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Chexpress - November 15, 2011

North America

New Platform Technology

Polymer Group, Inc. has unveiled a new platform technology to produce nonwovens containing submicron fibers that can deliver improved performance properties for healthcare, industrial, filtration and new emerging market applications. PGI’s Arium technology produces a matrix of fibers predominantly sized under one micron in diameter. The company has invested in a pilot line in the U.S. at its Waynesboro, Virginia facility to produce fabrics using the Arium technology. The technology can stand alone or be retrofitted to PGI’s existing meltblown equipment.


Ashland Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its polyvinyl acetate homopolymers and copolymer business to Celanese Corporation. Revenues of the product lines were approximately $45 million in 2010. The purchase price was not disclosed. The proposed transaction includes the transfer of the PVAc business, inventory and related technology. The sale does not include any real estate or manufacturing facilities. The transaction is expected to close within 60 days, subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.

Zero VOC

PPG Industries has released a line of zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint for the commercial market. Speedhide zero is an interior paint that is a one-stop solution for contractors, building owners and facility managers looking for durability, affordability and long-lasting performance. Speedhide zerio paint contins no ethylene glycol and zero VOCs, making it the first Speedhide product to comply with Greeenguard Environmental Institute (GEI) emissions standards. The product’s low odor enables contractors to paint in occupied spaces with little disruption to everday activities. It is available nationwide at PPG Pittsburgh Paints and PPG Porter Paints retail locations and independent dealers.

Lithium-Battery Probe

U.S. auto safety regulators are examining the safety of lithium-ion batteries that power all plug-in electric vehicles after a General Motors Co. Chevrolet Volt caught fire. The regulators have asked automakers, including GM, Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co., that sell or have plans to sell vehicles with lithium-ion batteries about the batteries’ fire risk. The Volt caught fire while parked at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing center in Wisconsin, three weeks after a side-impact crash test. LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s biggest chemical maker, supplies Volt batteries. The company is fully aware of the situation and is working closely with GM and the NHTSA on the investigation.


EPCM Contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. was awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract for the Chemicals 1 Envelope of Sadara Chemical Company, a joint venture under formation between affiliates of The Dow Chemical Company and Saudi Aramco. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The work is being performed by Jacobs’ offices in Manchester, U.K.; Mumbai, India; and Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Under the terms of the contract, Jacobs is providing front end engineering design (FEED) and detailed engineering services, in addition to procurement, inspection and delivery of equipment and bulk materials, as well as the overall construction management.

Ester Plant Contract

Jacobs Engineers Group Inc. has been awarded a contract from OXEA GmbH to provide detailed engineering, procurement support and support services during construction of a new ester production plant at OXEA’s existing manufacturing facility in Oberhausen, Germany. The contract value was not disclosed. The project is expected to come on stream in 2012. Jacobs is executing the project from its offices in Cologne, Germany and Mumbai, India.

Plant Closure

Australian environment officials ordered Orica Ltd., the world’s largest explosives maker, to shut down one of its plants after the company was charged over a gas leak that exposed a community to a cancer-causing compound. The EPA charged Orica with failing to properly operate the plant and failing to alert authorities fast enough about an incident in August. Orica could face up to $2 million in fines if convicted on both charges.


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