Calif. recycler Repet boosts flake capacity
CHINO, CALIF. — Recycler Repet Inc. has invested $15 million to add two new wash lines that will boost its production capacity for recycled PET flake from 3,000 pounds per hour to 20,000 pounds per hour.
It also has purchased a solid-state polycondensation machine to make recycled PET flake and plans to order a second SSP after the first one comes on line later this year.
The 3-year-old company — which started producing PET flake in July 2010 — began operating the two new wash lines at the end of August, said sales manager Art Davis, who joined the company two months ago.
“We have the know-how to produce clean flake,” Davis said in a phone interview. “We want to keep recycled PET and jobs in the United States. We want to give PET a new life.”
The addition of the new wash lines — and the SSP equipment — is expected to boost employment at the 330,000-square-foot plant in Chino from 80 to 180 by the end of the year, he said.
The equipment was purchased from Nanjing Elble Environmental Protection Technology Co. Ltd. in Nanjing, China.
“We are going to produce a flake with any [intrinsic viscosity] value you want under 0.95,” Davis said. Repet intends to sell to packaging giants like Amcor Ltd. for use in food packaging such as strawberry and apple trays and clear egg cartons, and to beverage manufacturers like Coca-Cola Co. for use in bottle preforms.
“We want to move to making food-grade PET for bottle-to-bottle,” Davis said. In its first two years of operation, Repet has sold roughly 40 million pounds of PET flake, much of it to thermoformers.
Repet does not expect any difficulty getting raw material to feed its lines, according to owner and President Vincent Zhao. Rather, the biggest challenge will be the current “economic turbulence” that has dropped virgin PET prices significantly, Zhao said.
Private equity firm acquires Sullair Corp.
MICHIGAN CITY, IND. — United Technologies Corp. has sold the industrial businesses of Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., including Sullair Corp., to private equity buyers.
Sullair makes rotary screw compressors used for desiccant dryers and other applications.
Carlyle Group, based in Washington, and BC Partners Ltd. of London have formed a limited partnership that will jointly oversee management of Sullair.
Sullair, based in Michigan City, is a major compressors manufacturer. The company is a global supplier of stationary and portable compressors, compressed-air contaminant-removal equipment, vacuum systems and contractors' air tools.
Terms were not disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
M.R. Mold purchases press for mold trials
BREA, CALIF. — M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp. of Brea acquired a 77-ton hydraulic Arburg 370S Allrounder injection molding machine for customized sampling of liquid-silicone-rubber parts.
Customers wanted the toolmaker to trial molds in vertical as well as horizontal orientations, and so M.R. Mold purchased the machine with both molding capabilities. M.R. Mold began operating the press in mid-July.
The Arburg has 15-millimeter and 35mm cylinder assemblies, said Jürgen Giesow, regional manager in Irvine, Calif., for Arburg Inc. The machine has a 15mm diving nozzle for a cold-runner system and a 0.005-inch-radius nozzle for conventional molds.
Giesow and five others provided instruction July 17-20 primarily in Orange, Calif., during a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee course on silicone elastomers technology and fabrication. At M.R. Mold's Brea plant, Giesow demonstrated the capabilities of the 370S for 43 attendees, including three employees of M.R. Mold.
M.R. Mold employs 27, including 20 mold makers. Temporary hires include a molding technician and a mold-making apprentice. M.R. Mold seeks individuals for molding and project management positions.
Established in 1985 and adding injection molding capability in 2003, the firm occupies 14,000 square feet and, in addition to the Arburg, operates five other presses including a 100-ton tie-barless Engel, two 55-ton Engels, a 90-ton Boy and an all-electric 110-ton Negri Bossi. The operation is ISO 9001-compliant and working toward ISO certification.
Verdezyne gets patent for bio-based material
CARLSBAD, CALIF. — Biotechnology firm Verdezyne Inc. has been granted a patent for a production process for a bio-based adipic acid — a key feedstock for nylon 6/6 resin.
Carlsbad-based Verdezyne designed the process specifically for nylon 6/6 production, officials said in a recent news release. The firm's bio-based adipic acid also can be used as a feedstock for thermoplastic polyurethanes and coatings.
Officials added that their material will be cost-advantaged when compared to standard adipic acid, as well as being more environmentally friendly.
“Verdezyne's proprietary process allows us to produce adipic acid at high yields ... from any plant-based oil,” said Stephen Picataggio, the firm's chief scientific officer, in the release. “Since our feedstock position is not carbohydrate-based, we are also not competing for sugar in the food or energy value chain.”
Investors in Verdezyne include DSM Venturing BV and BP Alternative Energy, a unit of BP plc.
Bioplastics maker Solegear wins funding
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Bioplastics maker Solegear Bioplastics Inc. has won additional funding from Yaletown Venture partners and several angel investors.
“The completion of this major financing milestone is yet another important step toward Solegear's goal of being a leader in the bioplastics industry,” Solegear founder and CEO Toby Reid said in an Aug. 9 news release.
The amount of the investment in Vancouver-based Solegear was not disclosed. The firm's Polysole-brand bioplastic is 100 percent bio-based, non-toxic and compostable, officials said. The material can be based on corn or other plants. Solegear also produces Traverse-brand biocomposites, which can be made by mixing conventional plastic with natural fibers.
Solegear was founded in 2006, and in 2010 won a Best Practices Award from consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
Yaletown — also based in Vancouver — uses an extensive network to find promising early-stage clean technology and information technology companies.
“Solegear's modular technology platform forms the basis of a smart business model that is both customer-centric and scalable,” Yaletown partner Salil Munjal said in the release.