As Plastics News marks its 25th year of publication, we take a year-by-year look back at some of the events, people and curious coincidences that have shown up its its pages. Check back through the end of the year (not including holidays) to follow along. This year: 1999.
Chevron Chemical Co. LLC pulls out of SPI, becoming the fifth major chemical company to depart the group. Executives blame tighter costs, but also warn that the industry needs to unite under one banner, rather. SPI and APC, meanwhile, have restarted consolidation talks
Nypro Inc. announces it is converting to an employee stock ownership plan, which will allow an estimated 2,500 employees to assume ownership of the company.
Charles Becker is back in plastics. One year after selling his company, he buys back 10 plants from JCI to form Becker Ventures LLC.
The PVC pthalates debate is dripping over into the medical industry as a new group, Health Care Without Harm, forms and announces plans to warn about PVC in IV bags and other medical parts.
In Plastics News 10th anniversary issue, Bayer's H. Lee Noble thinks he has seen the future, and its electronic commerce. People will use the Internet as a way to deliver customer service, he says, and store electronic data on compact discs and CD-ROMs. “I am convinced that we won't have filing cabinets in a few years,” he says.
Miller Brewing Co. is testing a new PET bottle for its beer, both for light damage to its beer and recyclability for the multi-layer process.
Medical device maker Baxter International Inc. is looking at alternatives to PVC for its products, just in case the phalate debate shifts from toys to health care.
Federal legislation offering tax credits for energy efficient windows is boosting the business outlook for vinyl window makers.
A survey of Asia's auto production forecast misses one very big country. It considers production in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. China isn't listed on the forecast, even though it saw manufacturing increase in the past year — all the way to 1.6 million cars, up from 1.5 million. China is now, of course, the biggest car market in the world.
TI Group plc makes a play for a jump start in North American auto fuel tank production with a bid to buy tank maker Walbro Corp., one of the world's biggest fuel tank blow molders.
Collins & Aikman Corp.'s new CEO Tom Evans declares that the company is out to be a major auto interiors supplier.
Suppliers to Primordial LLC are rushing to fill orders for the plastic Zoob toy components after the restaurant chain Denny's says it will place a bucket of Zoobs at every one of its tables, to keep children occupied and their parents happy.
Berry Plastics Corp. is making its 10th acquisition since 1991, buying frozen dessert container maker CPI Holding Corp.
Mold makers in Pennsylvania are fighting a new state tax that would force them to pay 6 percent on each mold produced.
Commerx Inc. is on a hiring frenzy, hiring 33 of its 50 employees in 1999 alone as it launches PlasticsNet.Com. The web site is a sales platform for materials.
Eagle Pacific Industries Inc. is buying Pacific Western Extruded Plastics Co. Inc. in a deal it says will make it the West Coast's largest PVC maker.
Dow Chemical Co. is buying Union Carbide Corp. for $11.6 billion in a deal that will make it North America's largest PE maker.
Extruder and injection molder Rehau Inc. breaks ground on its new headquarters in Leesburg, Va., but sets aside part of the property to preserve a Civil War site. The location was home to Fort Evans and the site of the Battle of Ball's Bluff. “If you're the owner of a company and you own a Civil War fort, why wouldn't you protect it?” one executive notes.
GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler are pressuring suppliers to form the Automotive Network Exchange, a business-to-business group the automakers say will improve relations and cut costs.
GM announces it is banishing PVC from auto interiors, switching to alternative materials by 2004. (The banishment doesn't stick.)
Congress approves a “fast track” method to approve new packaging for food products, which businesses say will be a “major step forward” for bringing new materials and processes to the market.
A U.S. trade mission is being planned to take mold makers to Asia to let them see what is happening in tooling in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore. “Putting blinders on won't keep the competition away,” notes an organizer.
Sculptor Mico Kaufman is unveiling 20 of his polyethylene sculptures, made with molten resin, in a six-month exhibit.
Mexico has topped Canada as the top plastic products importer of U.S. goods, buying roughly 28 percent of U.S.-made plastic goods.
Xerox Corp. is reshaping its purchasing to buy more from Asia rather than the U.S. “Excluding Japan, about five years ago we were sourcing about $40 million or $50 million worth of products from Asia Now we plan to be up around $400 million to $500 million by 2001,” says commodity team manager Richard Miller.
Mattel Inc., the largest toy maker in the U.S., says it plans to turn away from traditional plastics in favor of bioplastics.
Formosa Plastics Corp. dedicates the new Formosa-Tejano Wetlands nature sanctuary near Point Comfort, Texas, but critics say the refuge is just a drop in the bucket compared to environmental issues in the area caused by the chemical industry.
No, not that Xbox. Nicollet Process Engineering Inc. of Minneapolis, a provider of process monitoring software, changes its name to Xbox Technologies Inc. (Microsoft's gaming system is more than a decade in the future.)