Plastics Machining & Fabricating:
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and Fabricating Seminar Draws Large
100 plastics fabricators, machine shop personnel and
industry suppliers from across the nation were on hand in
Chicago Oct. 20-22 for the first Plastics Machining &
Fabricating Seminar with tabletops. The seminar program is
the first of its kind to focus on fabricating and machining
of plastic parts, including routing, cutting with lasers,
sawing and welding.
Moberg, a member of the Executive Committee of the Society
of Plastics Engineers, kicked off the program with an
overview of the plastics industry. Other presentations in
Session I focused on: developments in engineered and
anti-static plastics, acrylics and polycarbonates;
thermoforming tips; and cutting tool technology.
focused on machining and fabricating, with presentations on:
routing and trimming, laser technology and panel saw
developments. Rounding off the program were presentations on
bonding and welding, as well as decorating plastic parts
through printing, stamping, foiling, heat transfer and
of high production contract manufacturer Eastern Plastics
Inc., Bristol, CT, and custom display manufacturer Brookdale
Plastics, Plymouth, MN, were among the highlights of the
the conference were tabletop exhibits by 22 companies. The
tabletop exhibits were open during Wednesday's early-bird
reception, lunch and Thursday's evening reception.
plans call for producing a second annual machining and
fabricating seminar in the fall of 2000. For information
about attending or being considered as a presenter, contact
Karen Koenig, editor of Plastics Machining &
Fabricating, at (847) 634-4347, ext. 366, or e-mail
Consumption to Grow 7.3 Percent Yearly
consumption of polypropylene is expected to increase an
average of 7.3 percent a year until 2003, with the highest
rate of 13.2 percent average annual growth in the Middle
East/African regions. According to an annual report on the
polypropylene industry by TownsendTarnell Inc., expected
growth in these regions will be fueled by the rapid
development of automotive, film and textile industries in
economic crisis that has affected Asia, Russia and parts of
South America, global polypropylene consumption will
increase by 10.3 million tons by 2003.
polypropylene industry is entering a period of overcapacity,
and more capacity is being built," says Dr. Dave Durand,
manager for TownsendTarnell's Volume Plastics Business
Center in Houston. "The key to recovery from this
overcapacity is growth in demand, and an understanding that
growth in demand will help polypropylene producers plan for
the largest consuming region, Asia/Pacific, is predicted to
grow at an average of 9.5 percent per year, a consumption
increase of 3.6 million tons.
some of the largest end-use markets for polypropylene are
approaching maturity, there are still many geographic and
end-use segments that will experience strong
example, we have seen a dramatic increase in consumption of
polypropylene in thin wall injection molded containers in
the last two years," Durand said.
Acquires ICI Acrylics
has partnered with Charterhouse Development Capital to fund
the purchase of ICI Acrylics, the world's largest producer
of methyl methacrylate..
million acquisition was finalized Nov. 2. The new company
will formally be known as Ineos Acrylics.
are the foundation for a wide range of acrylic products and
are used in applications from coatings, appliances,
electronics, adhesives and corporate imaging, to baths,
spas, kitchen work surfaces and construction. The business
portfolio also includes the "Lucite" and "Perspex"
Acrylics has 15 manufacturing facilities in nine countries
and employs more than 2,000 people across Asia, the Americas
and Europe. The company also has five technical centers
where it carries out the research and development required
to maintain its market leadership.
Acrylics CEO Scott Davidson will serve as chief executive of
the new business. Jim Ratcliffe will serve as
Processing Equipment Manufacturers Homag and IMA Merge
Maschinenbau of Schopfloch, Germany, and IMA
Maschinenfabriken of Gutersloh, Germany, have announced that
they will form an engineering and manufacturing group
focusing on accelerating advancements in woodworking
between the two major panel processing machinery
manufacturers is expected to be completed by the end of the
year. Homag is to hold the majority interest of the new
group, which is expected to generate an annual sales volume
of about 990 million DM and employ 4,000 people.
the declaration of intent already signed by both parties,
the two companies will merge their core business fields
under the roof of a joint holding company while maintaining
a "clear-cut two-brand" name strategy.
is not expected to have any immediate impact on the U.S.
distribution of the two companies' respective product lines.
Homag is represented by Stiles Machinery Inc. of Grand
Rapids, MI. IMA is represented by IMA America of Raleigh,
developing a common vision, however, Homag and IMA say they
will realize increased efficiencies in technological
development within their core business areas, materials
management and productivity, particularly in the development
of panel sizing and edgebanding equipment.
Kleinschmidt, president of Stiles Machinery, says, "We have
great expectations for this new engineering powerhouse and
its synergies. Our goal is always to help our customers take
advantage of the best technology in the
Polyethylene Demand to Reach 54
MMT in 2003
for polyethylene is expected to increase more than 5 percent
per year, to nearly 54 million metric tons in 2003,
significantly outpacing real growth in the global
the World Polyethylene study by The Freedonia Group,
polyethylene will remain the largest volume thermoplastic
resin in the world, commanding roughly double the volume of
polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride, the second and third
largest resins respectively.
states that low density (LDPE), linear low density (LLDPE)
and high density polyethylene (HDPE) have distinct areas of
strength based on their characteristics and cost, with LDPE
and LLDPE used predominantly in film and coatings and HDPE
used mainly in blow molded and injection molded containers.
According to the study, PE is also gaining new uses at the
expense of polystyrene and PVC due to the regulatory
restrictions related to solid waste issues and potential
toxicity of these resins. New polymerization technologies
are also enhancing the performance characteristics, and cost
structure, of PE, particularly LLDPE.
Freedonia, China will continue to to support the world's
most rapidly expanding PE market, and will also remain the
world's largest volume importer, providing some relief for
the export-intensive PE industries in Asia, including those
in Japan, South Korea and Singapore. According to the study,
although the Asian PE market contracted in 1997-1998 due to
the region's financial crisis, long-term prospects for PE
demand remain favorable based on projected turnarounds for
key countries such as South Korea and Thailand, as well as
continuing growth in Taiwan.
America also offers favorable long-term growth, due mainly
to the evolution of its plastic packaging and durable goods
markets. In Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic, Hungary and
Poland offer growth opportunities, with the former two
countries remaining significant exporters. However,
Freedonia says, Russia's market will remain weak.
America, the study finds, will remain the world's largest PE
market based on a favorable demand for packaging,
construction materials and consumer goods.
details about World Polyethylene, contact Corinne Gangloff
at The Freedonia Group, (440) 684-9600, FAX (440) 646-0484,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Full text of the study is also
available online through commercial database companies and
the www.freedoniagroup.com Web site.
Seminar Programs to be Handled by SPE
the Society of Plastics Engineers, the Society of Plastics
Industries has revamped the NPE Conference to address not
only technical topics but business issues ranging from
E-commerce to equipment purchasing to site
triennial NPE 2000 is scheduled for June 19-23 at McCormick
Place in Chicago.
designed the NPE 2000 Conference to be more timely and
practically useful than any previous NPE Conference, and to
interest plastics professionals in a wider range of jobs,"
said NPE 2000 Chairman Vincent Witherup. "In carrying out
this new concept, SPE will draw upon decades of experience
as the world's premiere organizer of plastics educational
developing the full program, including all presentations and
speakers. SPE will also present an education program
consisting of topics relating to design, tooling, processing
and materials. These are separate from SPI-sponsored
activities; those wishing to attend the SPE seminars are
required to register with SPE and pay an admission fee.
will take place from June 19 to 23, 2000, at Chicago's
McCormick Place, North America's largest exhibition complex.
The 23rd NPE is expected to surpass the 1997 show which set
three NPE records: number of exhibiting companies (1,726);
net exhibit space (1.015 million square feet) and number of
registered participants (82,634).
information on NPE 2000, visit the NPE Web site at
Diamond Earns Award
CEO and president of Grand Rapids, MI-based Lach Diamond
Inc., received the Diamond Award for the development,
manufacturing, application and market development of
polycrystalline diamond tools.
received the award from DeBeers Director Colm de Barra for
the "over 25 years of pioneering work." The discovery of
spark erosion by Lach for the sharpening and forming of all
types of polycrystalline diamond tools first enabled the
worldwide distribution of the PCD tools in the automotive,
plastic, furniture and laminate flooring
U.S. Inc. Makes Charlotte Fast 50 List
U.S. Inc. is one of the fastest growing companies in
Charlotte, NC, according to the annual Fast 50 List, which
recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in the 213
counties of the Charlotte region.
qualify for the Fast 50 List based on a formula that
reflects both dollar growth and percentage growth over a
three-year period. The company must have sales of at least
$3 million in 1998 to make the 1999 list.
manufacturer of panel processing equipment, Holz-Her U.S.
has three divisions: Holz-Her, apps and Epic.
Fast 50 is co-sponsored by The Business Journal, KPMG, LLP,
Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, Central Carolina Bank and NIXdesign
Chemicals to Acquire Shell's European PS
Chemicals has signed a binding agreement with Royal
Dutch/Shell Group to acquire Shell's European solid
polystyrene and expandable polystyrene business for $185
million plus working capital, which is currently estimated
at $30 million.
transaction, Nova Chemicals will acquire 760 million pounds
of polystyrene production capacity including 495 million
pounds of expandable polystyrene and 265 million pounds of
solid polystyrene per year. These facilities will complement
Nova's 200 million pound per year EPS plant at Ribecourt,
France, and its 400 million pound per year solid polystyrene
plant at Carrington, England, which is adjacent to the Shell
Carrington EPS facility.
to the production facility, Nova will also acquire:
polystyrene research and development facilities at Breda, in
the Netherlands and at Louvain-la-Nueve, Belgium; Shell's
platform of polystyrene technology and Shell's European
polystyrene sales and marketing operations. Nova Chemicals
has also agreed to purchase Shell's 7 million pound per year
polystyrene plant and molding facilities near Santiago,
acquisition will more than double Nova Chemical's production
of styrenic polymers in Europe, from 600 million pounds of
annual capacity to 1.365 billion pounds of annual capacity.
Upon completion of the transaction, Nova will become the
second largest producer of solid polystyrene and EPS in
Europe, remaining the largest in North America and third
Museum Opens New Exhibits
Plastics Center & Museum, Leominister, MA, has opened
two new exhibits. They are: Expanded Plastics Hall of Fame,
which includes more than 100 of the leading individuals who
helped create the continent's third largest industry, and
the first ever "Plastics Art" display featuring works of
world acclaimed sculptor Miko Kaufman.
information about the museum and upcoming events, visit
www.polymers.com/npcm/ or call (978) 537-9529.
Plastics Wins SPE People Choice Award
CA-based Freetech Plastics was named both the Cut Sheet
Multi Part Medical Award winner and the People's Choice
Award winner for its robotic surgical console for minimally
were announced at the Society of Plastics Engineers 1999
Thermoforming Conference held in September.
manufactured the set of enclosures for Intuitive Surgical's
Da Vinci Robotic Surgical Workstation. The console uses an
aluminum cast base and sheet metal infrastructure. The
pressure formed parts align to these using ball studs
mounted on 3D-machined locating pads to accommodate the
freeform organic shapes of the individual covers.
covers contain the power supply and IO for the surgical
tools. The left and right cosmetic panels also enclose the
surgical controls. The top viewer covers the medical
monitors and other electronics for the 3D image that the
SPE awards announced
to Freetech, other award winners included:
Awards: Industrial Award &emdash; Morton Custom Plastics,
200-hp Evinrude engine cover; Consumer Entertainment
&emdash; JY Sailboats, sailboat; Point of Purchase &emdash;
Airform International Ltd., Coca-Cola icon sign; Automotive
&emdash; Autoform Inc., brushed silver body side molding GMC
"Jimmy"; Multi-Part Assembly &emdash; Plastics Design &
Mfg., external skins for a medical device; Material Handling
&emdash; Productive Plastics, fork lift Dockstocker;
Electronic Enclosure &emdash; Specialty Mfg. Inc., medical
Awards: Consumer Housewares &emdash; Oral-B Laboratories,
cross action tooth brush package; Consumer Package &emdash;
Creative Forming, Scotch pop-up tape dispenser; Critical
Barrier Packaging &emdash; Prent Corp., coronary imaging
catheter; Consumer Electronics &emdash; GN Plastics, CD
case; Food Container &emdash; GN Plastics, 12-cell egg
carton for coke bottles; Industrial Packaging &emdash;
Universal Protection Packaging, small top load clamshell.
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