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Converting Industry News

Covering the Full Spectrum of Industry News, Events & Activities

Acquisitions
Valmet Converting Part of Bobst

ROSELAND, NJ, USA —The Bobst Group has acquired the Valmet Converting operations of Metso Corp., including the brand names of Atlas, General, Midi, Titan, and Rotomec.

Schiavi and Valmet Converting will be integrated into Bobst Group Business Area Flexible Materials, which comprises five product lines: flexo printing; gravure printing; coating/laminating; vacuum metallizing; and slitting/rewinding.

The flexible materials division will maintain a sales and service network for all of North America from two locations: Charlotte, NC, USA (704/587-2450); and Roseland, NJ, USA (888/226-8800 or 973/226-8000).


American Roller Adds Company
UNION GROVE, WI, USA — American Roller Co. has acquired Plasma Coatings, a manufacturer of thermal and release coatings. American Roller’s Arcotech plant, located in Wisconsin, utilizes many of the same processes as Plasma Coatings for its ceramic, metal matrix, and Escort line of release coating products and reports it has the additional capability to grind-finish these types of coatings to exacting tolerances.



Association News
AIMCAL Elects Officers, ‘Goes On with the Show’

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA —The annual winter meeting of the Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators, Fort Mill, SC, USA, held few surprises in terms of the roster of officers voted into their new positions during the association’s business meeting March 13. Heading up the board of directors are Paolo Raugei, executive VP, Galileo Vacuum Systems, as president; Bill Yoder, sales manager of Industrial Products, Lamart Corp., as VP; Mike Engle, COO of FLEXcon, as treasurer; and Frank Sereno, president, PROMA Technologies, as outgoing past president.

There was one surprise, however. When DuPont’s Robert Shrouds was unable to make connections for his flight to give the Converting Industry Economic Outlook, PFFC and AIMCAL staged an impromptu webinar (Internet-based seminar) with Shrouds in Wilmington, DE, USA, at PFFC producer Dave Haradon’s studio. In true California fashion, the webinar maintained the maxim that “the show must go on.”


PPC Event Offers Mixed Forecast
CHICAGO, IL, USA —Hundreds of converters packed the Drake Hotel in Chicago March 14–16 for the annual event sponsored by the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC). PPC reports a record number of attendees in an economic climate that is still in slow recovery.

Celebrating 75 years of service to the paperboard packaging industry, the association offered attendees information on the latest trends and growth strategies within the industry. Steve Dunning, chairman of PPC’s Industry Information Committee, presented State of the Industry Trends 2003, offering “good news and not-so-good news.” Dunning maintains the economy is recovering and the manufacturing sector “will be the driver of growth in our business.” However, he cautions growth will be harder to find within the folding carton industry, with the long-term outlook “flat, at best.”

A recurring topic was the impact of Wal-Mart, America’s top retailer, on the packaging industry. From discussions of its “mandate” to have its top 100 suppliers implement RFID tags on its pallets within the next year to criticism the “Big Gorilla” is pushing manufacturing outside the US, Wal-Mart was the hot topic of the event, even garnering its own break-out session Wednesday morning.

Winners of PPC’s 61st National Paperboard Packaging Competition were announced at an award’s banquet. Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., Chicago, IL, received the coveted President’s and Innovation awards for its folding carton for Family Time Perfect Popper. For more on the award-winning design, read “Innovation on Board,” or visit PPC’s redesigned web site at ppcnet.org


GLFA Holds Press-Side Meeting
GREEN BAY, WI, USA —The Great Lakes Flexo Association (GLFA) held its first press-side meeting in February at Paper Converting Machine Co. (PCMC). The topic was the Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances (FIRST) Book, 3rd ed. GLFA, established almost two years ago, “brings the flexo community together to discuss the industry and the changing demands of our customers,” says association VP Dan Dietrich. “We’re encouraging our supplier and converter members to give us new topics that they want to learn about concerning their businesses.” For more information visit greatlakesflexo.com.



Capacity Expansion
Pliant Adds Stretch Film Capacity

SCHAUMBURG, IL, USA —Pliant Corp., producer of value-added plastic films and flexible packaging products, reports it has expanded capacity to support the increasing demand for R12 high-speed machine film and R410 hand film, part of the Revolution line of high-integrity, downgauged stretch films.



Consolidation
ABB Reorganizes

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — ABB has merged its six automation business areas into three globally focused businesses. Martinus Brandal will head the Process Automation business; Tom Sjökvist will lead the Automation Products business; and Bo Elisson will continue to head the ABB robotics, automatic, and manufacturing business, now called Manufacturing Automation.



Expansions
UCB Building Radcure Facility

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — UCB reports Surface Specialties, one of its two main activities, acquired 225 acres in St-Ghislain, Belgium, on which it will build a new plant dedicated, in a first step, to the production of Radcure resins. The first phase represents an investment of €25 million. The plant is expected to be operational in 2006 with an annual production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of Radcure monomers.


Coater to Provide Solutions
JÜLICH, GERMANY — Schleipen & Erkens (S+E) reports the recent startup of a new coating machine that will enable it to provide highly specialized solutions to complex demands in the field of silicone-coated release liners. The new equipment required the enlargement of the production site.

The investment of more than €3 million in the coater will enable S+E to fulfill demand for double-sided siliconized paper with a working width to 2.35 m.


Comexi Expansion on Target
COMEXI, SPAIN — Comexi reports the second stage of its expansion in the Riudellots de la Selva section of Girona was completed recently with the opening of a 12,000-sq-m facility adjacent to its existing office building and assembly plant. The mechanization group and new foundry, currently housed in two separate locations, will move into the new building, along with research areas for Enviroxi product development and slitter/rewinder projects.



Industry Studies
Clean Room Consumables Show Gains

CLEVELAND, OH, USA — Demand for consumable products used in clean room environments is expected to increase 5.9%/yr to $1.6 billion in 2007, according to a report by The Freedonia Group.

Gains will result from improved economic growth in the economy as a whole, as well as from the recovery of the semiconductor industry and the continuing expansion of clean room technologies into non-electronics market.

The best opportunities for growth, says the report, will occur in other electronics applications, including hard disk drives and flat panel displays, and non-electronics markets such as pharmaceuticals, foods/beverages, and medical devices.

Apparel, such as gowns, caps, gloves, etc., are the largest value group of consumables used in clean rooms. Together with chemicals, which are also significant, these two product groups accounted for more than 60% of total demand in 2002.

Cleaning products such as wipes and swabs, sensors, and filters all are expected to continue to record above-average rates of growth. For more information contact The Freedonia Group at 440/684-9600 or visit freedoniagroup.com.


Praise for Recycled Paperboard
NEW YORK, NY, USA — Independent research firm Priority Metrics conducted a study on behalf of the 100% Recycled Paperboard Alliance. The firm held 220 phone interviews with packaging, technical, and purchasing professionals at 143 US companies.

In an analysis of the study, Priority Metrics offers these key findings:

  • More than 55% of respondents rate 100% recycled paperboard as havingsuperior value, especially in the categories of frozen/refrigerated foods.
  • One-third of heavy users of 100% recycled paperboard see it assuperior to other types of packaging regarding consumer preference and shelf impact.
  • Current users of any amount of 100% recycled paperboard are 20%–25% more positive in their evaluation than nonusers and find it superior to other packaging on a number of attributes. As a result of these attitudes, 100% recycled paperboard has become a dominant packaging material.

The study identifies a clear majority —almost 55% —of packaged goods companies saying an environmentally positive image is important in marketing their products. Of this total, 70% recognize the consumer appeal, value, and importance of the recycled paperboard “chasing arrows” symbol in marketing.

Value, carton runnability, overall paperboard quality, and overall carton performance are the most critical drivers of respondents’ overall sense of satisfaction when choosing 100% recycled paperboard. For more information visit rpa100.com.



Supplier News
Alternative to Solid Fibre

Technology Container Corp., Shrewsbury, MA, USA, offers a full line of hexagonal corrugated drums that ship knocked-down, store flat, and save space for shipping powders, dry goods, etc.

Hex drums feature one-piece construction that erect without tape or glue. Made from double-wall kraft or white corrugated, drums are available in sizes of 5–50 gal. They can be printed with two-color graphics, can be stacked and nested, and exhibit to 1,750-lb compression strength (55-gal size).


UV Retrofit Adds Markets
Green Printing and Packaging Co., a Lexington, NC, USA, sub. of Chesapeake Corp., serves markets such as pharmaceutical/ healthcare and technology that require high quality and complex graphics. To expand its printing capabilities, Green recently retrofitted a six-color Heidelberg press with a Grafix UV printing/coating station.

The result: Green now is able to offer packaging products in a wide range of materials, including metallized polyester, other plastics, foil, and foil board. The new UV technology also allows the converter to create the special graphic effects required to meet the needs of the markets it serves.
Supplier Information
Grafix LLC
grafix-online.de
Heidelberg USA us.heidelberg.com


Super Bowl Tickets Score Big
Every year the NFL likes to add a new twist to Super Bowl tickets, not only for the esthetic appeal (most ticket holders don’t care what they look like; they only care that they have one!), but also to help fight fraud and counterfeiting. This year’s twist was supplied by Brightec, whose night luminescent paper allows images that appear normal under conventional light but glow when seen in low light or darkness. This was the first commercial application for this paper.

Lithographix, a Los Angeles, CA, USA-based converter that has a long-standing relationship with the NFL, printed the tickets on an eight-color Mitsubishi CD press, retrofitted for UV printing. The ink sequence was black, cyan, magenta, yellow, and then in-line gloss UV coating for protection. After printing, the sheets were laminated to Permanent Adhesive Crack-n-Peel label stock and die-cut on three sides. Finished cards were peeled apart and hand-applied to the final Super Bowl tickets. A total of 80,000 tickets were printed.
Supplier Information
Brightec
brightec.com
Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses mplusa.com


EDI Subsidiary Will Serve Europe
REICHSHOF-WEHNRATH, GERMANY — Extrusion Dies Industries (EDI) has established EDI GmbH as a wholly owned subsidiary to bring critical service functions closer to home for customers in Germany and seven other countries, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland.

The operation will occupy a 450-sq-m facility in Reichshof-Wehrath, initially focusing on sales service, die reconditioning, and customer inspection of new die systems prior to installation. The plan is to make the subsidiary a comprehensive service center to provide technical process support and spare parts as well as rework, says EDI president and CEO Timothy C. Callahan.


Proofing System Lives Up to Expectations
When printer/converter Group 360 Atlanta, a member of the St. Louis, MO, USA-based Group 360 Inc., decided to enter the world of digital proofing, operations manager Ken Sutphin and three of his colleagues checked out just about every available system. According to Sutphin, “After several months of independent research, we compared notes and found that the four of us had each concluded individually that the Latran Prediction systems with their multiple line screens, dots, and dot shapes would give us a true proof that would meet our needs best.”

Group 360 uses Latran’s Euro process color sets, and the wide range of system colors enables the company to meet the critical proofing requirements of some very tough customers.

Sutphin reports the system provides outstanding productivity, adding, “The Prediction systems are extremely reliable.” He notes they are easy to learn and use as well. “From the outset, in quality and performance, our two Prediction systems have given Group 360 Atlanta everything we expected from them and more.”
Supplier Information
Latran Technologies
latran.com




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