Berry to reopen shuttered Kentucky plant
EVANSVILLE, IND. — Berry Plastics Corp. plans to invest $96 million to reopen a plant in Madisonville, Ky., that it closed in early 2012.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced the decision Oct. 30. The plant will employ more than 400 full-time workers.
The Evansville-based company will reconfigure the Madisonville operation to boost capacity. The plant will make rigid open-top products. It formerly made plastic closures.
Berry bought the plant as part of its August 2011 purchase of Rexam plc's specialty and beverage closures business. When the plant closed, Berry blamed excess capacity, saying the move would help streamline operations and improve its cost structure.
Before it closed, the plant employed about 140. Jon Rich, Berry chairman and CEO, said the plant will restart production in 2013.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has preliminarily approved tax incentives for up to $10 million. The incentive allows a firm to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. KEDFA also approved Berry for tax benefits up to $450,000.
Plastics firms weather Hurricane Sandy
AKRON, OHIO — Plastics companies along the East Coast closed early Monday, Oct. 29, ahead of Hurricane Sandy, but many resumed operations within a few days.
In the materials sector, however, hurricane-related weather led Braskem Americas to temporarily idle production of polypropylene resin at its Marcus Hook, Pa., plant, near Philadelphia. A company spokesman said the plant was not damaged and Braskem was in the process of restoring infrastructure services.
A Phillips 66 PP plant in Linden, N.J., also shut down production because of storm.
Machinery firms that closed shop Monday have reopened.
“We sent everybody home because we knew it was going to deteriorate,” said Mark Sankovitch, president of Engel Machinery Inc. in York, Pa. He said about 70 percent of Engel's people made it back to work on Tuesday. Others were dealing with flooded basements and power outages.
Resin maker DuPont Co. temporarily closed its headquarters in Wilmington, Del., and three plastics-related plants, but expected to reopen them within a day or so. One effect of the storm, said Ann Hriciga, global application development manager, was that eight of 20 DuPont people scheduled to work at the Pack Expo International trade show in Chicago were unable to do so because of weather and flight cancellations.
A spokeswoman for Pack Expo organizer PMMI said one exhibitor dropped out of the show because of the storm but attendance was fairly normal as of Oct. 30.
Calls to processors in impacted areas drew automated responses Oct. 30, a likely result of plant closings and power outages.
UMass Lowell signs medical-device deal
BOSTON — The University of Massachusetts at Lowell is partnering with the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland to help entrepreneurs quickly move medical-device products from concept to the marketplace.
“The agreement these two leading institutions have signed is the result of shared goals and a desire to capitalize on research advancements each has made in the areas of medical-device technologies and innovation,” said Therese Murray, Massachusetts state Senate president, in a statement.
UMass Lowell and UMass Worcester operate the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, also known as M2D2, which serves as an incubator for startups on the UMass Lowell campus. The University of Ulster has a multidisciplinary technology center that serves a similar role. UMass Lowell has been partnering with various Irish universities for the past few years.
Toy maker buys 14 presses at Fakuma
FRIEDICHSHAFEN, GERMANY — Playmobil toys appear under Christmas trees worldwide. Christmas came early for Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH when it sold 14 multicomponent injection presses to Geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG at the Fakuma trade show.
Wittmann Battenfeld said Geobra Brandstätter ordered 14 three-component machines Oct. 18 at Fakuma in Friedrichshafen. The Playmobil maker purchased 30 Wittmann Battenfeld presses last year, complete with robots and auxiliary equipment.
The 14 new three-component machines will be installed at Geobra's main factory in Dietenhofen, Germany, by March 31.
Wittmann Battenfeld is based in Kottingbrunn, Austria.