By: Bill Bregar
April 4, 2012
ORLANDO, FLA. (April 4, 7 p.m. ET) — Austria-based Engel Holding GmbH (Booth 943) enjoyed a record year, and the rebound in North American injection press sales played an important part, Engel officials said at NPE2012.
“It was the best year ever for the Engel group,” said Peter Neumann, president and CEO, at a press conference April 3. Engel, of Schwertberg, Austria, $1.1 billion in turnover for the fiscal year 2011-2012, which just ended on March 30.
The plastics machinery industry has bounced back fully from the Great Recession in 2009, he said.
Engel recently announced a 12 million euro ($15.8 million) expansion in Schwertberg.
At NPE2012, Engel is showing a wide range of technology, including liquid silicone rubber on a fast cycle, a “smart” center automotive console using the Clearmelt process and a capacitive foil, multicomponent molding, closures and several medical parts.
Mark Sankovitch, president of Engel Machinery Inc., the North American unit in York, Pa., said Engel’s U.S. business grew 30 percent. “For us here in the U.S., we’ve had a great year,” Sankovitch said.
He said customers are looking for complete systems, “not just a machine and a robot. They want everything married together,” Sankovitch said.
At the press conference, Sankovitch said Engel enjoyed good booth traffic on Monday, the first day of NPE2012—in Orlando for the first time after years in Chicago. “To really measure this, it’s going to take some time after the show. But right now it looks good,” he said.
The U.S. market is expected to reach 3,000 injection presses this year, Sankovitch said. That is a big jump from the low point of 2009, when U.S. shipments sank to just 1,285, measured by the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
For Engel companywide, Neumann said sales to Asia have increased more than 30 percent. Germany “is a very strong market,” especially in automotive, which is adopting new technology at a fast pace, he said.
Neumann said Engel just finished expanding its plant in China, and plans to invest in its South Korean factory.
Here is a sampling of Engel’s NPE2012 offerings:
• An e-Victory press running LSR diaphragms on a 64-cavity mold on a seven-second cycle. “Seven seconds in the thermoset world is extremely fast,” said Steve Broadbent, LSR/elastomer project engineer.
The parts are running in a valve gated mold with a cold runner supplied by ACH-Solution GmbH. ACH also supplied the special demolding device, which uses an aluminum brush to sweep the parts away without touching the mold.
Broadbent said Engel has reduced cycle time on the hybrid LSR press by using a hybrid machine, an all-electric injection unit and the Ecodrive system. Another speed-boosting feature is keeping cooling water on the nozzle all the way to the tip, so Engel can mold at higher temperatures, Broadbent said in the press conference.
• An all-electric press making an in-mold labeled, two-shot lid for an ice cream container. Christoph Steger, vice president for the packaging business unit, said the colored frame is first molded, followed by the clear top. The fame’s color can match the flavor—for example, a pink lid for strawberry ice cream.
• In another packaging application, another all-electric press is molding bottle caps. Neumann said that since the size and weight of caps has been pretty dramatic, cutting energy use—via all-electric molding—is one of the few remaining ways for processors to save money.
“We think in the future we will only have all-electric machines in the cap market,” he said.