Cincinnati Milacron Inc. has named William Gruber, former general manager of Milacron's Consumable Products Division, vice president of U.S. Plastics Machinery. Separately, Milacron reported its 1995 sales of plastics machinery hit $570 million, a record high, despite a slight slowdown in the fourth quarter.
Milacron appointed Gruber, a 23-year Milacron veteran, to the position in plastics equipment last November, but did not announce the news until Feb. 14. November also marked a major move by Milacron to enter the market in plastics machinery for consumables - industrial products that are used, then replenished - when Milacron bought D-M-E Co., a large manufacturer of standard mold components.
D-M-E, with annual sales of $175 million, makes mold bases, hot-runner parts and other products. Cincinnati-based Milacron paid $260 million for D-M-E, based in Madison Heights, Mich. D-M-E is highly profitable. According to a report by machinery analyst Mark Koznarek of Roulston Research Corp. in Cleveland, D-M-E's operating margins were 14.5 percent in its fiscal year that ended in June. Koznarek said D-M-E has 50 percent of the North American mold equipment market.
Gruber's former division, Consumable Products, handles products for metalworking, such as carbide inserts, drill bits, grinding wheels and fluids used to cool metal parts being milled. In recent years, Milacron has been expanding this sector of its business through acquisition.
``Strategically, it fits well,'' Gruber said of D-M-E.
In his new position, Gruber has overall responsibility for all of Milacron's U.S. plastics machinery, including injection and blow molding machines, specialty equipment, contract services and parts. He reports to Harold Faig, group vice president of plastics machinery worldwide.
Gruber started out at Milacron in the machine tool division, working there for 10 years. In 1982, he transferred to the consumable side, working there until his move to plastics machinery. His experience is in operations and product management and market analysis.
``I'm very familiar with the capital goods side and the consumables side,'' he said.
Milacron released its year-end financial numbers on Feb. 14. The company said 1995 plastics machinery sales of $570 million and operating profit of $54.3 million were record highs. The unit's operating margin rose to 9.5 percent of sales, from 9.1 percent the year before.
Plastics machinery sales did decline by 4 percent in the fourth quarter, because of a slowdown in demand from auto-makers and appliance manufacturers, the company said.
Companywide, Milacron reported 1995 sales of $1.65 billion, a 38 percent increase over 1994 sales. Profit was $105.6 million, up from $37.7 million in 1994. The 1995 profit figure includes two divestitures, including an after-tax gain of $52.4 million from selling the firm's Electronic Systems Division.
Daniel Meyer, chairman and chief executive, noted the expansion in consumable industrial products in his statement accompanying the financial results.
``Less than half of our sales this year will be capital goods, while the majority will consist of consumable products, replacement parts and services,'' he said. ``This improved mix will reduce cyclically and give us more consistent cash flow and earnings.''