DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - Despite German machine company grumbling over high domestic labor costs, Krauss-Maffei Kunststoff-technik GmbH said it will invest about $35 million to renovate a former foundry at its Munich, Germany, headquarters to expand injection press production. The major renovation will create room to manufacture the firm's C range of injection molding machines and extruders, and to expand a laboratory during the next three years, according to Krauss-Maffei officials at a K'95 news conference in Dusseldorf.
The quality of Krauss-Maffei's German work force ``more than compensates for the high cost of labor in Germany,'' said Wilhelm Schroder, managing director of the company.
German complaints about labor costs have marked this K show, coming after a European recession and a new national contract for Germany's IG Metall that gives the metalworking union's 3 million members wage hikes and shorter working hours. Many German firms are studying whether to move some production out of Germany.
Krauss-Maffei's U.S. unit in Florence, Ky., is housed in a large industrial building with overhead cranes. Currently the Ken-tucky facility serves as a sales and service office. Schroder said the company has made no final decision on whether to build injection presses in the United States.
``It's a subject we're looking into, but it's somewhat theoretical at this point,'' he said. ``There aren't any concrete projects at this point that I can tell you about.''
Fueled by strong exports, Krauss-Maffei expects its orders for plastics machinery to grow 15 percent in 1995, coming on the heels of 18 percent growth in 1994. Sales should increase 12 percent this year, Schroder said.
Krauss-Maffei showed a number of new machines in injection, extrusion and reaction injection molding at K'95:
The latest CD-2000-Liner compact disc production system, guaranteed to produce 18,000 CDs in 24 hours. A C-Series press was molding CDs with a cycle time of 3.9 seconds, using the company's patented device that removes the disc and sprue and perforates the center of the CD as the mold opens just a fraction of an inch.
A new, two-platen version of the M series called the MC series. Because it has only two platens, floor-space requirements have been reduced by about one-third, which translates into big savings since the MC machines are large, with clamping forces from 1,124 tons to 4,500 tons.
Another two-platen press, the KM 650-8000 C, was making bottle crates on a two-cavity mold, each turning out one half of a crate. The press featured an electric screw drive and a compact clamping unit.
A new MC3-F controller, with a 32-bit computer that processes information at higher speeds.
In extrusion, the company, best known for making pipe, profile and compounding extruders, was touting its ability to make lines for foamed and unfoamed PVC sheet, as wide as 80 inches. The company sells single- and twin-screw extruders. It also displayed a new C4 controller.
In RIM, Krauss-Maffei has expanded its RIM-Star mixing and metering machine, called the RIM-Star 2000, with a newly designed heat-exhanger for the component tanks.
An automated line was running at the Krauss-Maffei booth showing a robot applying glass fibers, cut directly at the mix head and metered into the polyurethane mix into the mold, to make a car interior panel. The company said this can replace the traditional system, in which a glass-fiber mat is placed into the mold and PU injected in a second step. The mat can move around in that process, causing quality problems, according to the company.