Converting Industry News

Covering the Full Spectrum of Industry News, Events & Activities

Badger Plug Buys Recycling Co.

GREENVILLE, WI, USA—Badger Plug Co. has acquired Returnable Packaging Systems (RPS), a recycling company located in Elora, Ont., Canada. RPS specializes in the recycling of suspension packaging for rolls of plastic packaging films.

The acquisition gives Badger Plug customers the option to buy new or recycled packaging components.

Danaher Acquires IDC Assets
SIMSBURY, CT, USA—Danaher Corp. has acquired the assets of IDC Corp., Petaluma, CA, which will become part of the Danaher Motion platform. According to Danaher executive Tom Gross, “With an excellent brand name in linear actuation solutions and a team of people that has earned a reputation for quality and responsive service, IDC provides a building block for Danaher's linear solutions going forward.”

KlÖckner Acquires Witt Plastics
GORDONSVILLE, VA, USA—KlÖckner Pentaplast of America reports the acquisition of Witt Plastics, Greenville, OH, for an undisclosed sum. Witt is a manufacturer of custom extruded HIPS and PP films used in the food, medical, printing, electronic, and general-purpose thermoforming markets.

“The purchase of Witt Plastics enables us to build on our product portfolio to offer our customers even more film choices,” says KlÖckner president Tom Goeke. “Witt Plastics has an excellent reputation for superior quality films, state-of-the-art technology, and proven product development capabilities. We look forward to welcoming their team into our organization.”

Pitman Acquires Some LDR Assets
TOTOWA, NJ, USA—Pitman Co., an independent graphic arts supplier, has signed a letter of intent to purchase certain assets of Litho Development and Research (LDR), one of the largest graphic arts suppliers in the western US. The assets to be acquired include LDR's sales and distribution facilities in the following markets: Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; and Denver, CO.

Creo Joins Media Suppliers to Offer Solutions

BEDFORD, MA, USA—Creo (formerly CreoScitex), a div. of Creo Products, is working closely with several media manufacturers to offer complete, bundled solutions that combine thermal plates, digital halftone proofing media, and recording film together with Creo systems and services.

Plate suppliers include Spectratech Intl. and Western Lithotech, a wholly owned sub. of Mitsubishi Chemical America. Advanced plate and film processor suppliers include Glunz & Jensen A/S. Creo also will handle DuPont thermal halftone proofing systems and will provide first-grade recording film under the Creo brand with Dolev imagesetters.

Mitchell to Sell, Maintain Magnat Equipment
SPRINGFIELD, MA, USA—Mitchell Machine has entered into an agreement with Magnat Machine Tech of Florence, MA, to assume Magnat's technological assets, intellect, and experienced personnel. Mitchell reports its plan is to continue building Magnat's product line, which consists of precision-engineered machinery for the coating, laminating, printing, and converting processes of the paper industry. Mitchell will maintain the existing machinery already in service, as well as offer new and modified products.

Association News
SERCOS Association Forms New Group

BLOOMINGDALE, IL, USA—Sercos N.A., the North American SERCOS interface trade association, reports the formation of the North American SERCOS Technical Working Group. The group comprises motion control engineers working on expanding and improving the SERCOS interface standard for motion control—IEC 61491. The group currently is involved in specifying requirements for advanced conformance tests for SERCOS interface products. This reportedly will ensure interoperability of SERCOS interface devices from the more than 70 manufacturers of SERCOS interface products worldwide. For more information contact SERCOS N.A. at 800/573-7267.

BST Donation Supports DFI Flexo Program

ELMHURST, IL, USA—BST Pro Mark has donated a video inspection unit to DiTrolio Flexographic Institute Inc. (DFI), Broadview, IL, to help train students for faster press runs with better quality and accuracy.

“Partnership with others in the industry helps us remain competitive by keeping us in close contact with the end-users of our products,” notes BST VP of marketing John Thome. “We want to support DFI's efforts to grow the flexo industry by contributing to their effort to develop more thoroughly trained flexo operators.” Adds Vincent DiTrolio, VP and training administrator for DFI, “We're proud to have a strong partner like BST Pro Mark. Whether they serve on our advisory board or donate products and equipment, our partners are an integral part of the educational experience at DFI…. Our graduates are prepared to be efficient on the production floor, and they contribute directly to the company's bottom line with improved productivity, higher quality, and lower waste.”

ExxonMobil Chemical Program Graduates 8000th Student
MACEDON, NY — Juan Carlos Molotla, a research and development manager from Barcel Mexico, became the 8000th student to graduate from the University of Oriented Polypropylene, a flexible packaging and labeling education program hosted by the Films Business of ExxonMobil Chemical. ExxonMobil Chemical has hosted the program since 1985. The course is designed to help industry colleagues, packaging students, allied suppliers, and ExxonMobil Chemical employees keep up with changes in OPP. Led by industry experts, the company offers three versions of the comprehensive seminar — flexible packaging, labeling, and an international course. The 2002 schedule is available on-line at

PolyOne Expands Color Compound Plant

GLENDALE, AZ, USA—PolyOne Corp., a polymer services company, has launched an expansion of its color compounding plant in Glendale. PolyOne reports the expansion will almost double production output; improve rapid-response capabilities by focusing on a customer-specific, small- and medium-lot order range; and greatly enhance customer service for the western region. The plant will grow from 25,000 sq ft to almost 60,000 sq ft, with about 60% of the new space devoted to manufacturing and 40% to warehousing.

The current 53-member workforce will be expanded, and new offices and training rooms will be installed. The expansion is part of PolyOne's Triple Crown initiative, a two-year program of investment in the technology and manufacturing assets of the company's North American Plastic Compounds and Colors (PCC) business.

The Glendale facility is one of eight Centers of Manufacturing Excellence for color compounding PolyOne plans to establish.

Smurfit-Stone Purchase Expands Capabilities
CHICAGO, IL, USA—Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. announced the expansion of its flexible packaging capabilities with the purchase of a flexible packaging plant in Brampton. Ont., Canada, from AT Plastics Inc. The Brampton facility produces a number of niche products, including PE heavy-duty shipping sacks for the building products, chemical, and horticultural industries, as well as high-performance coextruded film liners for cereal manufacturers and others. The 163,000-sq-ft facility has 217 employees and produces about 32 million lb of flexible products annually.

Says Gary McDaniel, VP and general manager, flexible packaging group, “This acquisition broadens our capabilities to offer packaging solutions to consumer and industrial products customers with a wide range of high quality plastic packaging and high-performance barrier film liners. This initiative is in line with Smurfit-Stone's goal to become the premier packaging company in North America.”

Industry Studies
Report Predicts Future of US Converted Flex-Pack

CLEVELAND, OH, USA—A new report from The Freedonia Group on converted flexible packaging indicates demand in the US is projected to increase 2.2%/yr to 7.5 billion lb in 2005, valued at $14.5 billion. Advances are expected to be stimulated by developments including breathable films for fresh-cut produce and meats; reclosable stand-up pouches; and microwavable wraps.

The report says plastic films will extend their dominance, with PE and PP presenting the best opportunities based on extensive markets and the availability of improved materials, including metallocene grades.

Paper will remain important in packaging markets because of its low cost, environmental compatibility, and use in laminations. However, the demand for paper packaging will expand only marginally.

Converted flexible packaging advances over the next decade will encompass better sealing and barrier properties, improved mechanical strength and printing surfaces, and lower cost.

Demand for plastic film will grow almost 3%/yr to 5.6 billion lb in 2005, says the study, as a result of improved film grades and greater performance properties compared to paper and foil. PE will remain the dominant film, but much better growth is expected for PP. For more information contact Freedonia Group at 440/684-9600;

New Bag Technology Ready for QSR Markets
HOUSTON, TX, USA—An independent study conducted by Plastics Research Assoc. (PRA) concludes a new clear, square-bottom plastic bag technology is ready to penetrate the quick-service restaurant (QSR) take-out bag market.

The 90-p. report assesses market opportunities for the new bag technology developed in a collaborative effort among independent packaging engineer Bob DeMatteis Co.; equipment manufacturer Amplas; and PE resin supplier Equistar. The patented technology is said to offer significant performance and economic advantages over current paper and plastic technologies.

The report includes a forecast of the demand for paper and plastic bags through 2006 and an evaluation of the impact of the new technology on paper, plastic, and equipment suppliers to the QSR industry. For more information contact PRA at 281/970-0469;

SPI Reports on Plastics
WASHINGTON, DC, USA—The Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES) of The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI) has published its first quarterly report. Expanding on the basic data it began making public in 2001, the report offers an overview of plastics equipment shipments from third quarter 2000 to third quarter 2001. The third quarter 2001 report also offers an analysis of the US economy and the plastics industry, including general economic indicators and durable goods shipments to provide perspective for trends in plastics equipment sales and shipments. The report was compiled by Veris Consulting LLC using data supplied by CES participating companies.

Among the findings: Extrusion machinery units shipped in third quarter 2001 were down 48.1% from third quarter 2000, while auxiliary equipment shipment dollars declined 32.6% for the same time frame; plastics equipment components followed the general downward trend in plastics equipment shipments, a trend that held for both single screws and barrels.

The cost of the report (ref. AB-151) is $145 for SPI members and $290 for nonmembers. For more information contact SPI at 202/974-5200;

Name Change
Thermo Web Systems Takes Kadant Identity

AUBURN, MA, USA—Thermo Web Systems has changed its name to Kadant Web Systems. The change comes as a result of the spin off of its parent company, Thermo Fibertek, as an independent public company now called Kadant Inc.

President Eric Langevin reports, “You will begin to see our new name on our materials and products as we link the Web Systems name with the new Kadant identity.”

The company supplies doctoring and related accessory equipment to the paper and converting industries.

FILMtech Opens Metallizing Facility

BEAN STATION, TN, USA—FILMtech has opened a new metallizing and converting facility in East Tennessee, 30 miles from Knoxville. The facility includes a 140-in., custom-designed metallizing chamber and a wide web slitter from Atlas Converting Co.

FILMtech general manager Mark McGarel says, “We are excited at the opportunity to supply high quality metallized films to the converting industry, and with our chamber widths, we can lower unit costs substantially.”

Sonoco Purchases Smurfit U.K. Core/Tube Business

HARTSVILLE, SC, USA—Sonoco has purchased the U.K.-based core and tube converting business from Smurfit UK Ltd., part of the Jefferson Smurfit Group, headquartered in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. President and CEO Harris E. DeLoach Jr. says the acquisition is expected to be slightly accretive to Sonoco's earnings in the first year. The purchase price was not revealed. The Smurfit core and tube business consists of three converting facilities in the U.K. located at Slough, Leek, and Jarrow. The business had 2000 annual sales of approximately $16 million, most of which was paper-based tubes and cores for the paper, plastics, paper converting, and packaging industries. Sonoco currently has four tube and core facilities in the U.K.: Coleford and Milnrow, England; Lurgan, Northern Ireland; and Brechin, Scotland.

Pactiv Continues Restructuring

LAKE FOREST, IL, USA—Pactiv Corp. reports the sale of its single-faced corrugated business based in The Netherlands to Palm Industrie Beteiligungs GmbH Co. KG. The single-faced corrugated business had sales of approximately $20 million in 2000. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The sale of this business is another step in the restructuring of the company's Protective and Flexible Packaging segment announced in January 2001. Richard L. Wambold, chairman and CEO of Pactiv, says, “We are pleased with the progress we are making with the restructuring…. At this point we have completed about half of our improvement effort. As the industry recovers and volumes improve, we are confident this segment will meet its financial goals.”

Toray Plastics Restructures into Three Business Units
NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI, USA—Toray Plastics (America) has restructured its operations into three distinct business units: Lumirror, Torayfan, and PEF.

Chiaki Tanaka, president, says, “This organizational shift will streamline and enhance our response to both customer needs and market trends. Independent business units will facilitate a customer- and market-driven focus, while still leveraging the technical and R&D resources of the whole Toray organization.”

Each of the business units will operate under a single VP/general manager. Robert Leach will head the Lumirror division, and Richard Schloesser will head the Torayfan division, both located at the North Kingstown headquarters. Glenn Owens will lead the PEF division, which is located in Front Royal, VA.

Toray's new business strategy is said to include a renewed emphasis on product development, which will further strengthen the company's lineup of PP and PET film products.

Supplier News
Hyde Park Names Chartwell Canadian Rep

DAYTON, OH,USA—Hyde Park Electronics reports the appointment of Chartwell Electronics as its Canadian representative and master stocking distributor. Hyde Park manufactures ultrasonic proximity sensing equipment. Chartwell has served industrial component and automation markets since 1983.

MeadWestvaco Shutdowns Part of Merger Strategy
STAMFORD, CT, USA—MeadWestvaco Corp. plans to shut down permanently four coated paper machines and related equipment, with completion scheduled for May 31. MeadWestvaco was formed January 29, 2002, through the merger of The Mead Corp. and Westvaco Corp. The company has about $8 billion in annual sales and operates in four key segments: packaging; coated and specialty papers; consumer and office products; and specialty chemicals.

“These actions reflect our determination to move rapidly to capture the benefits of this strategic merger,” says John A. Luke Jr., president and CEO of MeadWestvaco. “With this merger and these steps, we are creating the highest quality and most efficient coated papers business in North America.”

Three coated paper machines and associated equipment will be closed permanently at MeadWestvaco's Chillicothe, OH, mill and one coated paper machine at the Luke, MD, mill will be shut down.

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