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Fabricating Conference Set

Plastics Machining & Fabricating will sponsor a two-day in-depth conference devoted to secondary plastics processing. The conference will be held Oct. 20-22 in Chicago.

Topics include: an overview of materials usage; thermoforming techniques; routing, trimming and laser techniques; sawing and shaping technologies; and cutting tool technology.

To receive a brochure detailing information about this program contact the Industrial Division Conference Office at (630) 323-7214 or (888) 903-9663; FAX (630) 323-6989.


U.S. Reinforced Plastics Demand to Exceed 4 Billion Pounds by 2003: Study Says  

Reinforced plastics demand in the United States is forecast to increase 3.3 percent annually to more than 4 billion pounds in the year 2003, valued at $5.6 billion. This will require 2.8 billion pounds of resin and 1.2 billion pounds of reinforcements. Advances will result from reinforced plastics' ability to displace metal or wood in established uses, or to create new ones. Processing and resin advances will also spur demand by expanding capabilities and broadening market opportunities. These and other trends are presented in Reinforced Plastics, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

Unsaturated polyester and other thermoset resins will remain dominant due to their low cost and superior performance in diverse markets. Nevertheless, reinforced thermoplastics will exhibit better growth because of customer needs for higher performing products with broadened design parameters. The best market growth is anticipated for the motor vehicles and producer durable equipment, such as business and electrical equipment, needs for lighter, safer and more cost-effective materials. Glass fiber is said to remain the dominant reinforcing material due to its low cost, light weight, broad chemical resistance and strength enhancing capabilities.

Construction and motor vehicles will remain the largest market for reinforced plastic, together accounting for 61 percent of the total demand. Construction uses will be driven by needs for greater durability, lower maintenance, higher quality and better affordability.

Motor vehicle opportunities will be fueled by manufacturers' efforts to reduce costs, weight and maintenance requirements, while enhancing design flexibility.

For further details about Reinforced Plastics, contact Corinne Gangloff at The Freedonia Group, (440) 684-9600, FAX (440) 646-0484, e-mail pr@freedoniagroup.com. Full text of the study is also available online through commercial database companies and the www.freedoniagroup.com Web site.


 

Stiles Machinery, Northwood Machine Announce Distribution Agreement

Stiles Machinery will become the exclusive distributor of Northwood CNC routers to North America effective July 1, 1999, following a strategic partnership that the company says will benefit current and future customers. Stiles has been marketing a limited line of Northwood routers under the Axxis brand name for the past three years.

"This takes our partnership to a whole new level," said Peter Kleinschmidt, president of Stiles Machinery. "We're looking forward to continuing to develop a very important segment of the router market. We will now be able to offer customers at all levels a quality product, backed by the outstanding value-added services of Stiles. Plus, they get the knowledge and parts availability of Northwood, the manufacturer. Everybody gains."

Northwood is a leading U.S. manufacturer of CNC routers, with more than 300 machines installed across the country.

 


Buckel Named 1999 SPE Thermoformer of the Year

Arthur Buckel has been named Thermoformer of the Year by the Society of Plastics Engineers. He will receive the award at the September Thermoforming Conference in Chicago.

Buckel has spent 36 years in the plastic job shop world, 28 of which were spent managing and operating his own company, Specialty Mfg. Inc. in San Diego, CA, a manufacturer of vacuum-formed heavy-gauge parts for the import automobile companies. Buckel also designed commercial and military components and assemblies, electronic and hardware packaging, and containers.

In 1990, Buckel joined McConnell Co. as an associate consultant. He has worked worldwide in thermoforming problem solving, plant analysis, parts troubleshooting, new facilities layout and designs, and new product and tooling developments.

In addition, Buckel has organized, written, promoted, and presented numerous seminars on thermoforming.

Buckel is on the Thermoforming Board of Directors. He was Education Chairman for eight years and is currently International Ambassador. He was also instrumental in getting the European Thermoforming Division chartered.


NPE Predicts Record Number of Exhibitors For 2000

An audited tabulation of space allocated at the NPE 2000 drawing for exhibit space in this past March in Chicago, IL, indicates that with less than a year remaining before the triennial international plastics exposition, the amount of space taken by exhibiting companies is already greater than the final total for NPE 1997. NPE 2000 will take place June 19-23 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

"We expect that at show-time in June of 2000, the final figures will set all-time NPE records for both exhibit space and number of exhibiting companies," said Jordan Morgenstern, vice president of Trade Shows at the SPI.

At last month's drawing, space had been assigned to 1,032 exhibiting companies, compared with 907 at the close of the drawing for NPE 1997. Of that figure, 125 were international companies compared to 79 at the NPE 1997drawing. Show officials say they expect the final figure to exceed 2,000 companies by showtime

"For many years, NPE not only has been the fastest-growing plastics exposition in the world but also has attracted a continually increasing number of exhibiting companies and visitors from outside the United States," explained Morgenstern. "Last month's drawing showed a great leap forward in globalization, with the number of international exhibitors increasing by 71 percent."

Thus far, exhibiting companies have been assigned 1,039,300 square feet of space compared with 937,638 square feet in 1997.


Husky CEO Receives Honorary Doctorate

Robert D. Schad received an Honorary Doctorate from McMaster University at its Spring '99 Convocation. McMaster University was chosen by MacLean's Magazine as Canada's "Most Innovative University" in 1998.

Schad is the founder and CEO of Husky Injection Molding Systems, the world's largest brand name supplier of injection molding systems for the plastics industry. From its beginnings in a Toronto garage in 1953, Husky now employs over 2,600 people worldwide with sales of $762 million in 1998 and customers in 70 countries.


SPI to Gather Global Statistics on Plastics Machinery

The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI) is forming a standing committee to gather equipment statistics on a global basis.

The new committee, which was approved by SPI's board of directors, will serve as a comprehensive source of plastics equipment statistics, providing domestic and international data to the industry and other key audiences.

"Our goal is to be the leading provider of data on plastics machinery and equipment, meeting the critical need for accurate and reliable statistics in this area," said Lori Anderson, SPI's director of international trade and economic issues.

"This is an unprecedented and very exciting effort. No industry group has ever attempted to collect plastics equipment statistics on this scale," Anderson said. "As the trade association for the U.S. plastics industry, SPI is taking a leadership role to provide this extremely valuable data for our members and the industry at large." Anderson noted that the statistics will provide an indicator of the plastics industry's overall performance as well as aiding individual companies in strategic planning and benchmarking.

The SPI effort will encompass injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, auxiliaries and components. In addition, an exploratory subcommittee will examine the feasibility of collecting statistics on plastics molds.

The committee, which will hold organizational meetings this summer, intends to provide information on imports and exports by industry segment, sales by geographic region and possibly end-use data. Initial efforts will focus on ensuring significant industry participation in the program and developing procedures for collecting and disseminating the data.

The committee also plans to coordinate and share data with international plastics associations, notably those in Europe and Japan, key manufacturing centers for plastics equipment.

"Plastics equipment is a global industry and we want our data to reflect that reality," Anderson said. "We will be leveraging our relationships with our industry counterparts worldwide to ensure we collect the most complete and useful data available."


SPI Appoints Two New Vice Presidents

Jennifer Dills, formerly SPI's director, communications, has been named vice president, corporate communications. In this capacity she will develop and oversee member and industry-related communications as well as overall internal communications strategy for the 2,000-member industry trade association. She will also serve as the primary communications liaison for SPI's business units, president and executive board, and as spokesperson on issues pertaining to the SPI organization.

In addition, SPI announced that Bonnie Merrill Limbach has been named vice president, public affairs. Limbach will develop and execute overall external communications strategies related to SPI's advocacy work on public policy issues and industry growth and development programs. She will also provide staff direction for SPI's new Strategic Management Group for Public Opinion and Education, focusing on programs related to building and maintaining the positive public image of the plastics industry. Limbach will serve as SPI's primary spokesperson on public policy issues.


GE Invests $20 million in Thailand Plastics Plant

GE Plastics, a business unit of General Electric Co. USA and Thailand's largest supplier of advanced engineered plastics-resin, has announced a decision to invest $20 million to establish a plastics compounding plant at the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in Rayong. The plant will produce around 30,000 tons of compounding engineering thermoplastic resin including Lexan polycarbonates, Cycoloy, Noryl PPO and Cycolac ABS. It will also be capable of producing advanced flame-retardant engineering plastics. The project is to be fully operational by early 2000.

GE opened a liaison office in Thailand in 1981 and employs more than 2,400 people. GE has been active in southeast Asia for more than 100 years and operates 15 manufacturing and service facilities within the region.

GE is a diversified services, technology and manufacturing company with worldwide revenues of $1.5 billion in 1998. It operates in more than 100 countries, employing 293,000 people, of which around 130,000 are outside the United States.


Eastman to Increase Production of Eastar Bio

Eastman Chemical Co. has announced plans to modify production capabilities in Europe for its Eastar Bio copolyester resin to meet current market needs for environmentally responsible biodegradable materials. The company's Hartlepool, England plant is now being modified to produce a biodegradable plastic Eastman markets under the trade name Eastar Bio copolyester. The modification is expected to be completed by third quarter 1999.

Currently, Eastman produces Eastar Bio copolyester at its Kingsport, TN, plant and is only available in limited quantities. Patented in 1995 and introduced in November of 1997, Eastar Bio copolyester is designed for blown and cast film extrusion as well as for extrusion coating applications. The primary applications for Eastar Bio copolyester in Europe initially will be extruded films for compost bags and single-use fast food service ware.

In related news, Eastman has appointed Douglas C. Hoffman as principal account development representative in the Northeast United States. Hoffman will provide application development support for Eastman's expanding line of specialty plastics, including Spectar copolymer and Eastar copolyester.


Plastics Machining & Fabricating
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