Dan Gelbart, Creo co-founder, named Reed Technology Medal recipient…Together at last: Dow completes Rohm and Haas purchase…News Briefs

Dan Gelbart, Creo co-founder, named Reed Technology Medal recipient

Printing Industries of America (PIA) has awarded Dan Gelbart the 2008 PIA Robert F. Reed Technology Medal. Gelbart, often credited as the father of modern computer-to-plate (CTP) technology for printing, accepted the award at a luncheon during the 2009 Technical Association for the Graphic Arts (TAGA) Annual Technical Conference in New Orleans on March 16.

Gelbart, who co-founded Creo Products Inc. in 1983, developed a number of CTP technologies over the years and played a key role in the transition from an analog, film-based workflow to the digital platemaking systems found in most shops today. Throughout his career, Gelbart was motivated by developing technology from the best of electronics, optics and precision mechanics, a passion that contributed significantly to more than 70 patents in plate handling, direct on-press imaging, flexographic methodology, process-less flexography and more. In that vein, Gelbart’s technological innovations and successes helped to grow Creo, which was later acquired by Kodak in 2005; Gelbart retired from Kodak in 2008.

Gelbart’s efforts have been recognized previously both within the scientific and research community and the graphic arts marketplace. He earned the B.C. Science Council Gold Medal in 1986, a GATF (now Printing Industries of America) InterTech Technology Award for Innovative Excellence in 1994 and the Gold Medal from the Institute of Printing in 1999.

First awarded in 1974, the Reed Medal perpetuates the memory of Robert F. Reed (1905-1973) whose contributions to the understanding of the lithographic processes and materials are considered the most significant and important made by any man of his time.

Together at last: Dow completes Rohm and Haas purchase

Dow Chemical finally completed its $16.5 billion acquisition of flexible packaging adhesive and coating manufacturer Rohm and Haas on April 1. The former Rohm and Haas operations will become the bulk of Dow’s newly formed Advanced Materials division, a diversified business group that Dow officials estimate will generate $14 billion in annual sales. Pierre Brondeau has been named president and chief executive officer of the new unit.

Dow first proposed the purchase of Rohm and Haas in July 2008 in a strategic effort to boost its presence in specialty chemicals while spinning off its commodities business to K-Dow Petrochemicals, a $17.4 billion joint venture with Kuwait Petroleum Corp. The partnership would create the capital necessary to close the Rohm and Haas deal, but the Kuwaitis, anxious over weakening petroleum sales and a slumping economy, canceled the contract. Denied billions in cash it expected to use in the Rohm and Haas transaction, Dow then tried to delay the acquisition, triggering a lawsuit filed by Rohm and Haas. The two companies announced March 9 that they had settled outside the courtroom, just hours before the case was to go to trial.

To close the sale, Dow reduced its dividend, made plans to lay off thousands of Rohm and Haas employees and extended the terms of a one-year bridge loan to finance the purchase of Rohm and Haas to two years. Dow remains optimistic that it can pay off the bridge loan by the end of 2009 and announced it was exercising its $500 million equity option with Haas Family Trusts and would be selling former Rohm assets, including Morton Salt for more than $1.6 billion. N

MPS introduces financing globally

After introducing the concept in Latin America, flexo press manufacturer MPS has introduced successful narrow web project financing on a global level. Tailored for the label printing industry, the MPS financing solution offers customers low interest rates, flexible terms and is supplementary to a printer’s local credit.

NatureWorks announces partnership, expansion plans

NatureWorks announced in March a partnership with Ashland Distribution to distribute NatureWorks’ Ingeo biopolymer in North America. The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company also announced that it was assessing locations for a second manufacturing plant, a much-needed addition based on current and projected growth as the push for sustainable packaging expands.

CAI Inc. adds technical sales staff

Georgetown, Mass.-based CAI Inc. has added Russell Greenhouse to its national technical sales staff. Russell has more than 30 years experience in all-fluid water and solvent packaging inks, flexo and gravure and was formerly with Fluid Ink as that company’s vice president and chief technical officer.

Steve Rach, Megtec senior account executive, retires

Steve Rach, senior account executive with De Pere, Wis.-based Megtec, retired April 1 after 39 years with the company. Rach joined TEC Systems, a predecessor company of MEGTEC, in 1970 as a designer/draftsman, shortly after the company was formed.

H.B. Fuller acquires Nordic Adhesives

St. Paul, Minn.-based H.B. Fuller Co. acquired Nordic Adhesives, a developer and manufacturer of flexible packaging adhesives based in Buxtehude, Germany. H.B. Fuller’s stock purchase gives the company access to all Nordic business operations, including the company’s innovative product line and technical expertise, as well as access to the northern European market. Nordic generated net revenue of approximately $9 million in 2008.