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EniChem invests in new capacity for synthetic rubber.

After the recent announcement of a 30,000 mt/year plant for SEBS (hydrogenated styrenic TPE) production, now under construction at its Ravenna, Italy plant, EniChem is making further steps toward the strengthening of its position in the synthetic rubber market. A two split, global Euro 50 million investment for building new production capacity will be completed within the year 2001, significantly raising EniChem's production capacity of both S-SBR (solution-SBR) and EPR. The first capacity expansion will be carried out at the Grangemouth, U.K. plant, where the present S-SBR production capacity will be raised to 30 kt/year by mid-2001. At the same time, a production capacity increase of Ferrara's EPR (both EPM copolymer and EPDM terpolymer) production plant is to take place. With a 20,000 mt/ year expansion due to come on stream in the second half of the year 2001, EniChem's installed capacity will grow to a level exceeding 100,000 mt/year.

Dow Chemical, Midland, MI, completed its acquisition of Flexible Products, Marietta, GA, said to be one of the largest polyurethane systems suppliers in North America and a leader in custom polyurethane foam formulations and dispensing technology, with annual sales of more than $140 million. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Degussa-Huls AG, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is investing about Euro 80 million in the modernization and expansion of its precipitated silicas production at the Wesseling plant site. The company is already said to be the global market leader, with a capacity of about 250,000 tons per year, and when the expansion work is finished in 2003, capacity will once again be significantly increased. At the same time, the investments in modernization and new technologies will make it possible to develop and produce new, higher value silica products, according to the company.

Bayer Group's planned acquisition of the polyols business of Lyondell Chemical has moved a major step closer with the announcement in Brussels, Belgium by the Commission of the European Union that it has no objection to the deal. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has already given its approval. The total price of the acquisitiion is $2.45 million.

Smithers Scientific Services, Akron, OH, has expanded its polymer analysis capabilities with the installation of an RPA 2000. The RPA (rubber process analyzer) is designed to provide high quality, precise and repeatable viscoelastic property data on raw polymers or elastomeric compounds before, during and after vulcanization. The RPA 2000 enables process tracking from raw polymer to final product.

R&S Processing, Paramount, CA, a custom rubber mixing operation, has completed installation of a #11 internal mixer for the processing of black compounds.

Akrochem, Akron, OH, has upgraded its laboratory and quality control capabilities with an expansion and renovation of its Akron headquarters building. The $500,000 project included the installation of new computer equipment for monitoring the manufacturing processes and evaluating raw materials and finished products. The renovation also added office space for Akrochem's technical group and information systems department. Akrochem is a provider of color concentrates, raw materials and chemical dispersions for the rubber and plastics industries.

Environmental Processing Systems, Garden City, NY, has formed a new division, Precision Polymer Resources. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of EPS, Precision Polymer Resources will manage the marketing and sales activities, as well as production allocation, for the company's network of plants. EPS manufactures fine rubber powders from waste tires and other scrap rubbers.

CheMatch.com, Houston, TX, a global internet exchange and information resource serving the chemical industry, has established a regional office in Tokyo. CheMatch.com also has added plastics to its exchange. Participants may now trade 15 commodity grades of polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and PVC.

Acadia Polymers, Roanoke, VA, has established a research and development center in Blacksburg, VA. A division of Acadia Elastomers, Acadia Polymers designs and produces high quality custom engineered polymeric products for the automotive, OEM and heavy equipment markets, as well as the automotive aftermarket. The new R&D group will focus on developing products and materials that will strengthen Acadia's position in existing markets, as well as broaden its product offerings. Initially, the research team will focus its efforts on seals and materials for automotive transmissions. Acadia Polymers has also expanded its Livonia, MI-based Detroit Automotive Center to accommodate an increase in its sales, marketing and application engineering staffs.

Marking its 25th year in the process temperature control industry with its second major expansion, Budzar Industries, Willoughby, OH, increased its corporate headquarters by 25,000 square feet; 5,000 in office space and 20,000 in manufacturing facilities. Construction began in September 1999 and ended in January 2000. Budzar has experienced steady sales growth of 15 to 20 percent annually. The plant expansion is dedicated to the manufacturing, testing and in-stock storage of Budzar's portable water and oil heating/cooling systems, and negative pressure temperature control systems.

Experimental Services, Akron, OH, has acquired additional testing equipment which triples the laboratory's existing capacity for conducting rubber-to-metal bonded, swaged and Silentbloc bushing fatigue testing. The company has installed five new test stations for performing standard bushing life tests which support the ongoing production test requirements of its tier one automotive customers.

In a move designed to improve the ability to supply higher-performance, polymer-based products to the world's growing industrial economies and strengthen an expanding international infrastructure, Flexfab Europe, Ltd. has opened a manufacturing site in Nottingham, U.K. The 3,000+ square meter facility produces high-performance hoses, ducts, bellows and other special shapes for the transfer of hot fluids and pressurized air in aerospace, automotive, heavy truck and industrial applications.

M.A. Hanna, Cleveland, OH, has agreed to acquire a majority interest in a leading Turkish compounder and distributor of engineering plastics. M.A. Hanna will acquire 87% of the shares in the Tekno Polimer Group, based in Istanbul, subject to government approvals. The acquisition is expected to close by the second quarter. Under the terms of the agreement, M.A. Hanna has the option to purchase the remaining shares within five years. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The Tekno Polimer Group of companies, with 1999 sales of more than $11.5 million, currently serves the high-growth appliance, electrical and automotive markets with nylon, polyolefin and polyester thermoplastic compounds. M.A. Hanna also recently acquired a majority interest in Star Color, Ltd., a leading producer of colorants and additives for plastics in Thailand. Star Color, with 1999 sales of about $10 million, operates a manufacturing facility in Samutprakarn, near Bangkok. M.A. Hanna has acquired a 75% interest in Star Color. It has an option to purchase the remaining 25% after five years.

Stoner, Quarryville, PA, manufacturer of industrial mold release agents, has acquired the Zip - The Molders Edge product line from Zip Chem Products of Morgan Hill, CA. The Molders Edge line encompasses a broad product offering for diverse molding applications, including injection, compression, extrusion, vacuum forming and pour cast.

Lancer Dispersions, Akron, OH, has acquired the Thermoplastic Specialty Products Division of Plasticolors. The acquisition enables Lancer Dispersions to broaden its product line, offer new levels of color technology, improve its production capabilities and increase its sales staff. The TSP sales staff will be merged into the Lancer Dispersions and Cleveland Pigment & Color sales organization and will serve all of the U.S. and Canadian markets. In addition to this coverage, the combined organization will have access to the European market through H. Haeffner & Co., Ltd., Lancer's partner in Cleveland Pigment & Color.

Dow Chemical, Midland, MI, announced that Dow Automotive will integrate Essex Specialty Products and its joint venture partnerships and resources, including Essex ARG, Dayton, OH, to form its first industry-focused business unit. The new unit will serve the OEM and aftermarket automotive industry with a broader product portfolio. All Dow Automotive and Essex facilities worldwide will take part in the transition process. Integrating Essex Specialty Products and Essex ARG into Dow Automotive will result in a broader product offering that includes plastics, adhesives, sealants, reinforcing and acoustical management systems for use in automotive applications for interior, exterior and chassis/powertrain components and systems.

Entela, Quality Systems Registration Division, Grand Rapids, MI, a QS-9000 registrar, has been recognized by the International Automotive Oversight Bureau/International Automotive Task Force to perform ISO/TS 16949 audits. The ISO/TS 16949 standard is a pilot program of international standards for automotive suppliers. It is expected to benefit suppliers by providing confidence for global sourcing, improving product and process quality, reducing variation and waste, creating consistency in supplier/subcontractor development and providing a worldwide quality system specification.

RELATED ARTICLE: Quality registrations

Kismet Products, Perry, OH, a source for extruded, high-density rubber, polychloroprene, silicone and Viton materials, has been certified to the ISO 9002, 1994 international quality system standard by Smithers Quality Assessments.

MacTac, Stow, OH, a manufacturer of pressure sensitive materials, has received ISO 9001/QS-9000 certification.

PolyMod Technologies, Fort Wayne, IN, a manufacturer of specialty elastomeric and plastic seals, has been awarded ISO 9002 certification from the Quality Certification Bureau of Alberta, Canada.

R&D Rubber Molding has been awarded ISO 9002 certification from the British Standards Institution.

Yokohagna Rubber (Thailand), Ltd., has achieved quality management certification under the QS-9000 series.

Zemex Industrial Minerals, Atlanta, GA, announced that its talc facility located in Benwood, WV, received ISO 9002 certification.
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Comment:EniChem invests in new capacity for synthetic rubber.
Publication:Rubber World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Mar 1, 2000
Words:1552
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