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February 1, 2006

9 Min Read
Short Shots

Demag production facility in Ningbo, China

HAITIAN, DEMAG PART WAYS
Demag Plastics Group (DPG) says that it and Ningbo Haitian called off their molding machine joint venture in China as of the end of 2005. Demag, which held 60% of the company, acquired the rest from Haitian and will continue to manage the business solo. Demag noted “drastic changes” in the market for IM machinery in China during recent years, and that Haitian was branching out into markets outside China. (Haitian has been active in North America and Europe.) Gerhard Massfelder, who has been CEO of the JV since summer 2005, will be the CEO of DPG (Ningbo). The company will keep the full product line offered by the JV, as well as 12 support/service centers located along the east coast and in the south of China, including Hong Kong. Demag says that more than 3500 machines with its brand are currently operating in China.—RN

While the traditional dragon danced . . .. . . Wittmann customers and suppliers checked things out.

DRAGON OPENS WITTMANN CHINESE PLANT
Automation and auxiliaries supplier Wittmann officially opened a 5000m2 (54,000-ft2) Chinese automation and auxiliary equipment manufacturing facility, assisted by 300 guests, including local and regional government officials, customers, suppliers, and the traditional Dragon Dance and fireworks.

Located in Kunshan, about 25 miles northwest of Shanghai, the plant began production in April 2005 with three-axis servo robots and single-axis motor robots to support what the company terms rapidly growing demand. Mold TCU production began later, followed by press-side granulators. Dryer production is set to start in mid-2006.

Company head Werner Wittmann says local production means faster delivery that improves market service, plus it supports parts and service in China and the region. Wittmann says the $6 million investment underscores the company’s commitment to its global customer base as it spreads out in the Asian molding markets for autos, telectronics, and consumer products.—RN

10,000 MACHINES IN ONE YEAR
It sounds incredible, but Haas Automation built and shipped more than 10,000 CNC machines at its facility in Oxnard, CA in 2005, an increase of more than 22% over 2004 and more than 200% over 2003.

“I know of no other machine tool builder in the world that has done this,” says Bob Murray, GM. And if this weren’t enough, Haas built them during a period of plant restructuring and expansion.

Increasing production by 200% over just two years has required a lot of hard work from a lot of people, according to director of operations Richard Mountain.

“People have always worked hard at Haas, and that’s not going to change,” he says. “We are constantly implementing more and more technology, and continually reviewing our processes. . . . It’s about innovation.”

Global sales of Haas machines continue to remain strong, with no slowdown in sight, according to the company. Traditionally a slow sales month in the machine tool industry, December 2005 orders topped 1000 machines—the best December in Haas’s history and the third time in 12 months that orders for its machines broke the 1000-machine barrier.—CK

SHOP TALK
After Jens Duerr of Duerr Inc. (“My Three Cents”) told me why they love their material handling system, we started to catch up after the few years that had passed since our last meeting. Within three breaths Jens mentioned (casually, I’d say) that Duerr Inc. now has a shop in south Texas, following a good customer moving its assembly ops there, and . . . Duerr’s doing business in China, too. Say what? “When we saw globalization and China becoming big factors, we . . . decided we couldn’t sit and whine about it—we had to do something. So now we can talk intelligently with clients about doing business in China.” And how is that? “Well, it’s not casual; it’s a full body commitment.”—RN

NPE NEWS

Biopolymers
If you’re looking for an excuse to go to Chicago early for NPE 2006, the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) is offering something that just might do the trick. With the burgeoning biopolymers market attracting so much attention, SPI will host the International Degradable Plastics Symposium: Status of Biobased & Synthetic Polymer Technology, June 14-17 in Chicago, just prior to NPE itself.

Presentations at the symposium will cover technology, markets, applications, and legal and regulatory issues. Topics anticipated include biobased nanocomposites, new and emerging markets and applications, processing of biobased polymers and plastics, degradable plastics terminology and standards, natural fiber composites, protein-based materials, regulatory and ecological issues, and vegetable oil polymers and composites.

The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel adjacent to McCormick Place, which will host NPE 2006 the following week (June 19-23). Cosponsors of the symposium with the SPI are the BioEnvironmental Polymer Society and the Ninth World Conference on Biodegradable Polymers & Plastics.

For more information, contact Nancy Jones at the SPI, (202) 974-5267 or [email protected].—JS

Emerging technologies
Four technologies that promise to figure prominently in the future of plastics—nanotechnology, bioplastics, energy efficiency, and recycling—will be the feature of the New Technology Pavilion at NPE 2006 (www.npe.org), according to the SPI. Located in the South Hall of McCormick Place, the pavilion will contain exhibits by companies and technical organizations, including some companies that also operate exhibits elsewhere in the show. Each of the first four days of NPE 2006 will be devoted to presentations on one of the pavilion’s themes.—MM

Visas, not credit
If you hold a passport from one of 27 countries with which the United States has a visa waiver agreement, then you don’t need to worry about getting a visa when planning your trip to NPE 2006. But if your country is not on the visa waiver list, now is the time to start applying for a visa.

SPI offers some online tools at www.npe.org/international:
• A downloadable document that gives advice on applying for a visa and preparing for an interview by a consular officer in your country.
• Detailed contact information, including e-mail links, for U.S. diplomatic and commercial officers in more than 100 countries.
• Contact information for organizers of several visitor delegations from numerous countries.
• A link to the U.S. State Dept. website (travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html), which provides important information for visa applicants.—JS

MICRO SHOTS

Chinese JV for Applied Tech Product

Applied Tech Product’s Engineered Rubber & Plastics Group (Radnor, PA), a precision custom molder of plastic and rubber, has formed a joint venture with Hopeful Rubber Group (Hong Kong). ATP-Hopeful Rubber Co. Ltd., ATP’s second Chinese JV this year, will extend ATP’s full-service capabilities into both countries. Hopeful Rubber reportedly has experience in LSR molding and moldmaking. Its marketing will be handled by ATP-ERPG’s North American sales force.—CK

Husky hot runners in Brazil

Hot runner manufacturing has been added by Husky IMS Ltd. (Bolton, ON) to its Brazil Technical Center in São Paulo to provided dedicated support to local molders and moldmakers who are supporting a growing local business.—CK

Nypro acquires rest of joint venture

Fifty years old, with $957 million in sales, one of the largest U.S. employee-owned companies Nypro Inc. (Clinton, MA) has acquired the remaining half of a former JV, DJ/Nypro, which has facilities in Louisville and Hazard, KY and El Paso, TX.—CK

Edson earns SPE leadership award

Tom Edson, director of applied material and manufacturing technology, advanced vehicle engineering at DaimlerChrysler, was the recipient of the SPE Automotive Div.’s executive leadership award in November at its 35th annual Innovations Awards Gala in Livonia, MI (www.speautomotive.com). He got the award for helping to advance the use of new polymeric materials in automotive applications. This year’s lifetime achievement award winner was Shigeki Suzuki, GM of the materials engineering division of Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp.—CK

Xaloy expands

Front-end components supplier Xaloy Inc. (New Castle, PA) has opened new sales and service offices near Darmstadt, Germany; Shanghai, China; and Ahmedabad, India.—CK

SPI names Bishop VP of trade shows

Walt Bishop has been promoted to VP of trade shows by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), replacing recently retired Jordan L. Morgenstern. In 20 years with SPI, Bishop has worked with machinery and material suppliers, moldmakers, and processors, and for the past two years has headed up international development for NPE 2006.—RN

Synventive receives supplier award

Hot runner systems supplier Synventive Molding Solutions (Peabody, MA) received the “Tooling Supplier of the Year” award from auto interior supplier Intier Automotive, a Magna Div. (Nashville, IL), for its on-time deliveries and for the 17 million molded parts its systems ran without a single lost-time event.—CK

DuPont tech center opens in Shanghai, plant to close in Kentucky

DuPont Performance Elastomers (DPE) has opened a new Technical Center in Zhangjiang High-tech Park, Pudong, Shanghai, to support its customers in the fast-growing Chinese market. Located at the new DuPont China Research & Development Center, the company’s latest full-service laboratory adds to its established Technical Centers in Akron, OH; Yokohama and Utsunomiya, Japan; and Meyrin, Switzerland. This announcement came shortly after DPE confirmed it would shut down its neoprene manufacturing plant in Louisville, KY by December 2006, even though there is a worldwide shortage of neoprene.—MM

DSM sells PP business to Fiberfil

Fiberfil Engineered Plastics Inc. (Stoney Creek, ON) and DSM Engineering Plastics (Americas) (Evansville, IN) reached a definitive agreement in December in which Fiberfil will purchase the North American custom compounding polypropylene business of DSM. The sale will include DSM’s manufacturing site in Stoney Creek. “The sale of its polypropylene compound business is another step in DSM Engineering Plastics’ global strategy to focus on core thermoplastic resins, specifically nylon 6, nylon 46, copolyester elastomers, and specialized nylon 66 compounds,” says Auke Rottier, president of DSM Engineering Plastics (Americas).—MM

MIM memos

A leading manufacturer of high-temperature laboratory and production batch furnaces for metal injection molding (MIM) and other processes, CM Furnaces Inc. (Bloomfield, NJ), is celebrating its 60th year in business. It shipped its 4000th furnace in 2005. Jim Neill, VP of sales and marketing, says MIM is showing more growth these days than more traditional powder metallurgy processes. Also making news is MIM molder Pacific Sintered Metals (Los Angeles, CA). It’s changed the name of its parent corporation to PSM Industries.—CK

Award-winning IT

The Mold-Masters Business Intelligence (MMBI) initiative, developed by hot runner systems supplier Mold-Masters Ltd. (Georgetown, ON), was selected as one of InfoWorld magazine’s 100 Best Projects of 2005, the highest honor the magazine awards. It honors IT projects that demonstrate the most creative use of cutting-edge technologies to further an organization’s business goals. MMBI combines data from a variety of IT programs into standardized reports that let Mold-Masters’ manufacturing, finance, and sales groups make better decisions faster.—CK

Polymer Solutions expands

Analytical services provider Polymer Solutions Inc. (Blacksburg, VA) plans a $2.2 million expansion to accommodate growth. It’s building a 20,000-ft2 multistory facility to serve as corporate HQ and to house analytical instrumentation and labs. It also plans to increase staffing by 40%.—CK

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