JCI to cut plants, jobs in restructuring move
GLENDALE, WIS. — A Johnson Controls Inc. restructuring will cut employees and consolidate plants in operations including automotive seating, interiors and batteries.
The company, based in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, did not provide any details as part of its Oct. 22 announcement on the restructuring, which is planned for its fourth quarter.
Johnson Controls previously announced it was discontinuing lead-processing operations at its Shanghai battery plant.
The firm said it expects pretax charges for the restructuring to be $225 million to $275 million.
JCI's plastics operations include extensive injection molding for auto interiors under its JCIM LLC operations, based in Plymouth, Mich.
The company also has in-house foam production for seating, thermoforming and key parts for interior trim.
Soleno to open plant for stormwater pipe
ST.-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, QUEBEC — Plastic pipe firm Soleno Inc. is investing more than C$1.5 million (US$1.5 million) in a new plant to make stormwater treatment equipment.
“The Quebec government has new guides for handling stormwater,” said Soleno's vice president of sales and marketing, Claude Labrecque, in a phone interview.
Soleno, based in St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, will open the 18,000-square-foot facility in St.-Louis-de-Blandford, near Quebec City, in the spring. The facility will include 250,000 square feet of yard space to store production.
Labrecque said the stormwater products will be assembled from high density polyethylene pipe and will include internal baffles to create vortex flow. Equipment such as specialty cutting tools will be installed in the project. The new facility will be Soleno's second such facility. It currently makes the stormwater equipment in St. Nicolas, Quebec.
Soleno is a major in corrugated HDPE pipe up to 48 inches in diameter, making the products in McAdam, New Brunswick; and in St. Nicolas and Iberville, Quebec. Plastics News estimated its North American plastic pipe sales at $35.5 million in 2011.
Soleno also makes steel pipe and geotextiles.
Berlin Packaging buys US Container Corp.
CHICAGO — Berlin Packaging LLC has acquired United States Container Corp., a rigid and industrial packaging supplier based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
The deal closed Oct. 23. Terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition will give Berlin four new warehouses and additional personnel in the West; USCC has locations in Rancho Cucamonga, Hayward and Sacramento, Calif.; and Phoenix.
The acquisition also includes Sunburst Bottle, a USCC business unit that supplies stock metal, glass and plastic containers.
USCC will do business as Berlin Packaging.
Chicago-based Berlin will now have more than 90 sales and warehouse locations in North America and annual revenues of about $800 million, according to a news release. The firm supplies closures and containers made of plastic, glass and metal, and offers brand strategy and design services, consulting and financing.
USCC is Berlin's second acquisition this year. In May, it bought packaging distributor Lerman Container Co. of Naugatuck, Conn.
Berlin is majority-owned by investment management firm Investcorp Bank BSC of Manama, Bahrain.
St.-Gobain unit adds medical clean room
PARIS — The health-care markets group of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. has added an ISO Class 7 clean room to its Mickleton, N.J., plant as part of an expansion of its global fluoropolymer extrusion capabilities for medical and biopharmaceutical markets.
The clean room features closed-loop extrusion lines as well as X-ray measurement and inspection systems designed to make smaller and more-complex extrusions and assemblies from fluoropolymers and engineered plastics.
Craig Maki, fluoropolymers marketing manager, said the operation complements the firm's fluoropolymer capabilities in Neuss, Germany.
The health-care markets group makes small-diameter tubing, tapered tubing, multi- and single-lumen polytetrafluoroethylene tubing, fluoroethylene-propylene copolymer and PTFE heat-shrink tubing, and ring marking.
Performance Plastics is part of Paris-based Cie. de Saint-Gobain.
IAC debuts FastKast at Romanian plant
LUXEMBOURG — International Automotive Components Group is launching production of its new auto interior skin process at its newest plant as part of a vertical integration focus.
The FastKast process is debuting at IAC in Bals, Romania, where the firm is making instrument panels, center consoles, rear doors, front door panels and headliners for Ford Motor Co.'s B-Max compact multipurpose vehicle.
The skin is produced in a proprietary process to enhance the aesthetics of the top layer of the vehicle interior, the one that consumers see and touch, and takes advantage of IAC's processing and resin capabilities, the firm said in an Oct. 23 news release. IAC will expand FastKast to other facilities globally during 2013.
The 250-employee plant in Bals began supplying Ford's assembly plant in nearby Craiova in July.
To ensure quality production, IAC — with global headquarters in Luxembourg — developed a vertical production strategy to make more of the parts in-house. It is also partnering with a technical school in neighboring Slatina, Romania, to provide training for future employees.
The plant, about 125 miles west of Bucharest, will provide a strategic location from which to expand production to other automakers moving into the region, the company said.
UPPI boosts lineup with recycled HDPE
MECHANICSBURG, PA. — ANL Plastics NV of Wellen, Belgium, is teaming up with Universal Protective Packaging Inc. to bring thermoformed protective packaging made from post-consumer recycled HDPE to North America.
ANL licensed UPPI to manufacture and sell two of its patented packages — the Geospring, which houses single products on end-cap displays, and the U-Pad & Lid, for bulk products. Both packages house fragile items like disc drives and storage devices.
The recycled high density polyethylene packages are more cost-effective than ones made from expanded polystyrene or laminated polyethylene foam and have a lower environmental impact, according to Tim Ritter, UPPI vice president of sales and engineering.
The packages will also expand the company's product offerings to its medical-device and diagnostic equipment customers, Ritter said in a news release.
UPPI of Mechanicsburg makes trays, lids, clamshells and blister packaging for food, retail and medical uses. Plastics News and industry estimates put the firm's North American thermoforming sales at about $13.5 million in 2011.
ANL and Universal have had a global partnership since 1999.
Window plants open for Petrocasa prefabs
VALENCIA, VENEZUELA — Venezuelan firm Petrocasa has opened two vinyl window production plants for its composite housing in the states of Carabobo and Zulia.
The housing technology incorporates PVC. It was developed by GHS GmbH of Nussbach, Austria, and Pequiven — Corporación Petroquímica de Venezuela SA of Valencia.
The plants can make more than a million windows a year for prefabricated housing.
About 3.7 million Venezuelan families have applied for the composite houses.
“The raw materials used are entirely domestic Venezuelan products,” said GHS CEO Harald Rath in a news release. GHS plans to install more equipment in existing Venezuelan plants to make housing components.
GHS does engineering, production and assembly of the housing components. Petrocasa operates the vinyl profile lines making the components.
GHS-designed housing is being used in social housing projects and for remediation after natural disasters. GHS claims the houses are earthquake- and hurricane-safe.
Fuller Brush bought out of bankruptcy
CHICAGO — The Fuller brush man has a new route.
Asset management firm Victory Park Capital of Chicago has acquired the consumer-related assets of Fuller Brush Co. out of bankruptcy.
Fuller, which has a 106-year history of making consumer brushes, became an icon in the decades after World War II. The former owner was Buckingham Capital Partners of New York.
Fuller Brush makes most of its products in Great Bend, Kan., where it is headquartered.
The company petitioned for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 on Feb. 21.
Victory Park announced Oct. 23 that U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York approved the sale of Fuller's consumer assets and brands, and goodwill. Victory Park expects to finalize the deal in December.
Fuller's non-consumer-related business will be sold to Innovative Livestock Services of Great Bend, which owns livestock feeding yards in Kansas and Nebraska.
“Fuller applied for Chapter 11 in an attempt to eliminate less-profitable products and cut operating costs in an effort to improve profitability,” a Victory Park spokesman said via email.
Terms were not disclosed.
Fuller continues to operate under bankruptcy protection. It makes consumer products for household and commercial cleaning and personal care. Its lineup includes consumer brushes and skin-care products. It also distributes consumer goods for kitchen, laundry and bath applications.
Victory Park named industry veteran David Sabin as CEO of the Fuller consumer business.