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E-Weekly News Briefs, September 25 - 29


Ohio forms flexible display cluster

Capitalizing on the region''s strengths in printing, polymers, and engineering, Northeast Ohio is angling to become a global leader in flexible displays. During the International Display Research conference held at Kent State University''s Liquid Crystal Institute, John West, dean of graduate studies at Kent State, announced the FLEXMatters Initiative, which will build an industrial cluster in northeast Ohio based around flexible plastic substrates for displays, complex electronics, and solar cells.

Partnering NorTech, Kent State, Ohio Polymer Strategy Council, PolymerOhio, the Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices, and the University of Akron, FLEXMatters is hoping push markets like displays and electronics away from rigid substrates made in batch process, to flexible plastic substrates, which can be processed and printed in a roll-to-roll fashion, allowing greater flexibility and efficiency.

The group points to local startup companies, like AlphaMicron, which commercialized a flexible crystal lens used in ski goggles, and Applied Polymer Systems, which provides specialized plastics to improve the appearance of flat-screen LCD televisions, as examples of the area''s preexisting aptitude in the technology.


Bayer pushes PUR technology to worldscale production levels

Bayer MaterialScience (Leverkusen, Germany) will push an experimental technology used in the creation of polyurethane precursors to commercial-level production at a new facility in Shanghai. In what will be the world''s largest hydrochloric acid recycling plant, Bayer will employ its oxygen-depleting cathode (ODC) technology to process 215,000 tonnes of chlorine, with energy savings of 30%. The chlorine, which is used in methyl diisocyanate (MDI) and toluene diisocyanate (TDI) production, will be derived from the hydrochloric acid made in isocyanate production, separated out through electrolysis, for a closed loop system.

Bayer developed ODC with partners UhdeNora, DeNora North America, and Bayer Technology Services, in 2003, and employs it in Brunsbüttel, Germany, with an annual capacity of 20,000 tons of chlorine.


India undertakes PVC dumping investigation

The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI; Washington DC) is reporting in its Sept. 18 Trade Update that India is investing an antidumping claim against suspension-grade polyvinyl chloride (PVC) imports from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States. Indian PVC producers Petrochemicals Corp. Ltd., DCW Ltd., Chemplast Sanmar, and DCM Shriram petitioned the India government to investigate, with a 40-day preliminary phase ending on August 7. The probe must be completed within one year of filing, and initial findings could come by December, with indications thus far pointing towards a dumping ruling.

SPI also reported that SPI members have sent more than 100 letters to their Congress people urging support of House bill number 1498: the China Currency Act of 2005. SPI is pushing for more House members to sponsor the bill, which if enough do, would force a floor vote on the measure.


Names in the news

Taking the place of David Jones, who is retiring, Renee Miller-Mizia has joined petrochemical consultancy Chemical Market Associates Inc. (CMAI; Houston, TX) as a senior consultant in its proprietary services business, which includes single-client consulting, litigation advising, and financial analysis. Miller has a polymer and petrochemical background, including 12 years at GE Plastics, leaving there as the general manager for total quality.

CMAI also announced that Esteban Sagel has been hired as part of the Global Plastics & Polymers Consulting service team, reporting on polyolefins out of the company''s Houston headquarters. Previously Sagel held positions with material and chemical suppliers Repsol and ExxonMobil, as well as packaging processor Tetra Pak.

Thermoset composite laminate supplier Norplex-Micarta (Postville, IA) has named Yoyo Chen as a business associate for the company''s China satellite office, where she''ll support customer activities in China and Asia/Pacific. Chen has a degree if foreign studies from Guangdong University.


Frank-Uwe Schulz has been appointed managing director of the Germany subsidiary of extruder manufacturer Davis-Standard (D-S; Fulton, NY) at its Erkath, Germany facility. Schulz will be responsible for Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. He joins D-S from custom paper manufacturing and converting firm, E.C.H. Will GmbH.

In additional D-S personnel news, James Vescio has been promoted to VP and chief information officer, in charge of all information technology activities for the firm.

The Society of Chemical Industry (American Section) awarded James Stevens, a research fellow at Dow Chemical Co., the 2006 Perkin Medal. Stevens was the 100th recipient of the Medal, presented at the Society''s annual dinner (Sept. 21, 2006; Philadelphia, PA). The Perkin Medal, established in 1906, is the highest honor that the Society bestows on an individual for outstanding work in applied chemistry in the United States. The medalist is chosen by a jury composed of officers of the America Sections of the Society of Chemical Industry and the Societe de Chimie Industrielle, representatives of the American Chemical Engineers, the Electrochemical Society, and the American Institute of Chemists.

Stevens'' R&D work in the catalyst field began in the late 1970s when he joined Dow Central Research. He has been involved with the discovery and commercial implementation of Dow''s Insite catalyst technology and constrained-geometry catalysts, which are used in the production of approximately 2 billion lb of polyolefins per year. Stevens is named on more than 75 U.S. patents and in 1994 was a co-recipient of the U.S. Congress National Inventor of the Year Award.


Briefs

Machine, mold component, and industrial fluid manufacturer Milacron Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) has gone forward with its previously discussed $30 million prepayment on 2007 pension fund requirements, eliminating the burden from next year''s books. Milacron made the payment on Sept. 15 by liquidating nonqualified executive retirement plans, selling a closed facility, repatriating cash from outside the U.S., and borrowing money off its revolving credit line. The company also said it''s in the process selling other noncore, nonoperating assets, including land, facilities, and equipment.

Consumer packaging processor Rexam recently installed five Davis-Standard Thermatic extruders at its plant in Union, MO for extruding multilayer sheet used in barrier containers for shelf-stable food packaging. The Union plant is Rexam''s only U.S. facility within the company to produce these types of containers and serve this market.

The extruders, ranging in size from 50 to 130 mm, came equipped with screen changers, melt pumps, and control systems. Rexam has purchased 15 Thermatic extruders over the past four years.

Horticulture product manufacturer Landmark Plastic Corp. (Akron, OH) has expanded its injection molded production line with 16 new products, bringing the total new products introduced in the last three months to 24. Landmark, which features extrusion, thermoforming, and injection molding under one roof for the creation of plastic containers used for plant transport and display at its 200,000-sq-ft plant, has added decorative and hanging pots to its repertoire. The company also hired Kevin Kirtz as the technical services and support manager.

C.P. Hall Co. (Chicago, IL)-a manufacturer of performance additives for rubber, plastics, adhesives, and coatings used in personal care and industrial applications-has named Chemcentral Australia Pty. Ltd. as its representative in Australia and New Zealand. The brands made available will be Paraplex, Plasthall, Tegmer, Maglite, Hallbond, and Hallgreen.


Weekly futures activity from the LME

Futures trading of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and polypropylene (PP) on the London Metal Exchange (LME) for the week of Sept. 18-22 saw a low price for LLDPE of $1130/tonne set on Wednesday, Sept. 20, for December buyers. LLDPE''s high of $1240/tonne was reached on Monday, Sept. 18, for December sellers.

For PP, a low price of $1130/tonne was reached on Wednesday, Sept. 20, for October and November buyers and Thursday, Sept. 21, for October buyers. The high of $1200/tonne was reached on Friday, Sept. 22, for November and December sellers.


Notable

When professional football returned to New Orleans this Monday, the game was played under a BaySystem spray-applied polyurethane (PUR) foam roofing system from Bayer MaterialScience (Leverkusen, Germany). Completing the work in only four months, Brazos Urethanes, using Bayer closed-cell PUR foam, worked feverishly to repair the roof, which covers 9.5 acres, in time for the Sept. 25 opener. Emblazoned by a light display on game night, the roof is built to withstand future storms but on Monday worked only to amplify the cheers of the 70,003 fans on hand who watched the hometown Saints defeat the Atlanta Falcons, 23-3.

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