German injection press maker Fahr-Bucher GmbH is getting out of the new-machine business and selling its sales and service operations to Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH.
Fahr-Bucher's factory in Gottmadingen, Germany, will close at the end of this year, idling 70 workers. Krauss-Maffei, the Munich, Germany-based unit of Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG, picks up Fahr-Bucher Service GmbH, also in Gottmadingen. That business employs 30 and generates about $7 million in sales annually, Fahr-Bucher said.
In an Aug. 10 news release, Fahr-Bucher blamed its downfall on its status as a small niche player, plus ``continued erosion of prices and margins'' in plastics machinery. The company is part of the Swiss industrial conglomerate Bucher Holding AG.
Fahr-Bucher President Robert Naville said the company's strong position in thermoset machines has been eroded by larger competitors. The firm tried moving into high-speed thermoplastics presses, but that segment also is highly competitive.
``It's just too small to survive in this industry,'' Naville said in an Aug. 17 telephone interview from Gottmadingen.
An official of Krauss-Maffei Corp. in Florence, Ky., referred questions to Krauss-Maffei executives in Munich. Hans Wobbe, managing director, could not be reached for comment.
Fahr-Bucher makes thermoset injection presses in clamping forces of 120-500 tons and thermoplastic presses of 120-520 tons.
``Krauss-Maffei's not going to build these Fahr-Bucher machines. They bought Fahr-Bucher Service,'' Naville said.
In North America, spare parts and service will continue to be handled by Apex Plastic Technologies Inc. of Buffalo Grove, Ill., according to Apex President Taras Konowal. On July 1, that company was created by a management buyout of the former Bucher Inc., which had been Fahr-Bucher's wholly owned subsidiary.
Konowal said Apex has an exclusive, five-year agreement with Fahr-Bucher.
Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG has annual sales of about $1.3 billion.