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16,000-Plus People Attend Plastics USA/98

1998's largest U.S. plastics show, Plastics USA attracted a total of 16,319 registrants to the triennial event, held in October. Although deemed a success, this year's show's attendance was down approximately 2,000 from the record-high Plastics USA/95. The decline is attributed in part to the uncertain economic climate in Asia and elsewhere, said H. Gunther Hoyt, show chairman and vice president of Xaloy Inc.

Despite the attendance decline, there was a "bullish enthusiasm" among the attendees, according to show management. Plastics USA/98 was co-sponsored by the Society of Plastics Industry Inc. and the Society of Plastics Engineers.

"As the largest plastics exposition in North America in the three-year interval between SPI's NPE show, Plastics USA is a vaulable opportunity for suppliers to update the industry on developments in machinery and equipment, materials and services," Hoyt said.

New products and services made their impact on attendees. Of the 558 companies which exhibited at the show, many said they considered the exposition to be very profitable with regards to leads and outright sales of machines off the floor.

"Conair sold granulators and robots right off the floor," said Ben Martin, marketing activities manager for the Conair Group. "We were impressed with the knowlede and expertise of visitors to the booth. They knew what they wanted and they wanted it now. For us, the show was nothing but good news."

The seminar programs and technical conferences were also considered a success. More than 850 registered participants attended the eight concurrent conference sessions conducted by SPI and more than 350 participated in the 22 technical seminars held by SPE.

The next Plastics USA is scheduled for Oct. 2-4, 2001, in Chicago. For more information, contact the SPI at (202) 974-5235 or e-mail

World Polypropylene Demand to Grow Nearly 6% Annually

World demand for polypropylene is predicted to grow 5.9 percent annually to nearly 30 million metric tons by 2002, a value of $27 billion. According to The Freedonia Group, this is the strongest growth forecast for any of the major thermoplastics. Only polyethylene, which benefits from some of the same process technology improvements, is expected to show comparable gains.

According to Freedonia's World Polypropylene study, all major markets for polypropylene will see solid gains, with the fiber and consumer goods markets offering the best opportunities. Strongest gains in fiber demand are driven by nonwovens, such as in medical goods.Consumer goods show the strongest gains occurring in impact and random copolymer grades of polypropylene.

According to the study, many of the resin's new applications, particularly in packaging, are coming at the expense of polystyrene and PVC, both of which have been the subject of regulatory restrictions related to solid waste issues and potential toxicity.

Import Effect
China is expected to remain the world's leading importer of polypropylene resins, due in part to the excess capacity in the export-intensive industries of Japan and South Korea, the study states. The remainder of the Asian market will decelerate markedly from its previous strong pace due to the region's financial crisis.

Latin America offers favorable long-term growth, due mainly to evolution of the plastic packaging and durable goods markets in Argentina and Brazil, although short-term prospects have been clouded by some of the same financial instability affecting Asia, according to The Freedonia Group.

In Eastern Europe, both the Czech Republic and Hungary will become signigicant exporters upon completion of new expansion projects, although Russia's market will remain weak.

For further details about World Polypropylene, contact Corinne Gangloff at The Freedonia Group, (440) 684-9600, fax (440) 646-0484, e-mail at Full text of the study is also available online through commercial database companies and the Web site.

Dates Set for NPE Exhibit Space Drawing

Anticipating record demand for NPE 2000, show sponsor, the Society of Plastics Industry Inc., announced that the drawing for exhibit space will take place March 16 and 17 in Chicago.

NPE 2000 will take place June 19-23 at Chicago's McCormick Place. "Even with an incrase in available exhbit space of at least 8 percent over NPE 1997, we still expect NPE 2000 to be a sellout," said Larry Thomas, president of the SPI.

The drawing will take place in the International Ballroom fo the Chicago Hilton and Towers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Member companies of SPI receive substantial discounts on space costs and uprades in drawing priority.

For more information on NPE, or to receive a copy fo the official NPE prospectus, companies can contact Hall-Erickson Inc., NPE 2000 Exposition Management, 98 E. Naperville Raod, Westomont, IL 60559-1559; (630) 434-7779; FAX (630) 434-1216.

Brookdale Wins POP Display Award

Plymouth, MN-based Brookdale Plastics Inc. won an award for its interactive point-of-purchase display at the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division annual conference in Nashville.

Designed for Metacom Inc., the music station resembles a jukebox and displays the company's line of CDs and cassettes. It employs an interactive touch screen so customers can sample the music titles stocked on the display. The display also contains a motion sensor which, when tripped by a passing customer, activates the jukebox to play short music samples to attract attention.

Brookdale vacuum formed 22 separate parts from glycol-modified PET and high-impact polystyrene. The company also assembled the components, along with wood subassemblies, to produce the finished displays. More than 2,700 units have been produced to date and shipped to nationally to major discount stores and larger retail outlets.

Ferry Acquires Canton, Launches Quintax

Rotational molding manufacturer Ferry Industries has acquired the assets of Canton Industrial Systems, a maker of CNC routers and trimmers. The assets will become part of a new Ferry subsidiary, Quintax Inc.

"With this acquisition, Ferry is adding a line of machinery that will serve both existing and new customers," said Harry Covington, president of Ferry.

Quintax will operate out of the Canton facility in East Canton, OH. The company will supply routers and trimmers to the thermoforming and rotational molding industries, as well as provide machines for industrial mold and pattern makers and to the aerospace industry.

For additional information contact Ferry at (330) 688-4400. Quintax can be reached at (330) 488-1251.

Fanuc Robotics CEO to Retire

Effective Dec. 31, Eric Mittelstadt, chairman and CEO of Fanuc Robotics North America, will retire. Rick Schneider will take over as the new CEO while continuing as president; Schneider has served as president and COO since 1997.

Mittelstadt will remain a business advisor to the company and will hold the title chairman emeritus.

Headquartered in Rochester, MI, Fanuc Robotics North America recorded 1997 sales of approximately $370 million. For information about the company contact (248) 377-7000,

Fanuc Canada Opens New Headquarters
In related news, Fanuc Robotics Canada Ltd. opened a new 50,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga, ON. The new facility will serve as the company's Canadian headquarters.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Fanuc Robotics North America Inc., Fanuc Robotics Canada is a leading supplier of robots and robotic systems in Canada. The new facility is located at 6774 Financial Drive, Mississauga, ON L5N 7J6 Canada (905) 812-2300, FAX: (905) 812-2350.

CMS, Hartzell Mfg. Merge

Richmond, KY-based contract manufacturer CMS has merged with Hartzell Mfg. of St. Paul, MN. Hartzell has six plants that offer tooling, plastic injection molding, die casting and assemblies.

The merger is in response to customers' need for single-source suppliers. "Two years ago, we began sensing that our customers wanted maximum leverage from their supplier base," said George Scherff, president and CEO of CMS.

CMS Hartzell offers the following services: injection and structural foam molding, metal fabrication, metal stamping, die casting, design and value engineering and rapid response tooling.

CMS Hartzell has nine facilities located throughout the United States and Mexico. For more information contact the company at (651) 643-2358.  

Plastics Machining & Fabricating
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