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Converting Industry News

Converting the Full Spectrum of Industry News, Events & Activities

Focus on is on Economy, Manufacturing Yield
BONITA SPRINGS, FL—It’s only natural when CEOs and presidents gather at an association meeting for the conversation to turn to the economy, politics, and/or how to get the greatest yield from manufacturing operations. So, by design, the agenda for the Assn. of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators’ (AIMCAL) annual winter meeting catered to its audience’s interests on March 16–19 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point.

A New Day
Financial journalist and a founder of CNN, keynote speaker Stuart Varney kicked off the meeting with an entertaining, positive, and informative presentation entitled "A New Day in America: Its Economy, Its Politics, Its Culture." Varney delivered his presentation engagingly, even rousing some disagreement from the audience in a jovial spirit. He offered several observations regarding the US and global economies, politics, and our mix of cultures, including the following: the American economy is not in decline but is the world’s role model; there is a radical shift in the structure of the global economy with the element of China, with which the US will share a mutually dependent relationship; fertility rates have fallen so sharply that all countries will see a rapid population decline, making it difficult for future economic performance and political policies; torte reform is a necessity to prevent our legal system from becoming the principal form of attack on business; tax cuts are a plus and the US will enjoy 3%–4% growth in the coming year.

Negatives, according to Varney, include the following: healthcare costs holding down job creation; energy crisis; budget deficits; household debt at a record height; and the trade deficit is driving down the value of the US dollar. But even if all these negatives are added up, Varney still believes the US will come out ahead of the game because of a 3.5% growth rate with an anticipated 4.5% growth by summer. The picture he painted for industrial manufacturing, however, was not optimistic, as most of it will be moving to China and India.

More on the Economy
DuPont economist Bob Fry, Wilmington, DE, gave his annual Economic Outlook. His observations were in the same direction as those of Stuart Varney, but he added his own comments. Highlights include the following: The stock market is driving consumer confidence now, not the labor market; a 2.5% interest rate may slow down the economy, but we haven’t felt it yet; tax cuts have faded; savings rate is at 0; consumers spent during the recession and during the recovery, and they still are spending; vehicle sales have slowed but still "are not bad." Realistically these sales can’t keep going up, and production cutbacks are being publicized, but this still "is not bad." Home sales are up but have slowed slightly, which should keep the economy going for at least six months because of other items purchased along with home sales. Investment and capital goods orders are increasing strongly. Oil price increases have not had the same effect as in the 1970s. Basically, our economy is stronger than we all thought, and some companies are now rehiring. In a nutshell, Fry doesn’t predict a strong recovery, but he also doesn’t anticipate further decline even though manufacturing has slowed a little. Fry also raised the question whether the US can become a non-manufacturing economy. He feels we were mathematically inconsequential, with manufacturing representing only 11%–12% of our economy; however, for national security reasons, some manufacturing will have to remain here, e.g., high-tech metals or aircraft.

Crisis Management
As final speaker, Karl F. Muller of The Muller Group, Williamsburg, VA., addressed Crisis Management, utilizing "Equishare Gainsharing" as an organizational strategy. He observed while some jobs may go to China, to survive as manufacturers here, we must determine how to keep jobs. The challenge is how to re-engage employees to be more productive. Muller outlined how to establish and inform employees of a company’s key objects, suggesting a "scoreboard" and team-building approach that rewards employees for performance and "dollarizes" the dumpster (i.e., translates waste footage into dollars). If employees can understand the dollars at stake, combined in a goal-oriented setting with a financial award attached, it will result in a positive outcome.

New Equipment an Asset to Coater
Intelicoat Technologies, Wrexham, Clwyd, UK, has purchased a wide web striper and precision blade slitter to enhance its coating and microfilm manufacturing facilities.

The striper allows logos or stripes to be flexographically printed onto moving webs of substrates such as PU films and microfilm. A full range of colors is available, as well as thermal and IR drying processes. The slitter reportedly has saved the company time and money by increasing throughput.

New IP Business Unit

CINCINNATI, OH—International Paper (IP) reports a new business unit designated Global Custom Services (GCS) that will manage the packaging supply chain for its customers to improve their financial performance and expand growth opportunities.

GCS will provide customers with a single point of contact, IP says, adding GCS utilizes best-in-class design services to enable product differentiation and reduce packaging design times. GCS also employs flexible labor and leverages IP’s global sourcing capabilities to provide continuous cost reduction.

Martin Sells in China
ROCKFORD, IL—New installations in China for Martin Automatic include package printer Brilliant Circle Group, comprising more than ten members in Hong Kong, mainland China, and overseas. The company purchased an automatic butt splicer for an in-register splicer on a new press in its Shenzhen factory.

In addition, label printer Cheng May Group, headquartered in Taipei, has two butt splicers and two automatic transfer rewinds from Martin, with more equipment on order, including the STS automatic butt splicer and STR turret rewind for an existing Sanki letterpress.

Chevron is Honored Supplier
TAYLOR, MI—PS supplier Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. was among those honored by Masco Corp. with the MASTAR (Masco Supplier Team Award Recognition) Award. The award recognizes leadership, communication, commitment and cooperation of Masco’s national supplier group to achieve world-class quality, total cost reduction, delivery, and environmental, health, and safety responsiveness.

Chevron Phillips Chemical is a valued member of Masco’s supplier family," says Alan Barry, Masco’s president and chief operating officer. "The company shares Masco’s dedication to quality products, people, and services."

Roland to Integrate Maxson Sheeters
WESTERLY, RI—Maxson Automatic Machinery Co. has appointed MAN Roland, Westmont, IL, the exclusive worldwide distributor of Maxson’s in-line sheeters for wide-format, sheet-fed presses. A purpose-built Maxson sheeter is now available for every Roland 900 format.

MAN Roland will take full responsibility for the installation and servicing of the Maxson sheeters purchased by Roland 900 users. The sheeters will be available from MAN Roland in roll widths from 44–73 in. and roll diameters to 72 in.

Neenah Completes Spinoff
ALPHARETTA, GA—Neenah Paper has completed a tax-free spinoff from Kimberly-Clark Corp. Technical Paper, producer of specialty latex-saturated and coated papers, now is part of Neenah. In addition, Neenah also produces premium Writing, Text, and Cover papers and bleached pulp primarily for use in the manufacture of tissue and writing papers.

Plate Patent for PRP
INDIANAPOLIS, IN—PRP Flexo has been awarded a patent for its ExSpect flexographic plate development process designed to provide greater print clarity on both corrugated, preprinted linerboard, and flexible packaging.

The company reports the process enables corrugated converters to direct print onto corrugate and get comparable results to preprint. The process also is said to enable flexible packaging printers to have a greatly reduced set-up time.

Sherwood, Rad-Cure Collaborate
WIDNES, CHESHIRE, UK—Sherwood Technology announces a collaboration with Rad-Cure, Fairfield, NJ, in which Rad-Cure will market a range of inks produced from DataLase, Sherwood’s patented color-change chemistry, via a non-exclusive supply license agreement.

The agreement will enable Rad-Cure to make DataLase branded inks available to its global market as part of a total printing and marking solution to a wide range of market sectors, including pharmaceutical and food/beverage applications, labels, flexible packaging, paper, and board packaging.

Expo Pack Mexico Coming

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—Expo Pack Mexico celebrates its 20th anniversary this June 21–24 at Centro Banamex. Owned and operated by Packaging Machinery Mfrs. Inst., the show expects attendance of 30,000 and 700 exhibitors. It is co-located with Procesa, exhibiting machinery and equipment for the food and beverage processing industry.

For more information visit expopack.com.mx.

CMM 2007 on the Move
NEW YORK, NY—CMM Intl. will move to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, near O’Hare airport, effective with the 2007 show.

According to show management, the move will result in significant savings, including the ability to offer exhibitors lower space rental inclusive of drayage and lower labor costs due to more flexible work rules. Companies reportedly will be able to save an average of 25% or more on exhibiting costs, while attendees will find savings on hotel and transportation costs.

"Chicago is a great location for CMM, and McCormick Place has been a good venue to grow and prosper for many years," says CMM president Ian Johnston. "However, rising labor costs and union issues at McCormick Place have made it increasingly expensive and difficult for our exhibitors. This change in venue is clearly in the best interest of CMM participants. We are responding to our exhibitors’ request to provide a more cost-effective, hassle-free environment. We believe Rosemont will help us make an already great event even better."

NPE to Celebrate 60 years
WASHINGTON, DC—NPE 2006, The International Plastics Showcase, is scheduled for June 19–23 at Chicago’s McCormick Pl. This edition, which marks the 60th anniversary of the triennial show, is expected to feature at least 2,000 exhibitors and welcome visitors from more than 100 countries, reports the Society of the Plastics Industry, sponsor of the show. Included will be a conference program, single-topic conferences; and professional training seminars.

For more information visit npe.org.

PLGA Expands on Many Fronts

MIAMI, FL—"Expanding" was a word heard all through the 8th annual conference of the Packaging and Label Gravure Assn. (PLGA), held March 2–4 at Miami’s Radisson Hotel.

For starters, attendance this year was 197, up from last year’s 150. An expanding number of international members has prompted the association to change its name officially to Packaging and Label Gravure Assn. Global. An expanded scholarship program now will include Clemson Univ., Pittsburgh State Univ., and Western Michigan Univ.

And, entries in the Quality Awards program were up to 81 compared to last year’s 69. The awards program expanded in another way, featuring the first International Print Quality Awards in recognition of significantly increased participation by international members. The Best of Show winner in this year’s competition came from the Stamps category: "Art of the American Indian" by Avery Dennison Security Printing Div. The stamp was printed in seven colors plus water-based phosphor coating on non-phosphor stamp paper.

Sessions covered total print quality; service and turnaround time; transitioning to sleeves; innovation; selling gravure on its merits; and gravure versus flexo. Rounding out the event were a tabletop exhibit, two receptions, and the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ron Syrkos of Alcan Packaging in recognition of his strong entrepreneurial and sales abilities and 38 years of significant contributions to the packaging and label gravure industry.

PLGA announced it will collaborate with the Gravure Cylinder Users Group to host the Packaging and Label Industry’s first "Gravure Week" October 17-21 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Charlotte, NC. For more information, including the complete list of Quality Award winners, visit plga.com

Permatex Now Part of ITW

HARTFORD, CT—Illinois Tool Works (ITW), Glenview, IL, has acquired Permatex, a producer of sealants, adhesives, and other products for the automotive aftermarket and the industrial maintenance and repair market. Permatex will become a subsidiary of ITW Performance Polymers; the Permatex brand name will be retained.

Vacumet Adds Proma
WAYNE, NJ—Vacumet Corp. has acquired the assets of Proma Technologies, Franklin, MA. The Franklin facility will become part of Vacumet’s Metallized Paper Div. Reportedly, the combined organization will concentrate on developing products that create new worldwide applications for both silver and holographic metallized papers.

On-Line Training Offered

BLOOMINGTON, IN—Prepress Training Solution, a div. of StaffingTools, and Markzware, Santa Ana, CA, are partnering to promote a new, interactive on-line training course for FlightCheck 5.5 users.

The course teaches users to create menus; use Ground Controls, FlightPlans, and Action Scripting; inspect files; establish preferences; and master data management and navigation techniques.

The course is available immediately through markzware.com and prepresstrianing.com.

Nonwovens Study is Available

CARY, NC—A new report entitled "Worldwide Outlook for the Nonwovens Industry" is available from two trade associations: INDA, Assn. of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, and EDANA, the European Disposables and Nonwovens Assn. The study offers both historical data of the business from 1994–2004 as well as end-use, raw material, and investment projections through 2009.

The report is for sale to INDA members for $995 and nonmembers for $1,595; and to EDANA members for (euro)795 and nonmembers for (euro)1,295. For more information contact imisw.inda.org/imisw or edana.org.

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