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Construction Plastics, PVC Demand on the Rise
U.S. plastics mand in construction products is forecast to increase 3.5 percent per year to nearly 20 billion pounds in the year 2001 -- a value of almost $14 billion according to "Plastics In Construction," a new study from The Freedonia Group of Cleveland, OH.

The study states that advances will be fostered by growing new and retrofit construction activity, as well as plastics' competitive advantages over wood, metal, glass and other materials. Heightened residential repair and remodeling outlays will create a favorable growth market, while aftermarket demand will also be spurred by a burgeoning do-it-yourself market and by the development of innovative products and materials.

Further growth will be threatened by declines in total housing starts, the greater durability of plastic materials and the already high saturation level of plastics as alternatives to traditional materials, according to the study.

Polyvinyl chloride will remain the dominant resin, based on its excellent cost and performance efficiency in a wide range of products. PVC demand in construction uses is projected to expand to nearly 10 billion pounds in the year 2001 as a result of opportunities in large volume siding, pipe, window, flooring and other applications.

Based on information in a related study, "World Polyvinyl Chloride," use of PVC in construction markets accounts for more than 60 percent of the PVC demand. This is forecast to expand over 4 percent per year to nearly 27 million metric tons by the year 2001. That number will maintain PVC's status as the world's second largest volume thermoplastic behind polyethylene, The Freedonia Group states.

Packaging is the next largest market for PVC, primarily film and bottles. Global demand for plastic packaging will continue to expand, particularly in developing regions, due to the superior barrier properties, shatter resistance and lower cost of plastics. Other major markets for PVC include vinyl consumer goods (such as footwear, purses and clothing accessories), and wire and cable jacketing.

"Plastics In Construction" and "World Polyvinyl Chloride" are available for $3,300 and $3,800, respectively, from The Freedonia Group. For further details, contact Corinne Gangloff at (216) 921-6800 or by e-mail at tfgi@ix.netcom.com.


SPI Opposes Measures to Suspend Duties
The Society of Plastics Industry (SPI) has stated its opposition to two measures -- S 915 in the Senate and HR 1945 in the House -- which would have the United States unilaterally suspend duties on imported plastics machinery and parts retroactive to May 1, 1997. The two measures were introduced by five members of South Carolina's delegation.

All U.S. duties on plastics and rubber extruders and miscellaneous plastics equipment covered under Harmonized Tariff Schedules would be suspended under the proposed legislation. Tariffs for export into other countries would not be affected by the measures.

Lori Anderson, SPI director of government affairs for economic and international trade issues, sent letters to South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond and Representative Floyd Spence expressing SPI's concerns. Anderson said while SPI supports reducing tariffs worldwide, the proposals would negatively impact U.S. manufacturers of plastics extrusion equipment and parts.

SPI represents nearly 90 percent of U.S. plastics machinery and equipment manufacturers who employ more than 13,000 workers and whose shipments were valued at more than $2 billion in 1994.


Harrington Acquires Industrial Plastics Technology
Harrington Industrial Plastics Inc. recently acquired Industrial Plastics Technology Inc. (IPT), making Harrington a national distributor of industrial plastic piping systems and components for corrosive liquid handling. The company will now operate under the name IPT-Harrington.

The acquisition increased Harrington's locations to 43 branches in 23 states with 580 employees.

Robert Bacon, the former president of IPT, has joined Harrington in the capacity of regional vice president and will be responsible for all IPT-Harrington locations. Bacon will report to Paul Crist, president of Harrington, and will be a member of the board of directors for Harrington.

"This acquisition was key to our strategic goal of becoming a national distributor," said William McCollum, chairman of the board of directors of Harrington, when announcing the acquisition. "IPT has good geographic coverage on the Eastern Seaboard, and, more importantly, has well-trained people and excellent management. We only look to acquire well-run businesses. Since the distribution business is all about good people and great service to the customer, we are fortunate that IPT brought both of these ingredients with them."

IPT consisted of four separate companies until September 1996, when Plastic Piping Systems of Maryland, Carolina Plastic Supply, Industrial Plastics Technology of Savannah and of Florida were merged. Branch offices of IPT are located in Columbia, MD; Boston, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Richmond, VA; Charlotte, NC; Wilmington, NC; Greensboro, NC; Greenville, SC; Savannah, GA; Jacksonville, FL; Orlando, FL; and Miami, FL.

"It is not about being the biggest; it is about being the best," McCollum said. "We will continue with our commitment to training and customer service and having the best product lines available to enable us to maintain that commitment regardless of our size."


GlobalShop Dates Set
GlobalShop, the world's largest annual retail design exposition, will be held March 28-30, 1998, at Chicago's McCormick Place. The show features innovations in store design, creative fixturing, construction materials and merchandising, and is expected to attract more than 800 exhibitors and 15,000 attendees.

"The influence of retail design and brand marketing is increasing worldwide as merchandisers continue to look for innovative merchandising methods and ideas," said Doug Hope, show producer. "The impact of retail design is clearly evident in the fact that attendance at the show has tripled since 1993. We expect 1998 to be our strongest show yet."

In addition to the exhibits, GlobalShop features an educational conference. Next year's scheduled speakers include: Nicholas Negroponte, author of "Being Digital" and senior columnist for Wired magazine; Faith Popcorn, chairman of BrainReserve Inc.; Tony Mancini, vice president of retail store development for Walt Disney Attractions Inc.; and Adrienne Weiss, president and CEO of Adrienne Weiss Corp.

For more information on GlobalShop, call (800) 646-0091, or access GlobalShop's web site at http://www.globalshop98.com.


APC Records Slight Increases in Plastic Bottle Recovery
Figures recently released by the American Plastics Council (APC) show that plastic bottle recovery increased from 1,272 million pounds in 1995 to 1,307 million pounds in 1996. PET and HDPE resins account for most of this poundage.

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) reviewed the figures and, while encouraged by the numbers, said the country could be recycling a lot more plastic. The APC report shows that 656 million pounds of HDPE were collected in 1996. There is currently enough capacity in place to process almost twice as much resin.

"Most plastic recyclers cannot get enough material to keep their plants running at capacity," said Gerry Claes, general manager of Graham Recycling Co. of York, PA. "A few years ago, the problem was finding end markets. Today, there is plenty of demand for recycled plastic but not enough is being collected."

The APR said it is urging more communities to collect plastic. Those communities that are currently collecting plastic are being encouraged to expand their menu of acceptable bottles.

For example, two-liter bottles have been a major source of recycled PET. However, a number of recent conversions to PET, such as single-serve juice and soft drink bottles as well as multi-serve juice bottles, means there are a wide variety of new PET bottles available for recycling that end up in the trash.

According to the APR, plastic recycling is a maturing industry and will see significant growth if communities increase their collection of plastics.


Reichhold Acquires Jotun, Marshall Industries Composites
Officials of Reichhold Chemicals Inc. of Research Triangle Park, NC, recently completed the acquisition of Jotun Polymer, the polyester resins business of the Jotun Group of Norway, as well as the acquisition of Marshall Industries Composites (MIC) of Lima, OH.

The agreement between Reichhold and Jotun Polymer was originally announced on July 11 this year. The purchase of Jotun Polymer provides Reichhold with a strong share of the European unsaturated polyester market, complementing its position in the North American market, a company spokesman said.

As a result of the acquisition, Reichhold will now market the Norpol line of polyester resins throughout Europe. The former Jotun polyester facilities will operate under the Reichhold name as part of the company's European organization. Roar Alfheim has been named managing director for Reichhold's European unsaturated polyester operations.

Reichhold's acquisition of MIC was announced on Oct. 15. Marshall gained prominence for its development of processes for the manufacture of C-BAR reinforcing rods for concrete construction.


SPE Thermoforming Conference Termed a Success
The 1997 SPE Thermoforming Conference was held Sept. 13-16 in College Park, GA, with officials calling it "very successful."

"We ended up with 876 paid registrations, 246 first-time attendees and had 128 exhibits," said Gwen Mathias, promotion chairman. "From all of the survey forms the exhibitors passed back to us, they thought it was a great success going to the convention-type format."

Mathias said the conference had 162 more attendees than in 1996, as well as more than 70 additional exhibitors.

Universal Protective Packaging Inc. of Mechanicsburg, PA, won the People's Choice Roll Fed Award for its industrial packaging transceiver tray and lid, while Arrem Plastics Inc. of Addison, IL, took home the People's Choice Cut Sheet Award for its ultrasound cart enclosure.

The 1998 Thermoforming Conference will be held Sept. 19-22, 1998, at the Renaissance Hotel & Nashville Convention Center in Nashville, TN.


Polyethylene Bioreefs Help Save Fish
A grant from the American Plastics Council is enabling a Florida-based research agency to test the placing of injection molded polyethylene into the ocean as part of a special cleanup effort and to also protect several species of small fish.

The Marine Habitat Foundation of Sanibel Island, FL, has created bioreef habitats using injection molded virgin and recycled polyethylene to replace the natural ocean habitat destroyed by coastal development. The bioreefs will be placed in and along estuaries to provide protection for young fish and a mechanism for clearing water with over-abundant algae caused by nutrient pollution.

"When nutrient pollution from agricultural fertilizer and human wastes reach the ocean, it creates an environment in which algae thrive. The algae grow out of control and block the sun from penetrating the water," said Mike Calinski, founder of the MHF and director of the experiment. This ultimately results in the loss of seagrasses and bacteria which make up the bottom of the food chain.

The plastic bioreefs will also be used as "surrogate homes" for the small fish that traditionally used mangrove tree roots, said Jim Locascio, research assistant for the MHF. Increased urbanization along Florida waterways is resulting in the removal of these trees from estuaries.

Previous plastic bioreef experiments in the spring of 1996 were conducted on a small scale, in areas containing 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of water. "We used two containment booms of 20,000 gallons of water each in a dead-end, controlled experiment," Calinski said. "Each held a 2-foot by 2-foot habitat. Within 48 hours, the control boom had 3 feet of visibility and the experimental boom had 40 feet of visibility."

Funding by the American Plastics Council will allow the foundation to begin work on a large-scale project of approximately 1 million gallons of water. According to the MHF, a bioreef the size of a kitchen sink can filter more than 150,000 liters of water a day.

"This has enormous potential to benefit not only other wildlife like dolphins, but also the sport and food fishing industries," Calinski said. "We could put the injection molding technique to use anywhere -- the Chesapeake Bay, the San Francisco Bay, the Biscayne Bay," Calinski said. "The habitats also have great potential for helping poorer countries."

-- Barbara Nordby

 


Plastics Machining & Fabricating
P: (847) 634-4347
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EMAIL: hfrankurba@aol.com
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LINCOLNSHIRE
ILLINOIS 60069