Sébastian Kah, eco-design leader for Faurecia Interior Systems, during the WardsAuto Interiors Conference on May 17 in Dearborn.
The company expects to complete validation of an instrument panel using natural-fiber injection molding later this year, he said.
Most natural-fiber auto parts now in use are compression molded and are not visible. A typical application now is for package trays at the rear of the passenger compartment or for door-panel substrate. In both cases, they are covered with fabric or other trim.
Faurecia has developed concept interiors that show natural-fiber composites, although carmakers also could opt to cover them just as they now cover traditional plastic substrates. Those parts could be produced using the NAFI process, with natural fibers added to PP in the press, Kah said.
During in-house development Faurecia has seen a 25 percent weight savings compared with parts using glass-fiber reinforcement.
Faurecia would be able to use a variety of natural fibers, using the best material from local sources, Kah said. That would increase the flexibility for production in multiple global locations.
Genesis completing a major expansion
ORLANDO, FLA. — Targeting more medical work, Genesis Plastics Welding is completing construction and facility improvements valued at about $2 million, said Tom Ryder, president and CEO.
The work includes an additional 27,000 square feet in space, warehouse racking and electrical panels for about $1.75 million, componentry for $250,000 and doubling of a clean room for $75,000.
The company installed an initial 1,000-square-foot Class 7 Standard 14644 medical clean room years ago and has added another 1,000-square-foot clean room, also a Class 7.
Looking ahead, Ryder foresees adding more clean room space — perhaps 2,600 square feet, depending on market growth.
Family-owned Genesis opened in 1996 in a 15,000-square-foot facility on 1.75 acres in Fortville, Ind., near Indianapolis. Recently, Genesis had rented another 13,000 square feet but will no longer need that space.
Construction on the addition began in September. Progress on the new building allowed all Genesis operations to move into the new space in January. The original offices and plant have undergone extensive refurbishing.
Genesis employs 72 now and, over four to five years, expects to add 50 new positions, Ryder said. Genesis withheld sales details. The firm attended NPE2012, held April 1-5 in Orlando.
Hella, China's BAIC forming lighting JV
LIPPSTADT, GERMANY — German auto supplier Hella KGA Heuck & Co. is forming a joint venture with Chinese automaker BAIC that will provide full entry into lighting production for the passenger vehicle market in China.
Hella's wholly owned Chinese subsidiary, Hella Baifang Automotive Co. Ltd., opened in 2002 and currently provides lighting for commercial vehicles. With the proposed partnership, Lippstadt-based Hella now will have access to full passenger vehicle lighting business.
Hella announced a cooperation agreement with BAIC – Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd. of Beijing — in a June 1 news release. The companies expect to complete a joint venture by the end of this year, with a 50-50 ownership of Hella's HBL lighting group in China. HBL currently has locations in Beijing and Changchun.
China is the largest single-car market in the world, with 20 million passenger cars expected to be sold this year. Forecasters predict car sales will top 30 million vehicles annually by the end of this decade.
BAIC sells under its own name, but also has manufacturing joint ventures in place with Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Co.
Schutz constructing second China plant
SELTERS, GERMANY — German plastics and steel transport packaging manufacturer Schutz GmbH & Co. has built its second plant in China, in the northeastern city of Tianjin, to expand the company's geographic footprint in the country.
The facility is manufacturing both intermediate bulk containers, which can be blow molded, and plastic drums, with an initial workforce of 50 people. The Tianjin factory joins the company's first Chinese facility, in Shanghai.
The Selters-based company said in a May 21 news release that the Tianjin plant can produce IBCs that meet food-grade standards and said its location will help reduce transport times to northeast China. The plant sits on a 12-acre site.
The company in April also announced it has expanded its joint venture in São Paulo, Brazil.
The company, known as Schutz Vasitex Industria de Embalagens Ltda., added capacity for IBC and drum reconditioning and installed a new continuous blow molding and extrusion line used to make its F1 polyethylene drums.
Schutz has 3,000 employees and 38 factories around the world.
CMP Inc. relocates US distribution site
NEWNAN, GA. — Custom Molded Products Inc. has moved its U.S. distribution operations 15 miles to larger quarters and may incorporate some production capabilities there.
The company currently does all of its manufacturing in Shanghai.
In early 2012, CMP acquired a 240,000-square-foot facility in Newnan and subsequently relocated 50 employees and its inventory of components for spa, pool, whirlpool bath and chemical industry applications from a 110,000-square-foot building in Tyrone, Ga.
CMP has occupied the Tyrone site for 15 years and continues to own the facility, said Bill Drury, CMP co-owner with Charles Li.
CMP owns the Shanghai plant and is contemplating developing U.S. capabilities for one or more of its assembly, injection molding and blow molding functions to meet increases in domestic demand and as an alternative to boosting production in China.
“The building purchase gives us physical space” prior to deciding “which portion of operations we might move back,” Drury said in a telephone interview.