Toshiba taps industry vet Chuck Gorman as national sales manager

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Plastics industry veteran Charles Chuck Gorman has been named as national sales manager of Toshiba Machine Co. America’s injection molding division, said Canplastics.

As national sales manager, Gorman is responsible for supporting the efforts of Toshiba’s Machine’s network of outside sales reps, inside sales team and technical sales group. "Our goal is to steadily increase market share in the U.S. and Canada for both our all-electric as well as servo hydraulic machines," he said.

Among his prior positions, Gorman owned and managed Florida Plastics Machinery, a rep agency selling a broad range of systems, including those from Toshiba Machine, for 20 years. He also worked at TriMech, a supplier of additive manufacturing systems sold to manufacturers, the U.S. military and educational institutions.

"During his four years with Toshiba, Chuck has done an outstanding job helping us grow business throughout the southwestern U.S. and Latin America,” Toshiba Machine Co. general manager and vice president Thomas McKevitt said. “We’re confident Chuck has the expertise to take on this new challenge and help us maintain our leadership position in North America."

Headquartered in Elk Grove, Ill., Toshiba Machine Co. America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Toshiba Machine Co. Ltd. The company’s injection molding machines division designs and builds electric, hydraulic, and hybrid molding machines ranging from 25 to 4000 tons.

AceTronic organizing one-day tabletop show for plastics processors

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AceTronic Industrial Controls is organizing a one-day tabletop trade show designed to address some of the common problems facing injection molders, blowmolders, extruders, and other plastic processors, said Canplastics.

Called AceConnex, the show will take place on May 9 at the Double Tree By Hilton Toronto Airport West in Mississauga, Ont.

"The goal of AceConnex is to provide a platform whereby industry specific manufacturers, along with service providers, will be able to offer solutions to address our customers’ current problems," said AceTronic president Kim Thiara. “The majority of trades shows today are being convoluted with a variety of other industries and the emphasis on plastic processing either gets lost or is non-existent. Our customers deal with daily breakdowns and maintenance related issues stemming from a variety of areas, such as water flow, cleaning, purging, temperature control, insulation/heat loss, pressure build-up, cable/wiring hook-ups, and scrap material. AceConnex will provide solutions to these and a variety of other common plastic manufacturing problems."

The show will offer a breakfast, lunch and, dinner, with product presentations and networking opportunities throughout the day.

AceTronic is headquartered in Mississauga, and supplies industrial controls, mold components, heaters and heater accessories, and other products for the plastics industry.

Sanctions on Venezuelas oil firm sends U.S. refiners scrambling

MOSCOW (MRC) - Venezuela’s revenues from oil sales to the United States have come under severe threat as sweeping sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm has sent U.S. buyers scrambling for replacements, said Reuters.

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., known as PDVSA, to cripple the OPEC member’s oil shipments, which account for nearly all of Venezuela’s exports, in response to the reelection of socialist President Nicolas Maduro, a vote widely viewed as fraudulent.

Washington has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s head of state. U.S. refineries that depend on Venezuela’s heavy crude are turning to domestic sour crude grades to offset the impact, sending prices to the strongest in about five years WTC-MRS, traders said. Other potential alternatives from Canada, Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America are hard to secure amid slowing production, limited spare capacity and transportation bottlenecks, traders said.

Broader oil futures prices found some support on news of sanctions but the market reaction was largely muted as a lack of investment, mismanagement and fleeing workers have already driven the OPEC-member’s oil production to the lowest in almost seven decades.

PDVSA is seeking to sidestep Trump administration sanctions restricting payments for its oil by asking major buyers, including U.S. refiners, to renegotiate contracts, four sources involved in the talks said. The United States is Venezuela’s biggest oil customer, importing, on average, about 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude in 2018, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

"The region with the biggest shortfall of Venezuelan crudes, either through sanctions or inadvertently through further production declines is the U.S.," said Michael Tran, commodity strategist at RBC Capital Markets, in a note.

The Trump administration sanctions allow U.S. companies to buy Venezuelan oil, but the proceeds of such sales will be put in a “blocked account." Because of this, PDVSA is likely to quickly stop shipping much crude to the United States, its top client. Overnight, Maduro said cargoes loaded for the United States that had not already been paid for could not depart.

"There’s going to be appetite around the world to take Venezuelan oil," Zachary Rogers, an oil markets analyst at consultancy Wood Mackenzie said. Venezuela will likely be forced to offer steep discounts and increase shipments to Russia, China and India to try and make up for lost revenues from its top market, traders and analysts said.

Its output has been cut in half since 2016 to near 70-year lows to less than 1.2 million bpd, according to figures from OPEC secondary sources, due to a major cash crunch. As a result, the U.S. share of its exports has declined in recent years, with more shipments going to Russia and China made largely through oil-for-debt repayment structures.

Venezuela can prioritize exports to Asia, but it is the most competitive battleground on the planet, RBC Capital’s Tran said, adding that while they remain the second largest market for Venezuelan crudes, the Chinese have also tapered its buying from Caracas over the past two years.

ExxonMobil to proceed with new crude unit as part of refinery expansion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil said that it has reached a final investment decision and started construction on a new unit at its Beaumont, Texas refinery that will increase crude refining capacity by more than 65 percent, or 250,000 barrels per day, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The third crude unit within the facility’s existing footprint will expand light crude oil refining, supported by the increased crude oil production in the Permian Basin.

"With access to terminals, railways, pipelines and waterways nearby, the Beaumont refinery is strategically positioned to benefit from Permian production growth," said Bryan Milton, president of ExxonMobil Fuels and Lubricants Company. "The addition of a third crude unit in Beaumont will enhance the refinery’s competitive position and truly establish it as a leader in the US refining industry."

Startup of the new unit is anticipated by 2022. The project is expected to create up to 1,850 jobs during construction and between 40 and 60 permanent jobs once completed.

ExxonMobil previously announced plans to build and expand manufacturing facilities in the US Gulf region as part of its Growing the Gulf initiative. Growing the Gulf projects include expansion of Beaumont’s polyethylene capacity by 65 percent, a new unit in Beaumont that increases production of ultra-low sulfur fuels, and a new 1.5 million ton-per-year ethane cracker at the company’s integrated Baytown chemical and refining complex in Texas. ExxonMobil and SABIC have also created a new joint venture to advance the development of the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project, a 1.8 million metric ton ethane cracker currently planned for construction in San Patricio County, Texas.

ExxonMobil’s integrated operations in Beaumont include a 366,000 barrel-per-day capacity refinery, as well as chemical, lubricants and polyethylene plants. ExxonMobil has approximately 2,100 employees in the Beaumont area and its operations account for approximately 1 in every 7 jobs in the region.

As MRC reported earlier, in October 2017, ExxonMobil Chemical Company commenced production on the first of two new 650,000 tons-per-year high-performance polyethylene (PE) lines at its plastics plant in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The full project, part of the company’s multi-billion dollar expansion project in the Baytown area and ExxonMobil’s broader Growing the Gulf expansion initiative, will increase the plant’s polyethylene capacity by approximately 1.3 million tons per year.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Davis-Standard adding lab capabilities to its technical centre

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Extrusion machinery maker Davis-Standard LLC is making lab capability upgrades to its technical centre in Pawcatuck, Conn, said Canplastics.

By the end of the first quarter of 2019, Davis-Standard will offer trials for its Davis-Standard Helibar groove feed extruder and the DS Activ-Check control system for continuous extruder monitoring.

"These technologies have been proven in the field and we’re pleased to offer experimentation in our technical centre," said John Christiano, Davis-Standard’s vice president of extrusion. "We’re firm believers in partnering with customers to make processes better and in maximizing their capital investments. I am eager for customers to use both the Helibar and Activ-Check in establishing performance baselines during real-world trials."

The Helibar extruder is the next generation in Davis-Standard’s groove feed extruder offering. The dimensions of the extruder in the lab will be 65 mm with a 36:1 L/D. With the Helibar design, helical grooves inside the barrel run along the entire barrel bore – the technology can increase extruder output rates while improving energy efficiency and reducing barrel and screw wear.

The company’s DS Activ-Check system, meanwhile, will be mounted on a 4.5-inch (114 mm) extruder. "Using a continuous monitoring platform, the DS Activ-Check strengthens preventative and predictive maintenance for extruder operation,” Christiano said. “Operators can monitor key mechanical and electrical components of the extruder and gearbox and receive early notification of potential component failure to prevent unscheduled downtime. Users can obtain notifications via e-mail and text, and can remotely monitor conditions via smart devices or remote PCs."

Davis-Standard designs, develops, and distributes extrusion and converting technology. The company has manufacturing and technical facilities in the U.S., Canada, China, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Davis-Standard is represented in Canada by Auxiplast Inc., of Sainte-Julie, Que.