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Converting Industry News

Covering the Full Spectrum of Industry News, Events & Activities

Consolidation
Sonoco to Consolidate Some Operations
HARTSVILLE, SC, USA—Sonoco will close its bag plant in Santa Maria, CA, and consolidate those operations into lower-cost facilities. The closure is expected by late June 2002. Customers previously served from this plant now will be served from the co.'s continuing operations at Victoria, TX; North Vernon, IN; Mt. Olive, NC; Milesburg, PA; and Hartsville.


Agreement
Bruno to Distribute for Chiesa Artorige
TROY, NY, USA—Bruno Machinery Corp. has signed an agreement with Chiesa Artorige SL, Vigevano, Italy, to be its exclusive US distributor.

The agreement provides Bruno with a complete line of die-cutting presses. Chiesa manufactures clicker, receding head, traveling head (with or without CNC controls), and hydraulic belt feed presses, as well as a line of waterjets. This equipment complements Bruno's existing line of die-cutters ranging from 20-4,000 tons.


Quality Audit Results in Dot Gain Reduction
The production team at folding carton converter Riverwood International noticed a print quality problem on its six- and seven-color presses. Upon investigation, prepress coordinator Randall Johnston learned dot gain had increased to 38%. The company turned to Flint Ink's Packaging Group, which initiated its Intelli-Print Quality Audit.

The audit is said to establish a performance baseline using a digital test form and reveals the smallest variations from industry standards, identified precisely where they occur. The audit revealed the illumination lamps had aged and the exposure times on the platemaking unit were excessive, resulting in a dot growth of 8%-13% from film to plate.

Johnston says, “Flint Ink's Packaging Group produced a compelling side-by-side comparison of photo micrographic images generated from the audit. They clearly showed the difference in dot structure pattern between the old and new lamps and exposure times.” Riverwood was able to produce a significant negative-to-plate dot gain reduction of 10%, complying with industry standards.

Johnston adds, “The Intelli-Print audit was the most cost-effective quality management tool we've ever implemented. It allows us to precisely measure and compare each of our production processes against an industry standard so we can produce the best negatives, plates, and print possible.”
Supplier Information
Flint Ink
, Ann Arbor, MI; 734/622-6362; flintink.com


Industry Studies
Emulsion Polymer Study Forecasts Growth
CLEVELAND, OH, USA—Worldwide demand for emulsion polymers is expected to increase 4.5%/yr to 9.9 metric tons by 2005 as the emulsion market continues to outpace growth in the global economy. Market value for emulsion polymers is forecast to rise more than 6%/yr to more than $20 billion, benefiting from shifts in product mix toward higher priced emulsions, particularly acrylics. These are among the findings presented in World Emulsion Polymers, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc.

The study adds the market for emulsion polymers is expanding in part due to their good environmental profile, since, as water-based materials, their use results in lower emissions of VOCs during cure. Emulsions also offer low cost, easier handling and cleanup, good adhesion, flexibility, and abrasion resistance, reports Freedonia.

Cost of the study is $4,600. For more information contact Freedonia at 440/684-9600; freedoniagroup.com.


Trade Show News
IPEX 2002 Inspires Optimistic Outlook
BIRMINGHAM, U.K.—With IPEX 2002 now past, exhibitors and attendees alike have breathed a sigh of relief. There were big expectations for the quadrennial event, held April 9-17 in Birmingham. While attendance for the show was about 25% less than the '98 edition, exhibitors displayed not only innovative products, but more importantly, a hopeful optimism that the world economy was making meaningful moves toward a healthy rebound.

Certainly, many of the some 1,200 exhibitors were pleased with the number of inquiries generated at the show, indicating converters are once again looking for equipment to satisfy increased production demands. Reportedly, Heidelberg (in a hall all to itself) signed an order every 6.6 min, and Agfa exceeded its sales targets of more than £20M. Exhibiting significant interest in vendors' new products were visitors from many international ports of call (representing 30% of the total visitors) but especially from Eastern Europe, Russia, China, and other Southeast Asian countries. As expected, attendance from the Americas and Africa was reduced.

At the close of the event on April 17, Picon and IIR Exhibitions announced a new president of IPEX 2006: Laurence Roberts, director of Graphic Systems for Agfa-Gevaert (UK) Ltd. Other notable announcements made at the show of an innovative nature included those from vendors that will be featured within these pages over the next few months. Highlights for converters will include products from the following vendors (in no particular order): basysPrint, Heidelberg, Esko-Graphics (formerly Barco Gaphics and Purup-Eskofot), MAN Roland, Agfa, Creo, Xerox, PrintCity, Xeikon, Screen, ScenicSoft, Artwork Systems, Körber PaperLink, KBA, Valmet, HP Indigo, dotrix, Dalim Software, AVT, Scitex Digital Printing, and Flint Ink.


Acquisitions
National Packaging Acquired by Interstate Resources
ROSSLYN, VA, USA—Interstate Resources Inc. (IRI) has acquired National Packaging Co. (NPC) of Trenton, NJ. NPC will be renamed Interstate Container Brunswick LLC (ICB). Reports Interstate Resources president Charles A. Feghali, “In 1996 Interstate embarked on a mission to expand our product offering and improve our services. These initiatives are consistent with our objectives.”

Included in the acquisition is an ownership interest in PhilCorr LLC, a Vineland, NJ, corrugated sheet feeder facility. ICB general manager Doug Russell will continue to direct this organization.

Yupo Buys Kimberly-Clark Business Units
CHESAPEAKE, VA, USA—Yupo Corp. of America has purchased the In-Mold Label and Non-Label Specialty Paper businesses from Kimberly-Clark Corp. Products formerly available under Kimberly-Clark's Kimdura brand will now be available under the YUPO brand synthetic paper.

This transaction follows Yupo's purchase of Kimberly-Clark's Direct Thermal paper business in December 2001.

GML Expands Capabilities thru Acquisition
ST. PAUL, MN, USA—GML Inc., a diversified printing and converting firm, has acquired the Specialty Converting Div. of Advanced Converting Technologies Inc.

Says GML president John Ledy, “[Advanced Converting] brings a specialized converting focus to our operations that expands the range of services now available to our customers.”

Adds Rock LaManna, founder and owner of Advanced Converting, “By joining forces with GML, we can now offer true one-stop converting services. We are positioned to work with customers from concept through production, distribution, and inventory management worldwide.” LaManna joins GML as project manager.

Advanced Converting specializes in slitting/rewinding films and foils, laminating, and die-cutting. GML has provided printing, plastics fabricating, and converting services since 1958.

ExxonMobil to Become Owner of AES
HOUSTON, TX, USA—ExxonMobil Chemical plans to become the owner of Advanced Elastomer Systems (AES) by acquiring Solutia Inc.'s 50% interest in AES.

ExxonMobil Chemical and Solutia have signed a binding contract for this acquisition subject to government reviews. Timing of the sale and terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

AES, formed in 1991 and headquartered in Akron, OH, is a limited partnership between ExxonMobil Chemical and Solutia. It has annual sales of approximately $300 million and employs about 700 people worldwide.

Possible Offer for Jefferson Smurfit
DUBLIN, IRELAND, & NEW YORK, NY, USA—Jefferson Smurfit Group plc reports it is aware of recent market speculation in connection with a possible offer for the company. Smurfit confirms it has received an approach from a third party. Discussions are at a preliminary stage and may or may not lead to an offer being made for part or all of the company. A further statement will be made when appropriate, the co. adds.


Keeping It Cool with Ice Pack
Graphic Packaging Corp., Golden, CO, has developed Ice Pack, a beverage carrier and self-contained ice cooler all-in-one.

Creating a carton that keeps melted ice contained inside was achieved via a unique packaging technology that combines a film barrier with special gusseted folds to seal the package interior.

Ice Pack enables beverage products to remain chilled for a day's use in an outdoor, sunny environment. After use, the carton is said to retain its structural integrity and easily carries the empty containers for recycling.

Reports Bill Minnich, marketing manager for Graphic Packaging, “Since the Ice Pack carton functions as a cooler, our customers can now offer additional value and convenience to consumers through the package, and the metallized look that we integrate into the process provides proven shelf differentiation at the point-of-sale.”


Opening
Cargill Dow Opens PLA Facility
BLAIR, NE, USA—Cargill Dow LLC announces the grand opening of what it describes as the world's first global-scale manufacturing facility capable of making commercial-grade plastic from annually renewable resources such as ordinary field corn.

The co. says this will result in a significant increase in the commercial availability of NatureWorks PLA. The facility, which covers more than 16 acres of Missouri River bottomland in Blair, is capable of producing more than 300 million lb (140,000 metric tons) of NatureWorks PLA/yr and uses up to 40,000 bushels of locally grown corn/day as the raw material.

The facility harvests the carbon naturally stored in simple plant sugars when a plant, in this case corn, undergoes the process of photosynthesis. Through a process of simple fermentation and distillation, Cargill Dow extracts the carbon and uses it as the basic building block for commercial-grade plastics and fibers.


Supplier News
Vacuum Coating System on Its Way
LONGMONT, CO, USA—On March 1, Applied Films Corp. celebrated the beginning of production on its first chamber for a vacuum web coating system in its new manufacturing halls in Alzenau, Germany.

The company is a supplier of thin film deposition equipment to the flat panel display, architectural, automotive and solar glass, and consumer products packaging, and electronics industries. Applied Films says the arrival of this chamber is the culmination of a year-long project to construct new facilities to house all of its German operations in one location.


E-Commerce
Omnexus Keeps Companies Connected
ATLANTA, GA, USA—Global plastics eMarketplace Omnexus announces the opening of techncenter.omnexus.com, a global system that puts plastics processors in direct contact with technical experts from multiple suppliers.

The TechCenter will connect the more than 16,000 Omnexus community members with experts from the eMarketplace's fast-growing supplier base, which now numbers more than 20. Founding suppliers include Bayer, BASF, Dow, DuPont, and Ticona.

Participating TechCenter suppliers provide experts that answer questions in categories including materials, markets, machinery, and advanced technologies. The service is free.


Closings
Inland Announces Shutdowns
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Inland Paperboard and Packaging will close its linerboard mill in Antioch, CA, and three machines at its mill in Bogalusa, LA.

The company reports it is taking this action due to overcapacity in the containerboard market.

The closures will be completed by the end of 2002. They represent 595,000 tons of annual containerboard production. Of that total, 425,000 tons were produced at Antioch and 170,000 at Bogalusa.


Education
Agfa, RIT Offer On-Line Training Classes
MORTSEL, BELGIUM—Agfa Professional Support and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Rochester, NY, have started an on-line training center at agfa.com/graphics/academy to provide professional Web-based training courses.

Notes Paul Holusha, director of business development at Agfa, “With this partnership with the Rochester Institute of Technology, the foremost university for printing and graphic arts in North America, we now add university-level courses for the graphic arts industry.”

The site features seven courses including Becoming a Print Professional, Digital Asset Management, Variable Data Imaging, and Color Management. More classes reportedly will be added in the future.


Association News
AICC Holds Regional Meetings
ALEXANDRIA, VA, USA—More than 35 Region Five members of the Assn. of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC) met March 14 in Charlotte, NC, to hear about challenges facing the industry and new AICC programs. Attendees from the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Georgia heard Salomon Smith Barney CPA Steve Burgess brief them on a new 30% equipment depreciation bonus for equipment acquisitions after Sept. 10, 2001, a recently enacted economic stimulus package passed by Congress.

Willamette Specialty Products Div. hosted the AICC Region Seven 2002 Spring Meeting March 15 in Richwood, KY. Members from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky enjoyed a tour of the facility and attended a seminar on ink properties, press and substrate variations, and troubleshooting tips.

For more information contact AICC at 703/836-2422; aiccbox.org.



 

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