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Plastics Fabricators Flock to IWF for
New Machining Technology
New technology for machining plastic sheets and formed
parts will be on exhibit at the International Woodworking
Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair, to be held Aug. 20-23
at the Georgia World Congress Center and Georgia Dome in
This year, more so than ever, there has been a concerted
effort by show management to attract plastics fabricators.
Among the estimated 1,200 exhibitors will be companies
displaying new production methods and applications for
machining plastics as well as wood. Shown will be a variety
of equipment and supplies, including: CNC and manual
routers/trimmers, CNC panel saws, boring machines, bandsaws,
cutoff saws, lathes, cutting tools, computer software,
finishing equipment, adhesives, abrasives and sanding
Between 40,000 and 50,000 visitors are expected to attend
the biennial event, according to Ingrid Volk, IWF '98 chair
and vice-president of IMA-European Woodworking in
"IWF '98, more than at any time in the past, will be the
best opportunity for attending companies to bring teams of
personnel because there will be more new product
advancements and in-depth learning opportunities," Volk
said. "This is especially important as manufacturing demands
increase in an upbeat economy and companies who want to keep
ahead of the competition will need all the information they
In addition to 670,000 square feet of exhibits, IWF will
conduct a technical conference seminar program which will
cover key areas of production and allow participants to
bring real-life manufacturing problems to participating
experts for help in solving them.
IWF is sponsored by the Wood Machinery Industry Assn.,
the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America and the American
Furniture Manufacturers Assn. For more information on
attending IWF, contact show management at: (770) 246-0608;
FAX (770) 246-0620 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Web
address is: www.iwf98.com
MAAC's Purchase of CAM Unites Three
The recent purchase by Itasca, IL-based Maac Machinery
Corp. of CAM (Central Automated Machinery) has resulted in
the unification of the nation's three "Chicago-style"
heavy-gauge thermoformers &emdash; Maac, CAM and Comet
&emdash; under one roof. According to Paul Alongi, CEO of
MAAC, projected sales for the company are expected to be in
the range of $14 million.
Alongi said the acquisition of Gladwin, MI-based CAM on
March 31 has fulfilled his goal to "pull together under a
single operating umbrella" the "Chicago-style" technology
founded by Comet Industries back in the 1950s, and refined
by the two spinoff companies, Maac and CAM. MAAC acquired
Sanibel, FL-based Comet Industries in November 1996 from
Robert and Judy Kostur, and transferred all assets to
"Chicago-style" heavy-gauge thermoforming machines are
distinguished by a specially-designed motorized platen, as
opposed to air-driven platens. "Some of the benefits we see
with motorized platens are that you have constant speed and
it has an auto brake system. We've taken out the variables
such as the air pressure supply in the shop," said
Currently, plans call for the rotary- and sheet-fed
machines to be produced under the Maac name, although Alongi
did not rule out the possibility of a CAM or Comet "model"
at a later date. Maac Machinery's current product line
consists of four models, available in 36 sizes with 83
Future plans also call for the company to increase its
focus on turnkey systems, "where we will supply all the
engineering, from extruding and forming to machinery
selections, tooling, making the product and trimming
&emdash; a complete package," Alongi said.
APR Calls PVC Post-Consumer Bottles a
'Contaminant' to Recycling of PET and HDPE Bottles
The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recylcers
recently announced that efforts to establish long-term,
economically viable markets for post-consumer PVC bottles,
with the assistance of the Vinyl Institute, have proven
unsuccessful. Because of this, APR is declaring that
post-consumer PVC bottles are a contaminant to the recycling
of PET and HDPE bottles. The APR's position was announced
after more than a year's effort to re-establish markets for
"The Vinyl Institute had indicated that they would
present a solution to our dilemma at our February board
meeting, but they didn't," said Robin Cotchan, APR's
manager. "Our members are doing their job to collect the
bottles, only to find that they can't sell them."
"We have met numerous times with representatives from the
Vinyl Institute, and they have come up empty-handed," said
Gary Pratt, APR board member and president of P&R
Environmental Industries. "We are being told that it is not
economically feasible to convert PVC bottles into pellets.
We say that it is too expensive for us to process PVC
bottles, only to throw them away. It's time to tell it like
it is: PVC bottles have no place in post-consumer plastic
PVC packaging has been found to be a major contaminant to
PET recycling, and its removal comes at a substantial cost
to recyclers and reprocessors that they are unable to
recover. "They've only given us lip service &emdash; the
vinyl industry better realize how serious that is," said
Steve Babinchak, president of St. Jude Polymer Corp. "We're
going to view this material as a contaminant, and you sure
won't find PVC packaging listed as a recycled plastic in
APR's revised design guidelines. This stuff is a real
problem and the industry has to do something about it."
PVC has also become a problem for HDPE reprocessors.
Recently, a major Midwest dairy began using shrink labels
made of PVC on milk bottles. Because the labels are
difficult to completely remove in the washing process, it
presents reprocessors with new challenges. Arthur Ferguson,
division manager of KW Plastics' recycling division said,
"We are concerned that the appearance of PVC in the HDPE
stream could shorten the life of our equipment."
U.S. PET Resin Use to Grow 7.3 Percent
U.S. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin demand is
forecast to increase 7.3 percent per year, to 6.3 billion
pounds in 2002, according to a study from The Freedonia
Group Inc. Advances will come from opportunities in beverage
bottles as well as film and sheet products. Photographic
film and magnetic tape, however, will continue to be low
Packaging will remain the leading PET market, expanding
8.3 percent annually to 5.4 billion pounds in 2002. This
will be from beverage applications, particularly
smaller-sized soft drink bottles, juice bottles, bottled
water and iced teas. Maturity in the two-liter carbonated
soft drink segment will be offset by the introduction of new
soft drink sizes, such as the 24-ounce bottle. Twenty-ounce
and 2-liter sized bottles will remain dominant, together
accounting for nearly three-fourths of all PET soft drink
Food packaging markets will increase 8.3 percent
annually, to 1.4 billion pounds in 2002. This is based on
growing bottle applications for salad dressings, sauces,
jams and other foods. Slower growth is expected in
crystallized PET tray demand due to saturated frozen food
uses, with better opportunities expected in amorphous PET
use in food trays, clamshells and other containers.
PET film advances will result from opportunities in snack
food and other packaging applications such as popcorn bags,
cheese and frozen foods.
PET demand in audiovisual media will increase slowly due
to saturated photographic film and magnetic tape uses, as
well as heightened competition from new technologies such as
digital photography and digital versatile discs (DVDs).
Anchor Advanced Products Purchased
By George Votis
Moll Chairman and CEO George Votis has acquired Anchor
Advanced Products Inc., a designer, manufacturer and
packager of precision-molded plastic products for a wide
range of consumer applications. Terms of the purchase were
Anchor will retain its name and will be run as an
independent operation under the leadership of a new
president, Charles Schiele. Schiele assumes the presidency
from Francis Olmstead Jr., who is leaving to pursue other
Anchor makes a variety of items, including toothbrushes,
compacts, lipstick containers, molded medical devices,
surgical scrub brushes, personal computer components,
point-of-purchase displays and other consumer products.
Based in Knoxville, TN, Anchor recorded sales of $162
million and has nine facilities throughout North America,
including plants in Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina,
Illinois, Connecticut and Mexico.
Moll Industries is a $250 million manufacturer of a broad
range of custom-molded and assembled plastics components as
well as molds. Based in Nashville, TN, Moll owns and
operates 17 plants throughout North America and Europe.
Recently, Moll acquired Somomeca Group, a leading
supplier of injection-molded plastic components to the
automotive and appliance industries. With annual sales of
approximately $90 million, Somomeca owns and operates eight
facilities throughout France and Portugal, and is the second
largest manufacturer of plastic molds in France.
1997 Laser Shipments Up 16%
At $585.4 million for 1997, shipments of industrial laser
equipment and systems for North America, including U.S.
exports, were up 16 percent from 1996 levels, according to
the Laser Systems Product Group of AMT &emdash; The
Association For Manufacturing Technology. Industrial laser
equipment and systems shipments within North America by the
43 companies reporting to the LSPG statistical program
totaled $431.7 million while exports amounted to $153.7
The report from the LSPG shows cutting applications are
the largest source of business activity in 1997, accounting
for more than 50 percent of all shipments. In addition,
nearly 60 percent of all industrial lasers shipped were of
the CO2 variety and just over 75 percent of total shipments
were configured as laser systems.
1997 dollar figures are based on data supplied by
contributors to the LSPG statistical survey. Year-on-year
growth of 16 percent reflects the contributions of only
those companies who participated in the statistical program
in both 1996 and 1997. The report does not include increased
shipments reflecting the addition of new program
participants in 1997.
"1997 proved to be another strong year for growth in the
market for industrial laser processing. We are looking
forward to continued growth in 1998 as more and more
companies become aware of the cost, speed and flexibility
advantages that laser processing provides to the
manufacturer," said Bob Zimmerman, LSPG chairman.
CI Recommends Joining CFA
Robert DeRoma, outgoing chairman of the Composites
Institute board of directors, announced the board's
recommendation that all CI members affiliate with the
Composite Fabricators Assn. Further, the board recommended
that members not participate with the Composites Institute
of The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
"With our industry being threatened by new and very
challenging regulatory demands, it is now more important
than ever that we speak with one strong voice," DeRoma said.
"Our entire Board agrees that the wisest strategy for our
industry is to join forces with the CFA. This will allow us
to consolidate our strengths, as well as our assets and
create one powerful and unified organization focusing
specifically on issues affecting our industry."
Key strategies outlined include: greater emphasis on
regulatory matters and market development: promoting new
uses for composites; and producing an annual, unified trade
show in October 1998 &emdash; two years ahead of the
previously scheduled joint trade show.
Fred Dierks, CFA president, said, "These strategies will
complement and enhance the CFA's traditional strong level of
service. The leadership of CFA has worked closely with the
outgoing CI Board to identify the needs, wants and
expectations of composites professionals. We believe that
the new focus and the expanded services will enable our
member companies to get the assistance they need to grow
their businesses and grow the industry. We welcome the
opportunity to expand our umbrella to encompass the complete
needs of the Composites Industry."
Trexel Announces New 'MuCell'
Process for PP
Trexel Inc. announced that its proprietary, microcellular
polymer foaming process produces extruded foam sheet and
profiles with general purpose polypropylene grades.
Trexel's process replaces chemical blowing agents with
CO2 and N2. Both homopolymers and copolymers with melt flow
indices ranging from 0.5 to 5 g/10 min. have been processed.
Specific gravities of 0.5 to 0.8, with or without talc, have
been produced. With the MuCell process, products ranging
from 0.006-in. to 0.06-in. thick are possible.
"This creates new product opportunities for lightweight
products in the packaging and thermoforming industries that
were previously limited to more costly, high-melt strength
polypropylenes," said Trexel technical director Dr. Kent
Blizard. "MuCell technology can be applied to thin films,
coatings and other products previously unfoamed due to past
GE Marks PPDC Anniversary with New
GE Plastics's Polymer Processing Development Center in
Pittsfield, MA, marked its 10th anniversary with
announcements of developments in the areas of thermoforming,
injection molding, blow molding and turnkey operations.
Under development in the thermoforming area are
applications utilizing multi-layer sheet material systems.
GE also plans to expand its technology capability with a
four-station rotary machine enabling increased part
performance data on larger applications, including
Developments in injection molding involve: thin-wall
technology, precision molding, optical molding and
insert-mold decorating, which allows printed films to be
insert molded, producing printed components in a single
step. Other work includes developments in injection molding
control and two-shot molding, allowing simultaneous
injection of a thermoplastic and liquid silicone in the same
In the extrusion blow molding area, GE is looking at
spiral flow head technology. GE says it offers the following
benefits: no discernible weld lines, rapid material changes
and improved parison control.
In addition, GE's new Integrated Product Development
Center in the PPDC creates turnkey manufacturing cells that
integrate the technologies developed with specific customer
For more information on the PPDC, call GE Plastics at
(800) 845-0600 or visit its Web site at
NASFM, POPAI and PMA Host Joint
The National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers,
the Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute and the
Promotional Marketing Association have announced a
first-ever joint program, scheduled for Feb. 9, 1999.
The day-long seminar will take place at the Roosevelt
Hotel in New York City. Presentations will be made by
industry executives as well as mergers and acquisitions
experts including Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette
Securities Corp., Ernst & Young, and S.K. Platt &
Co. Also covered will be: industry needs, analysis of recent
industry transactions, valuation, initial public offerings,
financing transactions and global implications.
In a joint statement, POPAI president Dick Blatt, NASFM
Executive director Klein Merriman and PMA president Claire
Rosenzweig wrote: "It is incumbent upon our associations to
help member companies review their strategies so that they
can be advantageously positioned for the next five years.
The recent wave of acquisitions has further blurred the
historic distinctions between our industries. A joint
seminar program is the best way to ensure that our members
are kept well informed on this issue."
Plastics Machining & Fabricating
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