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Dart Container Corp. to acquire Solo Cup Co.

Foam cup manufacturer Dart Container Corp. will acquire Solo Cup Co. in a transaction valued at approximately $1 billion.

Both companies are in the consumer and foodservice disposable packaging business.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by the third quarter of this year. The two companies will continue to operate independently until government approval is secured and the transaction closes.

The integrated organization will be a private company known as Dart Container Corp. Dart expects to continue offering products under the Solo brand—including the iconic red Solo cup, according to the news release.

Dart Container Corp. manufactures more than 600 products and has facilities throughout the U.S. and in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, and the United Kingdom. It also has UV-curable ink manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, and polymer production facilities.

"Our acquisition of Solo will allow us to provide even greater value to our customers in the future," stated Robert C. Dart, CEO of Dart Container, in a news release. "It will enable customers to purchase a wider range of products, made from a greater variety of materials with varying functional and environmental attributes -- all from a single vendor. Both companies have an extensive history in the industry and will bring together valuable experience, traditions, and complementary, high-quality products."

Solo is majority-owned by the family of its founder, Leo J. Hulseman, and is also a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners IV, L.P. Dart Container is a privately-owned company founded by William A. Dart.

"Solo has made great strides over the past several years in improving its operating efficiency, information systems and the caliber of the talent within the organization," said Robert M. Korzenski, CEO of Solo Cup. "Dart's leadership team has shown a high level of respect for what Solo has accomplished and I believe we are putting the company in the right hands to succeed and grow going forward."

Dow to launch multiple products at NPE2012

The Dow Chemical Company will launch multiple products at NPE2012, including new resins at nine different locations on the show floor.

Dow is also the exclusive corporate sponsor of the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) Antec 2012 technical conference, co-located with NPE2012, where Dow will present 14 technical papers on a broad range of industry topics. Dow also extends its corporate commitment to scientific advancement and research with its sponsorship of the NPE2012 Technical Education Program and Technology Central.

Several Dow products being showcased at NPE2012 include:         

• Dow Performance Packaging: Elite advanced technology (AT) polyethylene resins are a new family of resins offering enhanced sealing, processability and consistency, particularly with resin function in high performance sealant film, stretch wrap film and stretch hood film applications, the company stated.


• Dow Performance Packaging: Enlight polyolefin encapsulant films designed to extend the life of solar panels.


• Dow Hygiene & Medical: Rhoplex Econext ultra-low formaldehyde binders can help companies make end-use nonwoven products with undetectable levels of formaldehyde that meet new federal OSHA PEL standards.


• Dow Elastomers: Engage XLT polyolefin elastomer for TPO’s used for automotive interior and exterior components. It offers higher TPO stiffness and has shown to help reduce the total weight of a part up to as much as 10%.


• Dow Electrical & Telecommunications: Dow Ecolibrium biobased plasticizers, produced from virtually 100% renewable resources, can be used in flexible vinyl compounds that may help cable makers and durable goods original equipment manufacturers reduce their carbon footprint (based on LCA testing) and can potentially contribute toward LEED credits subject to verification by the U.S. Green Council Ratings.

“Our participation in industry events, such as NPE2012, reflects the great value we place in supporting our industry, collaborating with our customers and the value chain, and in our ongoing investment in innovation and new product development,” stated Mauro Gregorio, commercial vp, performance plastics at Dow. “We’ll be demonstrating our dedication to our customers through a personalized and collaborative effort at NPE this year.”

For more information about Dow’s presence at NPE2012, visit www.dow.com/NPE2012
 

Milacron to showcase all-electric injection molding machine

Milacron will set up shop at NPE2012 with a self-contained packaging cell featuring its PowerPAK all-electric injection molding machine at booth (#2803).

Visitors can watch the 550-ton PowerPAK achieve a near 5-second cycle time as it molds, the company stated. Container lids are from RP250 35 MFR polypropylene material supplied by Braskem, and ClearTint color from Milliken.

System features include:

• StackTech 2x4, 8-cavity stack mold

• High-speed, telescoping, side-entry CBW robot

• Milacron chiller and loader

"Spotlighting the PowerPAK model, with live automation fully integrated into the machine's Mosaic control, will demonstrate the machine's incredible high-speed capabilities," stated Eric Thompson, electric platform product manager at Milacron, in the news release. "It's one of the only all-electric injection molding models that runs just as fast as a hybrid."

The PowerPAK, now available with clamping forces from 440 to 1,125 tons, has a selectable axis configuration (SAC) with an option of all-electric on all four machine axes (clamp, injection, ejection, extruder), or as a combination of the ejector or injection axes as hydraulic. The clamp and extruder remain "all-electric" on all model configurations.

The machine's speed is a result of several standard features including an electric toggle with rack and pinion direct-drive clamps, linear low-friction bearings, and a patented two-stage electric injection.

Additional features include high-volume air, water and hydraulics supplied to convenient locations on stationary and moving platens for easy hookup to the stack mold, and easy top or side-entry automation access for high-speed part removal or in-mold labeling (IML) applications, the company stated.


In addition to demonstrations at Booth #2803, Milacron will be presenting as part of the NPE Business of Plastics conference on sustainable injection molding, including solutions such as PowerPAK. The presentation is scheduled for 12-1 p.m. Wednesday, April 4 in the South Hall, Level 2, Room S210A.
 

USDA BioPreferred label program growing among packaging industry

There is a plethora of labeling claims in the marketplace. However, not all labels receive the support of the Oval Office.

President Obama recently issued a memorandum calling for the expansion of the USDA BioPreferred program, which includes the UDSA's voluntary product certification and labeling program, and greater adoption of the program by federal agencies.

The BioPreferred label designates products that are composed wholly or significantly of renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. The President has directed federal agencies to report on their purchases of BioPreferred certified products and asked the USDA to double the number of categories and products that are designated BioPreferred over the next 12 months.

The BioPreferred program, established by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and strengthened by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, is intended to increase Federal procurement of biobased products to promote rural economic development, create new jobs, and provide new markets for farm commodities.

Last year, the BioPreferred program launched a voluntary labeling initiative for the broad-scale marketing of biobased products. To qualify for the designation, an item must contain enough renewable material to meet or exceed the USDA-specified standards.

The USDA evaluates each application to determine if the product meets the certification criteria, and a sample of the product must be tested for biobased content. Once certified, the product can use the USDA certified biobased product label.

Categories for these preferred products include disposable tableware (minimum biobased content 72%) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam recycling products (minimum bio-based content 90%).

Kate Lewis, deputy program manager for BioPreferred, told PlasticsToday chemical companies that make biopolymers for packaging, as well as brand owners, have expressed a considerable amount of interest in pursuing certification.

Since launching the labeling initiative, the program has received more than 1,000 applications, and certified more than 500 products. About 10% certified consisted of biobased packaging.

"We have had nice interest in the packaging industry and I think it dovetails what is going on with the industry and the growth in bioplastics," she said. "I think packaging is the latest sector where consumers are looking for sustainable products."

Research conducted last year by Genencor, now part of DuPont Industrial Biosciences, found that eight in 10 American consumers would definitely or likely purchase biobased household products if comparable on cost and effectiveness. In a survey of 800 of its business customers in 2011, DuPont found that nearly 90% said delivering products with environmental benefits is a long-term market opportunity.

With the high demand for bioplastics, the BioPreferred program can open up additional opportunities for the industry, said Rina Singh, policy director, science and renewable chemicals, industrial biotechnology and environmental section for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

She said if companies are developing bioplastics, they should get the BioPreferred certification.

"If they are producing it, they should get their plastics testing for bio-content and put it on the market with the USDA label," she said. "If they are not playing in the biobased or renewable chemical space, they should look into it."

Medical Musings: We need calmer voices on healthcare reform

In a more nuanced manifestation of the issue, the Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, issued results of a survey this week to support its position against any weakening of regulations covering medical device safety. A story on PR Newswire starts with this lead: "A new Consumer Reports poll shows overwhelming public support for strong medical device safety oversight."

New legislation under consideration in the House and Senate of the U.S. Congress would weaken device safety oversight, and should be rejected, according to Consumers Union.

"Recent problems with metal hip implants and surgical mesh have shown how our current system fails to ensure medical devices are safe and effective," said Lisa Swirsky, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union. "Unfortunately, the House bill weakens current standards to speed up device approvals rather than improving safety oversight. The Senate bill offers some improvements but it should be strengthened to require stricter safety testing of new implants and life sustaining devices. Congress should recognize that the public is far more concerned about making sure devices are safe and work than how quickly they are made available."

For its part, the medical device industry feels it is overburdened by regulations in the United States, and points to the fact that most new devices and approaches need to go to Europe for testing. Europeans and other foreign nationals have the benefit of the latest new technologies years before they are approved for use in the United States. Many Americans, desperate for treatment, seek care overseas—often with technology developed in the United States.

According to the Consumers Union, most medical devices do not require proof that they have been clinically tested and determined safe prior to being cleared by the FDA for distribution or sale. In an effort to keep red tape to a minimum, the FDA determines if the device is similar to one already on the market. That's a problem for the Consumer's Union, which wants the draft legislation to make changes.

In its poll results, 71% of the respondents said that a new device should not be allowed to be sold based on its similarity to an existing implant that has a safety problem or has been recalled.

The Consumers Union also feels that (according to its poll):

  • Medical device makers should be required to do long-term monitoring of implants if there are safety concerns or problems.
  • Consumer protections for medical implants should include a nationwide system for tracking medical implants so patients can be notified about safety problems or recalls.
  • Recommendations made by expert committees that included doctors who had current financial relationships with medical device makers need to be monitored. The Senate and House drafts remove current caps on the percentage of expert committee members that can be granted waivers if they have a conflict of interest.

"Our poll shows that Americans support common sense reforms that would help improve medical device oversight and keep patients safe," said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union's Safe Patient Project. "The vast majority of the public wants strict requirements that ensure new implants are safe and effective."

Consumers Union runs a Web site called SafePatientProject.org. A headline on the landing page proclaims: "Medical devices should not be ticking time bombs!" It's followed by this commentary: "We shouldn't be used as guinea pigs when it comes to something as serious as a medical implant. Yet every day, Americans are finding out that the medical device they are using to improve their health may actually cause serious harm, permanent disability or death!"

Now I like Consumer Reports, and check their ratings on cars and refrigerators. I have a knee implant, and I did not check the Consumer Reports Web sites for customer satisfaction with the devices that are available.

I agree that improvement is possible, and certainly more transparency from the medical community is in order. Some of the suggestions for the draft medical device legislation make sense. But after a glance at SafePatientProject.org, it appears that Consumer Reports and its lobbying arm may be sensationalizing this issue in an effort to get members and financial support.

We definitely do not need more rhetorical excesses on national public health policy. And certainly not from an organization as outstanding as Consumer Reports.

Carbon fiber composites application center to open in Auburn Hills

Teijin Limited (Tokyo) will inaugurate its Teijin Composites Application Center (TCAC) in Auburn Hills, MI, on April 1. The technical center will develop automotive and other industrial applications for carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) composite products.

teijin

Teijin tech center in Michigan targets auto developments.

TCAC is part of Teijin Advanced Composites America Inc. (TACA), a company Teijin established in December 2011 to conduct marketing and develop applications for CFRTP composite products. TACA is in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of Teijin Holdings USA, Inc., the Teijin Group's holding company in the United States.

Teijin's CFRTP composite business is centered on its innovative technology for high volume production of CFRTP components with cycle times of less than a minute, a breakthrough that overcomes one of the biggest challenges in the automotive industry and represents a long stride towards the increasing usage of carbon fiber in automobiles and other products.

In December Teijin signed an agreement with General Motors to co-develop advanced carbon fiber composite technologies for potential high-volume use in GM cars, trucks and crossovers. This co-development will take place at TCAC.

The opening of TCAC marks another milestone in Teijin's global expansion of its carbon fiber composite business. Teijin will continue to develop markets as a global leader in the field of carbon fiber composite products, aiming at annual sales of 150 to 200 billion yen ($1.8-2.4 billion) by around 2020.-[email protected]

BMB to demonstrate its “true” hybrid electric injection molding machine

BMB-Spa will unveil its "true” hybrid electric injection molding machine to the U.S. market at NPE2012 (booth #323).

BMB will be running a 550-ton high-speed manufacturing cell, producing an ultra thin food container on a (2x8) 16-cavity stack mold, a 16-oz container mold from StackTeck Systems, and a Zubler take out and stacking automation system, the company stated.

BMB's "true” hybrid is an all-electric machine with a hydraulic accumulated injection assist. All other movements are fully electric, and savings in power consumption can range as high as 50% or more in some applications.

The machine utilizes a patented toggle system that offers platen parallelism, no deflection, and increased strokes and shut heights.

"The machine is 100% electric with only the accumulated injection being hydraulic. This allows us to significantly reduce power consumption with no sacrifice of injection speed, capacity, and accuracy, " stated Marco Bugatti, CEO of BMB, in the press release. "More importantly, the design is proven in many applications throughout our existing markets and we are now ready to bring this technology to America."

BMB had a small exhibit at NPE2009, but at the time the company lacked the infrastructure to properly pursue the U.S. and Canada markets, David Brown, director at International Packaging Solutions Group (IPSG), told PlasticsToday.

“However, during that show, discussions were held with our company for us to work with BMB and assist in that development,” he said.

BMB now works with IPSG on its sales and service initiative in the U.S. and Canada.

Brown said there are no plans for BMB to establish an operation in the U.S. other than the services provided by IPSG.

“BMB is focused on superior technology and development while manufacturing a machine that can compete on performance with the best in the world. However, they also want to remain price competitive,” he said. “This model has worked extremely well throughout their existing markets while allowing them to minimize overheads and invest in technology.”

BMB, a family-owned business, has been producing machines for more than 40 years. BMB's line of machines includes hybrid machines, hydraulic machines, and all-electric machines.

Recycling operators receive grants for thermoformed PET packaging programs

Three U.S. recycling operators have been selected to receive grants toward establishing model programs for collection and intermediate processing of PET thermoformed packaging.

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI) and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) are working in partnership on the grant: SPI providing $100,000 in program funding, and NAPCOR providing project management and technical assistance.

Primary grantee Montgomery County, Department of Environmental Protection in Maryland owns, manages, and operates comprehensive recycling programs and facilities, including its 57,000 square-foot publicly owned and operated Recycling Center, serving more than 1.5 million county residents, employees, and visitors. The program is expected to provide a solid urban and suburban model program, offering both an immediate and a long-term impact on the recycling of PET thermoforms.

Firstar Fiber Inc serves about 1 million residents in the Omaha and Lincoln metropolitan regions, central and northeastern communities of Nebraska; and the Sioux City, Woodbury County, and western regions of Iowa. Its PET thermoform collection efforts will focused on residential and away-from home programs, including sporting event education and collection at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center Inc. serves the 165,000 residents of Elk and Lebanon Counties, and will focus on end market development, intermediate processing for material quality beneficiation, and modeling of rural PET thermoform collection.

The grant program, announced in July 2011, was open to any U.S. recycling program operator that provides or contracts for the full scope of program services, from consumer education to the marketing of material, and that can affect the implementation of a program across all areas, according to the news release.

Thirteen proposals were received in response to the RFP, which focused exclusively on PET thermoformed packaging, including clamshells, cups, trays, boxes and lids, all made from PET sheet and labeled with the #1 resin code.

"We are extremely pleased by the selection of three such high-caliber operations to receive the grant funding. This program marks an important milestone toward keeping thermoform packaging out of landfills and making the recycling of them commonplace," SPI president and CEO Bill Carteaux stated in the news release. "The diversity of these three grant recipients enables us to provide models for public and private operations, as well as for both metropolitan and rural areas."

New medical extruder will debut at NPE2012

A new ownership group at Davis-Standard will show a significant equipment lineup at NPE 2012, including a controller and compact extruder targeting medical applications.

Features of the new DS-eVUE controller include a solid-state hard drive, a 15-inch (381mm) wide-screen HMI (human machine interface); a temperature auto-tuning option; an FDA-21 Part 11 ready for medical systems; and an optional wireless LAN connection. The hard drive has flexible mounting options.

The new controller is available on Davis-Standard's new direct drive medical (MEDD) extruder, which has a direct drive motor to improve energy efficiency.

Davis-Standard shows new controller, medical extruder at NPE

 Davis-Standard (Pawcatuck, CT) is showing a newly developed mid-range controller called the DS-eVUE at NPE2012 (Orlando, FL; April 1-5).

Features include a solid-state hard drive, a 15-inch (381mm) wide-screen HMI (human machine interface); a temperature auto-tuning option; an FDA-21 Part 11 ready for medical systems; and an optional wireless LAN

The DS-eVue, a new mid-range controller, is shown on Davis-Standard's new direct drive medical (MEDD) extruder.
connection. The hard drive has flexible mounting options.

The new controller is available on Davis-Standard's new direct drive medical (MEDD) extruder, which will also be shown at NPE2012. This compact extruder has a direct drive motor to improve energy efficiency. Advantages include linear movement, a replaceable feed section liner, and a Windows 7 PLC control system. The MEDD has interchangeable 1-inch (25mm) 24:1 L/D to ¾-inch (19mm) 24:1 L/D barrel assemblies for material versatility.

The new controller replaces the MESA III and its HMI systems. It may also be used by customers who had the Harrel Tubetrol controller. Davis-Standard said it will continue to service older controllers subject to availability, but the DS-eVUE will now be the standard mid-range option.

"As with the MESA, the DS-eVUE combines affordability with full process control for lines with one or two extruders," said John Clemens, electrical engineering manager for Davis-Standard Extrusion Systems. "This system allows the operator to make set-point changes, monitor line status, create and download recipes, and conduct supervisory functions such as trending and reporting. The solid state hard drive and FDA-21 Part 11 upgrades are significant advantages with this new controller."

The DS-eVUE uses the Microsoft Windows operating system with an anti-virus program, zip program and PLC interface program as needed, and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) software. Davis-Standard offers customized applications program for controlling and monitoring the extrusion process.

In another improvement, Davis-Standard said that the DS-eVUE has an increased data tag count, enabling it to control larger systems than the MESA. Other features include a graphic overview, reports, trending, event log and data collection, a Web interface for two concurrent users, remote diagnostic capabilities, multi-level programmable security and e-mail notifications.

NPE2012 will be David-Standard's first major show under a new ownership group. On Dec. 23, 2011, ONCAP, a mid-market private equity platform based in Toronto, acquired Davis-Standard, LLC from stockholders represented by Hamilton Robinson, LLC, including Davis-Standard management shareholders. ONCAP is part of Onex, which manages approximately $14 billion, of which $9 billion is third-party capital.