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ANTEC '99 Slated For May 2-6

Billed as the world's largest plastics conference, ANTEC '99 will address all aspects of plastics engineering, including: design, processing, properties, production and product performance. Sponsored by the Society of Plastics Engineering, this year's technical conference will be held May 3-6 at the New York Hilton Towers in New York, NY.

Highlighting SPE's vast outreach in educating industry and non-industry persons about plastics through the exhibition of machinery, materials and related equipment, ANTEC '99 will devote an entire day to Education 2000. This program will encompass most of the educational programs currently available, as well as discussing the most effective ways to teach others about plastics.

The morning program will focus on how to teach plastics to school children, teachers and peers and the design of a university polymer program. In the afternoon, experts will present topics covering benefits of seminars to companies, computer-based training, learning via the internet, learning via video, operator training and training for plant workers.

Representatives from SPE, the Society of the Plastics Industry, the American Plastics Council, the National Plastics Center and Museum and corporations along with teachers and professors will show attendees how to make plastics easy to teach and in some cases lots of fun to learn.

Some of the Seminar Topics include:Thermoplastic Elastomers, Thermoforming Technology for Industrial Applications, The Fundamentals of Injection Molding Automation and Thermoforming Technology.

Seminars will also be devoted to marketing and management techniques. Among the speakers will be Harry Urban, publisher of Plastics Machining & Fabricating, who will speak on "How To Work With The Trade Press -- 8 Ways To Getting Your Releases and Paper Published."

Following the '99 show in New York, future ANTEC dates and locations are: May 7-11, 2000, Orlando, FL; May 6-10, 2001, Dallas, TX; May 5-9, 2002, San Francisco, CA; May 4-8, 2003 Nashville, TN; and April 25-29, 2004, Chicago, IL.

For more information on ANTEC, contact the SPE at (203) 775-0471; Fax: (203) 775-8490; www.4spe.org.


Bull Market Predicted for 1999 Contract, Store Fixture Sales

Plastic fabricators who supply the contract furniture and store fixture/point-of-purchase industries should benefit from 1999 sales growth projected by the association heads of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Assn. (BIFMA)-International and the National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers (NASFM).

Office Furniture Sales Growing
"After realizing an incredible 14 percent growth in shipments during 1997 [eclipsing $10 billion for the first time], the industry is currently enjoying a still impressive 8 percent growth in shipments through September 1998," said Thomas Reardon, executive vice president of BIFMA - International. "Incoming orders are up about 5 percent for the first nine months as compared to the same period of 1997."

Through the first six months of 1998, the Southeastern states and the North Central region experienced the largest shipments growth, while the Northeast had the slowest growth.

According to Reardon, the outlook for 1999 is also positive. "The variance between the growth rate of incoming orders [5 percent] and shipments [8 percent] is primarily due to the large backlog of unfilled orders present at the beginning of this year," Reardon said. "Once the unfilled order backlog drops back to traditional levels, shipments growth should approximate orders growth, at about 5 percent." He added that the recent drops in interest rates are reflected in the projections.

Positive Outlook for Fixture Industry
The store fixture industry enjoyed an 8.8 percent growth in sales, according to the 1998 NASFM Profit Survey. "But the overall profitability of a typical NASFM member in 1997 [measured by pre-tax profit margin] declined to 4.1 percent, down from 4.7 percent for 1996. The median sales growth of 8.8 percent for '97 was an increase over the median growth of 2.5 percent in 1996," said NASFM executive director Klein Merriman.

"The Profit Survey profiles the industry's financial performance using information from 99 NASFM member companies, said Merriman. "Those 99 members reported 1997 sales of more than $1.3 billion. Members of the NASFM are part of an industry doing more than $7 billion in annual revenues, according to Merriman. NASFM members operate more than 750 plants here and overseas and represent over 80 percent of the revenue in the industry. Merriman said that while their studies show that sales are up, profits went down. "We attribute that to tight profit margins."

Merriman added that the outlook for 1999 is positive and can be partially attributed to a trend for increased global business as American customers establish stores overseas. Stores tend to use the same fixture makers when they expand into other countries, Merriman said, to give a uniform, consistent look and image and also to assure quality in the fixtures.


Window Demand for Plastics to Reach 1.2 Billion Pounds by 2002

The demand for plastics used in the manufacture of windows and doors in the United States is projected to grow 5.6 percent annually, reaching 1.2 billion pounds in the year 2002. Plastic advances will be stimulated by cost and performance advantages over wood and metal and by product improvements in dimensional stability and impact and ultraviolet light resistance.

According to a study by The Freedonia Group, strong demand is anticipated in the new construction sector, despite declining housing starts, as a result of growing contractor acceptance of plastics and consumer demands for low-maintenance products.

Polyvinyl chloride will remain the resin of choice based on widespread use in window and door glazing because of their light weight, shatter resistance and design flexibility compared to glass. PVC demand in window and door production will increase 6.5 percent per year, to 650 million pounds in 2002. Vinyl's primary use is as a framing material in single-hung and double-hung windows.

The fastest-growing application for plastic resins will be in plastic profiles and other structural components, including framing, sashes and cladding material.

For further details about Plastics in Windows & Doors, 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.


Zeon Chemicals to Acquire DSM's NBR Business

Effective Jan. 31, 1999, Zeon Chemicals will have acquired DSM Copolymer's NYsyn NBR and NYsynblak NBR (nitrile butadience rubber) business. The transaction is to include business assets such as customer lists, product technology, contractual arrangements and trademark licensing.

DSM Copolymer manufactures NBR at its Baton Rouge, LA, production site. Its current NBR capacity is 15,000 tpa. Under the terms of the contract, Zeon will have the exclusive right to purchase NBR products from DSM Copolymer. The manufacture of these products will continue to take place in the DSM facility. Zeon will be responsible for worldwide marketing and selling these products as well as for customer and technical service.

Headquartered at Lousiville, KY, Zeon is a producer of specialty elastomers in the United States.


Bisphenol Low-Dose Exposure Hazards Unsupported

A new animal study of bisphenol A, a chemical used in the production of certain plastics, has failed to provide evidence of treatment-related effects from low-dose exposures. This is the second major animal study released within the past two months that has been unable to reproduce earlier claims of effects at low doses.

The new study, sponsored jointly by the Global Bisphenol A Industry Group of the Society of Plastics Industry (SPI), and the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), was designed to investigate the potential effects on male reproductive organs from low-dose exposure to bisphenol A, using a protocol for treatment. This special protocol was designed to detect potentially permanent effects on male reproductive capacity caused by exposure during fetal and early life stages.

To date, none of the alleged effects from oral exposures to low doses of bisphenol A in mice or rats has been reproducible. The SPI/CEFIC study found no effects on the male offspring of female rats exposed to bisphenol A at 0.01, 0.1, 1.0 and 10.0 part per million concentrations in drinking water. In addition, no adverse effects were observed for maternal toxicity or reproductive performance.

The study is being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.


PPI Receives SPE Industrial Enclosure Award

Productive Plastics Inc. was awarded the 1998 Society of Plastics Engineers' Industrial Enclosure Award for a two-part heavy-gauge card personalization system enclosure. The top cover has a +15-inch depth of draw with six moving parts to facilitate undercuts in the forming tool. The award-winning component has a 1-inch perimeter undercut on both the top and bottom pieces, creating a matching feature held within a +/-0.20-inch tolerance.

Produced from fire-retardant ABS material, the product meets UL 94-5VA rating. The unit also features interior bosses and inserts for attachments of LCD and switch interfaces. Starting thicknesses begin at 0.365 inch.

SPE's judging criteria included technical mastery, creativity, surface finish, distinct quality, market viability, original thought, material difficulty, mold complexity and secondary operations. The SPE's "Showcase of Parts" was held in Nashville last fall.


Plaskolite Buys Replex Division

Plaskolite announced it has purchased the flat mirrored acrylic sheet business segment of Replex Plastics of Mount Vernon, OH.

"Purchasing Replex is all about our commitment to the mirror sheet market," said James Dunn, Plaskolite president. In four short years we have become, and will continue to be, the leading supplier of quality mirror products in the market."

With the addition of the Replex line, Plaskolite now offers more than 30 color variations, including a wide assortment of custom colors and sizes.


United Southern Ind. President Receives SPI Service Award

Joseph Bennett, president of United Southern Industries, received the first SPI Southern Region Distinguished Service Award during the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI) Southern Region's first annual conference in Seabrook Island, SC.

The award recognizes outstanding dedication and initiative in promoting plastics in the South. Bennett has been involved with the plastics industry for 36 years as an active supporter of workforce education and training initiatives. He established and directed several programs that have promoted plastics industry education nationwide including a curriculum for plastics programs at the Isothermal Community College in Forest City, NC. Bennett also contributes to two local scholarships to help students pursue careers in plastics.

Bennett helped found United Southern Industries in 1970 and has been its president since 1979. In 1992, he co-founded Everbhan Inc., a precision injection molded thermoplastics company.


Spartech acquires Lustro Plastics for $10.4 million

Spartech Corp. has bolstered its market share in glycol-modified PET sheet by acquiring Lustro Plastics Co. for $10.4 million. PET represents only about 2 percent of the 500 million pounds of material that Spartech Plastics, the company's extruded sheet and roll stock division, uses every year. More than 95 percent of Lustro's sheet and film are made using PETG. Spartech expects to retain all 125 employees at Lustro's six extrusion line plant in Evanston, IL.

The investment of $1.5 million to $2 million will involve replacing some existing lines with newer equipment. With annual sales of about $28 million, Lustro also serves the electronic and medical packaging markets. The Evanston facility will be added to Spartech Plastics' existing 17 plants.

Spartech employs about 1,600 and operates nearly 100 sheet production lines. The firm uses about 500 million pounds of ABS, polystyrene, polyethylene, polycarbonate, acrylic and PET to make sheet and film for industries ranging from food packaging to appliance, automotive and marine products.


Madison Buys John Brown Plastics Machinery For $62 million

Madison Capital Partners, a Chicago investment group that owns several plastics processors and other equipment companies, is paying $62 million for five of John Brown Plastics Machinery's six units. The deal includes five businesses: Brown Machine, a maker manufacturer of thermoforming machinery in Beaverton, MI.; Epco of Fremont, OH, which remanufactures plastics machinery; Cumberland Engineering of South Attleboro, MA, a granulator supplier; Berlinger, which makes pelletizers and screen changers in Marblehead, MA; and Leesona, which makes textile winders in Burlington, NC.

Those companies generate total sales of about $100 million a year. Madison elected not to purchase the other John Brown business, injection molding press builder Negri Bossi SpA of Milan, Italy.

Madison owns several other machinery companies. The largest ones are Holcroft, a Detroit company that makes heat-treating furnaces for automakers, and Pacific Press Technologies in Mount Carmel, IL, which builds presses for metal stamping and compression molding of plastic composites.

Madison's subsidiary, Plastics Group, owns four processors; Pawnee Rotational Molding Co. of Maple Plains, MN.; blow molders Borse Industries of Willowbrook, IL; Fremont Plastic Products of Freemont, OH, and blow molder and rotomolder Wedco Moulded Products of Boucherville, Quebec.

Madison Capital will run the John Brown plastics equipment businesses while Plastics Group will continue to focus on processors.


Plastics Certification Information

Plastics Technology Certification is for plastics professionals who have the ability to apply math, physical science and engineering principles to technological problem solving. There are two requirements for certification: pass the 250-question exam and amass six education and/or experience credits.

Special one-day review sessions will be held: Feb. 21 at the (Houston) Polyolefins Conference; March 12 at the (Greensboro) Processors Conference; April 30 at ANTEC in New York; and Sept. 24 at the Thermoforming Conference in Chicago. For more information contact Laurie McDougal, certification assistant, Institute for Plastics Certification, at (203) 775-0471.

 


Plastics Machining & Fabricating
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