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Tire recycler buys composite roofing producer...

Tire recycler buys composite roofing producer

Composite roofing manufacturer Wellington Polymer Technology Inc. (Chatham, ON) has been purchased by Unisphere Waste Conversion Ltd. of Toronto, a vertically integrated recycler of tires and environmental solutions provider.

In order to finance the acquisition, Unisphere completed a private placement of $11 million secured convertible debentures. The money was earmarked for the acquisition, to pay down some Wellington Polymer debt, to provide working capital, and to add a second production line for Wellington Polymer’s plastic-natural fibre composite roofing product, called Enviroshake.

Enviroshake mimics cedar shakes, and is produced by extrusion and compression molding. The formulation also incorporates tire-derived rubber. According to Unishpere, the demand for Enviroshake currently exceeds supply. The product has been introduced to over 20 states in the U.S.

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Unisphere states that the acquisition will strengthen its position as a leader in the remediation and conversion of used tires through the manufacture of products such as roofing materials, shoe soles, commercial and industrial mat and floor tiles, crumb rubber and tire-derived fuel.

It’s a go for new Maritime’s gas/petrochemical plant

Halifax-based Keltic Petrochemicals Inc. has commenced front-end engineering and design work for a US$3.3 billion integrated petrochemical and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Goldboro, NS. Keltic announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Stone & Webster, Inc. to provide engineering and design services for the project.

Keltic’s integrated project consists of a world-class petrochemical plant, an LNG regasification receiving terminal and gas storage facility, demethanizing units, power and steam co-generation up to 200 MW, and related utility and offsite infrastructure and systems. The LNG facility will provide feedstock to the petrochemical plant and natural gas to the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline system. The project has been in development for four years and is now in the environmental permitting stage. Keltic is raising second-round equity for the project and expects to commence construction by mid 2005.

Plastic exhibit opens in Toronto

Canada’s design museum, the Design Exchange (DX), is presenting a new exhibit that will explore the role of plastics from a historical, cultural and industrial perspective. The exhibit will investigate the ways in which plastic has revolutionized design, and survey the course of plastics in a wide range of industrial applications such as healthcare, furniture, fashion, space and construction.

The exhibit, titled PLASTIC, will also show the way pop culture has celebrated plastic itself, a material sometimes scorned as “cheap”, but in fact internationally beloved by designers such as Karim Rashid. The DX, based in Toronto, has consulted with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association and formed a Plastic Industry Advisory Committee to ensure the topicality of the content. The lead sponsor of the program is Decoma International. The exhibit opened to the public on Sept. 22 and will run until February 15, 2005. The DX is located at 234 Bay St., in downtown Toronto.

Titan Group inks joint venture with China firm

Custom injection molder Titan Plastics Group has announced a joint venture with a Chinese company to manufacture automotive and appliance components in China. Titan has entered into the agreement with Elec-Tech International, of Zhuhai, China, to create Titan-ETI. The joint venture will allow the companies to capitalize on Elec-Tech’s diversified manufacturing base and Titan’s marketing, product development and manufacturing management capabilities.

Titan is one of the 30 largest custom injection molders in North America, with nine facilities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Titan Canada’s injection molding plant is based in Brampton, ON. The plant has 41 injection molding machines ranging from 40 to 390 tons in clamping force.

ATS Automation bags big order

Cambridge, ON-based ATS Automation Systems Inc. has recently received $20.3 million in orders to design and build a number of fully-integrated, automated manufacturing lines for a major supplier of flat panel display materials.

The systems are scheduled to be built and delivered to the customer’s production plants in Asia in stages over the next 11 months. ATS has built similar systems for the same customer in the past. Some of the systems will incorporate enhanced vision inspection technology, developed by ATS, to achieve higher inspection rates and enhanced yields.

The order was secured by the company’s US West Coast operations. ATS will primarily use the resources of its US West Coast and Asian operations to build these systems under contract. Based on discussions with the customer, ATS believes there is potential for significant follow-on orders.

Magna chooses ex-GM executive as president

Confirming industry speculation, auto parts supplier Magna International (Aurora, ON) has announced Mark Hogan is the company’s new president. Hogan was most recently General Motors’ group vice-president for advanced vehicle development. His career has also included assignments as president of GM do Brazil and president of e-GM.

“In my new position at Magna, I intend to advance Magna’s unique role as the world’s most diversified Tier One supplier of automotive systems,” says Hogan.

Magna has approximately 77,000 employees in 22 countries.

Producer doubles EVOH capacity to meet rising demand

EVAL Company of America (Houston, TX) will double its production of ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH) resin, increasing its capacity by 53 million pounds. The expansion is said to be in response to strong demand for EVOH. According to the company, demand for EVOH is rising at a rate of 10% or more per year.

The expansion of EVAL’s Texas facility is expected to be complete in March 2006, bringing total production capacity to 104 million pounds per year.

EVAL says its EVOH has superior gas barrier properties, and has applications in food packaging and automotive fuel tanks.

Bottle recovery and recycling data available

A new report commissioned by the Environment and Plastics Industry Council (EPIC) provides a detailed overview of plastic bottle recovery and recycling rates in Canada. Key findings from the report show that the recovery rate for plastic beverage and non-beverage bottles is 36%. For beverage bottles only, the recovery rate is 48%.

The report shows that those provinces with a deposit-return system account for the greatest percentage of recovered beverage bottles. The average recovery rate for beverage bottles in deposit-return programs is 75%, while the average in non-deposit programs is 33%.

One of the contributing factors for this could be the fact that an estimated 63% of all PET beverage containers are generated “away-from-home.”

The report also highlights the fact that only 22% of non-beverage PET and HDPE bottles were recovered and recycled in 2002.

Good news — the recovery rate for HDPE milk jugs varies from 38 to 63% in those provinces that monitor milk jug recovery. This works out to an overall milk jug recovery rate of 50%. Similarly, recovery rates for plastic motor oil bottles vary from 18 to 45% in western provinces, where programs exist.

The report, entitled “An Overview of Plastic Bottle Recycling in Canada” is available free of charge and is posted under the “Reports & Technical Material” of the “Publications” section of the EPIC web site, www.plastics.ca/epic.

Gram expands into U.S.

Gram Technology, a Danish-based engineering firm that supplies patented technology to the injection molding industry, has opened a U.S. office in order to support an expended sales/marketing effort in North America. The new office will be located in Scottsdale, AZ.

Gram’s Spin Stack technology eliminates the use of turntables and features rotating segments inside the tools. Rather than just using
half of the available mold surface, Spin Stack doubles the output by adding four identical sets of cores and/or cavities. All four sides of the Spin Stack can be used for molding, cooling or post-molding operations such as film or textile insert, welding, printing or painting.

Several U.S.-based contract manufacturers have signed licensing agreements with Gram for use of the company’s technology in multi-component molding and in-mold assembly.

Made2Manage Systems buys into plastics ERP market

Made2Manage Systems Inc., a provider of enterprise software and services for small and midsize manufacturers, has purchased DTR Software International. DTR’s signature product, The Manufacturing Manager, or TMM, will be re-branded as a Made2Manage Systems product in the future, but it will be both maintained and enhanced as a separate version of the Made2Manage(r) Enterprise Business System.

Made2Manage Systems has committed to supporting and enhancing the DTR product line rather than require existing DTR customers to migrate to a Made2Manage product. Under the terms of the agreement, DTR operations will be folded into Made2Manage Systems. Many former employees of DTR have joined the organization.

Rigid food packaging: high growth predicted

The North American market for plastic rigid food packaging is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.8% through 2008, according to a report from Business Communications Company, Inc. (Norwalk, CT). The total market is expected to grow to 13.6 billion lb. in 2008, up from 10.3 billion lb. in 2003.

PET, the most widely-used resin, is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 6.4%; while polypropylene is predicted to grow at 7.3%. Polycarbonate, while representing the smallest segment of rigid food packaging resins, will see the highest growth, reaching 100 million lb. in 2008. New technologies, especially in the areas of barrier bottles and dual-ovenable packaging, is driving much of this growth.

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