Archive for January, 2010

Eastman Announces Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2009 Results

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

KINGSPORT, Tenn., Jan. 28, 2010 – Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE:EMN) today announced a loss of $0.44 per diluted share for fourth quarter 2009 versus a loss of $0.03 per diluted share for fourth quarter 2008.  Excluding the items described below for both periods, fourth-quarter 2009 earnings were $1.14 per diluted share, while fourth-quarter 2008 earnings were $0.05 per diluted share.  For reconciliations to reported company and segment earnings, see Tables 3 and 5 in the accompanying financial tables. (more…)

Cereplast Adds Plastics Industry Veteran To Powerful Sales Team

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

HAWTHORNE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Cereplast, Inc. (OTCBB: CERP), a leading manufacturer of proprietary bio-based, sustainable plastics, announced today that it has appointed Bob Williams as East Coast Regional Director, Sales and Marketing. Adding to the company’s powerful sales team, Mr. Williams brings 30 years of plastics industry experience and a multi-billion dollar track record of growth with a top multinational plastics conglomerate.

“Bob is another highly experienced plastics veteran that we are proud to welcome to the Cereplast team,” said Frederic Scheer, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast, Inc. “Bob is a former GE Plastics executive, and will be sharing that history with our new West Coast Regional Director, David Homyak. Clearly, Cereplast is building a powerful core team of industry leaders. These gentlemen will help us achieve the level of success we are expecting in 2010 and thereafter, as we continue to lead the bioplastics industry.”

Mr. Williams has extensive leadership and P&L experience in the chemicals and plastic industries. His successful track record in turning around under-performing organizations, driving P&L for strategic, profitable growth and cultural change are well documented. Mr. Williams is Six Sigma certified, a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola, USA and later adopted by GE and other Fortune 500 companies.

Mr. Williams commented, “Frederic’s vision for Cereplast is clear to me. Bioplastics have, and will continue to revolutionize the plastics industry worldwide.” He continued, “Cereplast’s development effort to produce new algae-based bioplastic resins is a potential game changer, and I am extremely excited to be involved with a company pioneering such significant and positive technological advancements.”  full Story at benzinga.com

US Demand for Nonwoven Roll Goods To Reach $6.3 Billion

Friday, January 29th, 2010

CLEVELAND, OH | Demand for nonwoven roll goods is projected to rise at a 3.7% annual rate to $6.3 billion in 2013, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

US population, household ,and personal income growth will result in higher expenditures for wipes and other consumer disposables. The aging of the US population, leading to sizable increases in the number of people 65 years and older, will boost demand for nonwovens used in medical/surgical and adult incontinence products.

Conversely, the US represents a mature market for a number of nonwoven goods, including baby wipes and baby diapers, which will dampen overall sales gains through 2013, as will competition from other types of materials. These and other trends are presented in the Nonwovens study.  Read full story at pffc-online.com

FitesaFiberweb announces Contractor for Plant expansion

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

FitesaFiberweb awards construction contract
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Staff Report

GREENVILLE — FitesaFiberweb Simpsonville Inc. has hired O’Neal Inc. of Greenville to build two manufacturing lines at the Main Street plant to produce lightweight non-woven fabrics for hygiene products.

Fiberweb PLC, a manufacturer of specialty nonwoven materials, and Petropar, a Brazilian industrial company, announced the formation of a joint venture in September called FitesaFiberweb Simpsonville Inc. At the time, the new venture said its $100 million investment is expected to created 67 jobs at the Simpsonville facility.

Rockline’s regenerated cotton wipe wins award

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

28 January 2010, New Orleans – Rockline Industries environmentally friendly Regenerated Cotton Wipe has been named the recipient of the prestigious 2010 Visionary Award presented recently at the VISION 2010 Consumer Products Conference in New Orleans.

The Regenerated Cotton Wipe was selected over four other finalists by attendees at the ninth annual VISION Conference, which was held from January 20-22 at the Sheraton New Orleans Canal Street. The annual VISION Conference is organized by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, and each year it brings together hundreds of executives from nonwovens and consumer products companies around the world for three days of education and networking.

The substrate for the Regenerated Cotton Wipe is made from 100% biodegradable materials. The blend is 25% Lenzing Tencel and 75% cotton. The cotton is produced from the post-industrial waste from the manufacturing of T-shirts, and the recovery process to regenerate the cotton is energy and water friendly.

Now in its ninth year, the Visionary Award is presented to a new consumer product that utilizes nonwoven fabrics in its final form. The five finalists made presentations during VISION 2010 and conference attendees voted for the recipient of the 2010 Visionary Award.

“With such an emphasis being placed on sustainable products in all industries, including nonwovens, the VISION Conference attendees obviously were impressed by the green story of the Rockline Regenerated Cotton Wipe,” says Rory Holmes, President of INDA. “There were five outstanding products representing all aspects of consumer products from filtration to personal and household care and they were all winners by being selected as finalists in the 2010 competition.”

Holmes presented the Visionary Award to Lorraine Crosbie, EU Regional Sales Director of Rockline, who travelled from England to make the Rockline presentation at VISION.

The other four finalists were:

Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets, Henkel Corp … Consumers can use the same sheet from washer to the dryer to provide cleaning, softening and anti-static benefits. Each sheet contains the proper amount of detergent, softener and anti-static agent for a single load of wash.

The Ultimate Cloth, Advanced Cleaning Technologies … The Ultimate Cloth is a streak-free window cleaner that cleans and polishes windows, mirrors, windshields and glass as well as many soft surfaces such as leather and vinyl.

Infinity feminine hygiene pad, Procter & Gamble … This feminine hygiene pad features a soft cover sheet designed to work with the pad’s Infinicel core, Microdots for fast absorption, a new wing design for secure protection, form-fitting channels for leakage protection and a wider design in the back to provide increased coverage.

Fitseal disposable respirator mask, Superior Felt and Filtration … This mask employs nonwoven tribo-electric technology coupled with a medical adhesion system that makes it an effective disposable mask in swine flu/H1N1 protection as well as for use in protection in dealing with SARS, Avian Bird Flu, disaster clean up, emergency response, terrorism and tourism abroad.

Previous recipients of the Visionary Award include Ahlstrom’s Disruptor nonwoven water filter media (2009); Kimberly-Clark’s Spa Sensials personal care treatment (2008), Tyco Healthcare Retail Group’s Swim Pants (2007); Chicopee’s Disaster Relief Blanket (2006); Fiberweb’s Resolution Print Media (2005); Church & Dwight’s Brillo Scrub ‘n’ Toss (2004); FMJ ChemBio’s Civilian Quick Escape Mask (2003); and Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer (2002).

The 2011 VISION Consumer Products moves to the West Coast and will be held January 10-12 at the Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif. VISION 2012 will return to New Orleans. For more information: www.inda.org .  Source innovationintextiles.com

New Laboratory Dedicated to Producing Protective Products for Military and Civilians

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University introduced a new, state-of-the-art fabric laboratory to help researchers continue creating products that can protect both military and civilian populations.

Posted April 6th, 2009

The 4,000-square-foot facility, named the Nonwovens and Advanced Materials Laboratory, was unveiled April 6. The new lab’s air conditioning and humidification system, contoured needlezone needlepunching technology and thermal bonding capability will allow for faster, more focused research into nonwoven technologies.

Funding for the lab’s $1.5 million cost included $125,000 from Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for the machinery. Overall, nonwoven research at Texas Tech has received $2.5 million in DoD funding.

“The opening of this unique manufacturing and research facility is another big step forward for The Institute of Environmental and Human Health and for Texas Tech,” said Kent Hance, chancellor of Texas Tech University System. “I want to acknowledge the efforts of Congressman Neugebauer and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance for their understanding of benefits of this facility and their assistance in funding it.”

Texas Tech University now is the only academic facility in the U.S. to have contoured needlezone nonwoven technology, said Ron Kendall, director of TIEHH.

“We are exclusive in the way we’re set up here with the unique needlepunch nonwoven technology and access to cotton,” Kendall said. “This technology has been used successfully to develop products such as our nonwoven decontamination wipe, Fibertect™. The need for decontamination wipes, such as the kind we’ve created here at TIEHH, were a top priority for the Department of Defense. Years ago, we began the research, developed a product and met a top national security issue. Now we’re going to continue that research with this laboratory.”

Seshadri Ramkumar, associate professor, lab manager and Fibertect™ creator, said the new nonwoven facility will help TIEHH to continue top-quality research into protective fabrics and other nonwoven materials. Fibertect™ is a platform technology, and different fibers, including natural fibers such as cotton, can be used depending on applications and requirements, Ramkumar said.

“One of the main focuses of this lab will be used to develop new products from cotton and wool, such as thermal and acoustic insulation pads, and automotive and defense textiles,” Ramkumar said. “Our aim is to find value-added applications for products made of cotton grown on the High Plains. Surely, this nonwoven laboratory will help.”

In December, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory performed an evaluation of several decontamination products including Fibertect™. The wipe tested features an activated carbon core sandwiched between an absorbent polyester layer on one side and absorbent cellulose on the other. After testing with mustard gas and other toxic chemicals, the results showed that the Texas Tech-created dry fabric out-performed 30 different decontamination products, including materials currently used in military decontamination kits.

Research in natural fibers has been supported by the Food and Fibers Research Grant program of the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas State Support Program of Cotton Incorporated, The Cotton Foundation, The CH Foundation of Lubbock, Plains Cotton Growers Inc. and the USDA through the International Cotton Research Center at Texas Tech.

The Institute of Environmental and Human Health develops environmental and health sciences research and education at Texas Tech and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The institute’s goal is to position Texas Tech as an internationally recognized force in the integration of environmental impact assessment of toxic chemicals with human health consequences, framed in the context of science-based risk assessment to support sound environmental policy and law.  Source azom.com

Bringing Manufacturing Back to the United States

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
As the cost of doing business rises in traditionally low-cost countries, particularly China, companies are rethinking their offshoring plans. Can the United States become a manufacturing powerhouse again?
Clare Goldsberry  (Dec/Jan 10)  View Graphs and Full Story at areadevelopment.com
Most of the news you read isn’t good with respect to bringing manufacturing back into the United States from foreign countries. High labor costs and high corporate taxes are major deterrents to putting in new manufacturing plants or keeping manufacturing here. A 2008 survey by the Manufacturing Institute, the research and education arm of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), showed that among manufacturers, the top two priorities for government should be labor cost and tax policy. For many CEOs, when faced with those factors, the numbers favoring the United States just don’t add up.

Yet for some companies, the decision is made easier by the increasing costs of doing business halfway around the world. The realities behind those higher costs include the extremely long supply chain and inventory pipeline, and the problem of intellectual property theft, an ongoing problem in China that drives some companies back to the United States.

n May of 2009, AlixPartners LLP, a consulting firm based in Southfield, Michigan, released its AlixPartners 2009 Manufacturing-Outsourcing Cost Index, which shows a significant change in the aggregate Low-Cost Country (LCC) manufacturing rankings within just the first six months of 2009, as Mexico surpassed both China and India for the components studied. Outsourcing has become “a whole new ball game” according to Stephen Maurer, a managing director with AlixPartners.

As a result of the challenges of outsourcing to China, India, and other Southeast Asian LCCs, U.S. companies are starting to rethink their outsourcing strategies and ask if offshoring really makes sense in light of extremely complex supply chains, quality, intellectual property issues, and higher costs of not only labor but of shipping goods and keeping the inventory pipeline filled.

The Diminished China Advantage

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Gone are the days when OEMs could realize 30 to 50 percent cost savings in manufacturing their products, which today gives companies pause when they consider whether it makes more sense to manufacture in the United States. To develop its index, AlixPartners looked at the relative costs for a market basket of parts over the past three years, and the results showed that China, once the lowest-cost supplier for this market basket, dropped to third in LCC rankings, behind second-ranked India and the new number one, Mexico.

With new tariffs, taxes, and employee salary and benefits laws that took effect January 1, 2009, many OEMs have had second and even third thoughts about keeping manufacturing in China. Added up, China’s manufacturing advantage as an LLC only amounts to about 5 percent. Given the other risks of manufacturing in China, is it really worth it?

Hy-Lite Blocks, a division of U.S. Block Windows since March 2009, molds acrylic architectural blocks for use in privacy windows, indoor radius walls, and partitions. The company recently moved its molding operation back from China to its company headquarters and manufacturing facility in Pensacola, Florida — a strategic decision that Roger Murphy, Hy-Lite’s president, believes will improve the company’s bottom line.

Murphy explains that about five years ago, the injection molds used to make the Hy-Lite blocks were moved to China and Canada from Mission Plastics, a custom injection molder in Ontario, California, primarily to save costs. “About 60 to 70 percent of the blocks we sold came from China,” says Murphy. “[This involved] a long, complex supply chain, and complicated inventory planning and forecasting, and as oil got more expensive, so did shipping costs, effectively eradicating any cost savings that we were realizing.”

This is particularly true of companies whose primary market for its products is the United States. The long supply chain and the huge inventory required means that companies cannot be as flexible in serving their customers. Demand fluctuations cannot be addressed easily or quickly. According to one OEM company president, if a quality problem is discovered in parts reaching customers in the United States, there are most likely quality problems throughout the entire supply chain stretching all the way back to China. That makes the true cost of manufacturing offshore in places such as China a whole lot more than the quoted price of the parts on the RFQ.

As Hy-Lite’s Murphy says, “Molding costs look a lot less on paper, but by the time you add in all the other costs, including the material we were shipping to them, it didn’t make sense. Since we had in-house molding, it wasn’t a difficult decision.” The company has purchased additional molding presses to accommodate the molds and do the molding in-house.

According to a report from Archstone Consulting, based on a 2008 Archstone/SCMR Survey of Manufacturers, nearly 90 percent of manufacturers report that they are considering or have already begun rebalancing their manufacturing and supply strategy. Nearly 40 percent of the manufacturers who responded to Archstone’s survey said they experienced cost increases of more than 25 percent. And those figures came out prior to China’s new tariff and wage laws took effect.

The Intellectual Property Problem
Nearly every OEM that manufactures products in China confronts must confront the ever-growing problem of a high rate of intellectual property (IP) theft and piracy. Farouk Systems Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, specializes in high-end hair care products, including its CHI brand hair irons and low electromagnetic field (EMF) blow dryers, and Biosilk hair care products. At one time, says company founder Farouk Shami, his CHI hair care products were manufactured in the United States. Or so he thought. He found out that the manufacturing company had subcontracted the molds to a Chinese molding company. Unhappy with that arrangement, he decided to move the manufacturing to another Chinese molder.

It wasn’t long before the CHI products were “knocked off” by counterfeiters seeking to reap the profits of CHI’s popular brand name. Shami spent several years fighting the counterfeiting rings, but says that as fast as he could shut one down, another would open up, sometimes right next door to the first one. The battle was costing Shami approximately $500,000 a month, including replacing defective CHI irons and dryers that turned out not to be manufactured by Farouk Systems. “I’m hoping that the U.S. will be more involved in checking for counterfeits at the border to make sure products coming into the country are authentic,” says Shami. “The government should help manufacturers uncover counterfeits.”

Shami has located custom injection molders in the Houston and Lubbock areas to mold the plastic components in the CHI products, working at about the same price the Chinese molder was molding them because Farouk has given them high-volume, long-term contracts. While Shami acknowledges that there is a cost advantage to manufacturing overseas, he’s certain he’ll be able to offset higher labor costs in the United States by using state and local tax breaks, eliminating the import duties and marketing his products as “Made in the U.S.A.” “People want ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ on the products they buy,” he says. “I want ‘Made in the U.S.A.’”

It’s tough to control a manufacturing operation in China from a U.S. headquarters. Just ask Rick Admani Abulhaj, COO of Diagnostic Devices Inc. of Charlotte, North Carolina. The company, which manufactures blood glucose monitoring systems called Prodigy, had 600 workers at its China facility, but problems with quality control, as well as rising costs, prompted the company to come back to Charlotte, where it will hire 200 employees at a new manufacturing facility. “Using cutting-edge automation and robotic technology will give us greater control of our operations, reduce costs and protect our intellectual property,” says Abulhaj. “The primary benefit to taking manufacturing offshore is strictly for the cheap labor, not the technology. Robots, vision systems, other automation — even if you put all that in China, there’s no one there who can fix the machines or service them. You go for cheap labor.”  See Graphs and Full Story at areadevelopment.com

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Can P&G Be the Amazon.com of Consumer Staples?

Monday, January 25th, 2010

By Mike Pienciak
January 22, 2010

Books and electronics have long been the staples of online retail. But if consumer-goods behemoth Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) gets its way, face cream and diapers may eventually rank right up there with DVDs and New York Times bestsellers.

In an effort to both boost sales and track consumer behavior, P&G will soon launch an online store in partnership with e-commerce provider PFSweb. Initially, the e-store will operate as a pilot, with limited consumer access, although plans for a public launch are slated for the spring.

Thinking that P&G management would do best to take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to such cockamamie plans? Careful — you’ll have to argue that the entire packaged-goods industry needs a good shrink-wrapping, too. Companies ranging from cereal-and-yogurt maker General Mills (NYSE: GIS) to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Novartis (NYSE: NVS) are all making similar forays.

With retailers such as Costco (NYSE: COST) and Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) selectively cutting the range of some of the products they stock in order to juice cash flow, and amid the rising appeal of private-label wares, it makes sense for brand-name blue chips to reach out to consumers via the Internet. Making that consumer connection may be the most important — and most successful — outcome of such online presences. Through blogs and videos, companies would have the opportunity to plug new products in greater detail than a TV or print spot allows. P&G, for instance, could highlight various brand extensions, potentially reducing consumer confusion over multiple but similar product lines.

However, trying to stir up excitement about anti-aging gels among consumers who are just one click away from their Facebook pages comes with certain dangers. As reported by Advertising Age, P&G’s new Pampers’ Dry Max diaper — a huge innovation, according to the company — has been, um, preemptively soiled by a small but vocal group of Internet critics. Meanwhile, P&G’s chance to counter the backlash via national marketing is still months off.

Potential pitfalls notwithstanding, P&G management aims to raise its online sales from a current $500 million to $4 billion-$5 billion. It’s unlikely that P&G will establish itself as a direct retailer, which means that much of those future sales will be derived through its existing partner network, which includes Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and CVS Caremark.

Even if new online sales are not substantial on a companywide basis, the online environment should enable P&G to monitor shifting consumer trends in real time. After the company’s tough slog through the recession, that development certainly merits a tweet or two.  Source fool.com

Invista develops PET resin for extrusion blow molding

Sunday, January 24th, 2010
PLASTICS NEWS REPORT

Posted January 20, 2010

ORLANDO, FLA. (Jan. 20, 9:05 p.m. ET) – Invista sarl claims it has developed a new extrusion blow molding grade of PET capable of making bottles with integral handles.

Unlike other extrusion blow molding grades of PET, the new material is not modified with glycol, a material that Invista says can present challenges to recyclers.

“Invista has taken a different and innovative technical route by modifying PET for higher melt strength and slower crystallization that allows the material to be handled and processed under PET recycling conditions,” according to a news release from Schotland Business Research Inc.

Jeff Wardat, business development manager at Wichita, Kan.-based Invista, will present information about the resin at the Nova-Pack 2010 Conference on PET Containers for Food & Beverages, a Feb. 9-10 conference in Orlando sponsored by Schotland.

According to the release, the new, modified PET resin can be processed at temperatures and conditions similar to standard PET. Higher melt temperatures, however, may require modifications to existing extrusion blow molding equipment.

The ability to recycle the new resin in the clear PET stream has been demonstrated according to protocol from the Washington-based Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers, according to the news release.

“Many applications that have stood with [high density polyethylene] for sustainability may not need to sacrifice clarity anymore and brand owners do not need to choose between clarity and ability to recycle,” the release said.  Source plasticsnews.com

Rieter Automotive chooses NSC needlepunch line

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
January 21, 2010 (USA)

Rieter Automotive North America, Inc. Farmington Hills, Michigan, has contracted NSC Nonwoven to provide their equipment for a needlepunching line providing Velour carpet to the Automotive Industry.

The decision to purchase this line is the first since many years for this industry and should prove to distinguish Rieter in this competitive market.

The line will include Thibeau Excelle batt formation with IsoProDyn completed with Asselin needlepunching and the newest SDV Velour needleloom for finishing. This new line will offer high output while maintaining minimum weight variation and improved fiber orientation for consistent strength properties. Manufacturing equipment will be installed in their Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania location.

Included with the purchase is Laroche opening and blending and Signal Machine’s auxiliary equipment.

All after sales service and support will be supplied via NSC USA located in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

NSC nonwoven     Source fibre2fashion.com