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Volume 38, Issue 4, April 2003

News Now

GE Plastics Develops Clear LEXAN® EXL

Pittsfield, Mass.-based GE Plastics has announced the development of clear LEXAN EXL resin, a new transparent polymer. According to the company, the breakthrough product utilizes technology that dramatically increases the toughness of polycarbonate resin while maintaining its clarity. The innovation comes on the 50th anniversary of the original LEXAN, developed by Daniel W. Fox.

According to G.E. Plastics, LEXAN EXL resin builds on the mechanical properties of standard polycarbonate by adding silicone into its molecular structure with benefits of increased impact resistance, improved processability and release properties and better ultraviolet (UV) weatherability.

“This is an exciting breakthrough in materials technology,” said GE Plastics president and chief executive officer John Krenicki. “It is particularly exciting for us to make this announcement as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of LEXAN resin.”

John Dineen, vice president and general manager, agreed.

“We expect this new resin to find a fit in many places where polycarbonate and other transparent materials are used today,” Dineen said. “We also expect that this clear material can open up new application possibilities for us. Clear LEXAN EXL will serve as a product development platform, and we plan to introduce material upgrades to our general purpose, flame-retardant and UV-stabilized products.”

Tamglass and Bavelloni Announce Structure

At their first official event as “sister” companies, Finland’s Tamglass and Italy’s Z. Bavelloni held a press conference during GlassBuild America to discuss changes in their organizations. The venture, which was announced in late 2002, was made final on January 20, 2003. While both Tamglass and Z. Bavelloni remain part of the Kyro Corp., a separate business unit called Glaston Technologies has been formed, under which the two companies are now classified.

Through this venture the two companies will provide all processing services for glass so as to offer a “one-stop-shop” for customers. While all personnel remain on staff and company names stay the same, the two have merged their databases to share information. Customer service will be handled through one, centralized location.

Albat + Wirsam Offers Glasslink

Albat + Wirsam North America teamed with Glass Group Inc. to offer a system that provides seamless Internet processing of electronic orders. GlassLink™ is a purchase order management application provided to fabricators for dealer customers that do not have enterprise systems capable of creating purchase orders electronically. Electronic orders are received through ALFAK 2000™, confirmed and transferred to production.

According to James Gulnick, sales and key account manager for Albat + Wirsam, at the fabricator [level] ALFAK 2000 manages customer, supplier, product and pricing data, as well as creating and managing quotation, order, production, shipping, invoice, credit and management documents and reports.

“A major fabricator without tempering capabilities can use GlassLink to create and manage its purchase orders and transmit them via the Internet to the fabricator that has ALFAK 2000,” said Gulnick.

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Vitro Takes Steps to Reduce Debt

Monterrey, Mexico-based Vitro has announced that it hopes to reduce its debt levels by up to $70 million and make savings of $40 million through operations efficiencies that include job cuts.

“We have a plan to reduce debt by between $50 million and $70 million this year,” said Vitro finance director Claudio del Valle.

The company closed 2002 with a debt totaling $1,455 billion, down $161 million from the previous year.

In the wake of the war in Iraq, chief executive officer Federico Sada said that the company would continue to sell off its nonstrategic assets and reduce costs.

“We are taking effective measures, principally in the area of reducing costs,” he said. “We are placing more emphasis on productivity of each and every one of our operations and on introducing new systems [and] updating processes that seek to slim down our workforce.”