Solid North American sales of Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH's C range of injection presses have prompted German executives to consider assembling in the United States.
K-M's U.S. unit, Krauss-Maffei Corp. in Florence, Ky., has reached its goal of selling 200 C machines a year.
``The C machine is definitely the leading technology in the hydraulic market in the U.S.,'' said Wolfgang Vogl, chairman of Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG. Krauss-Maffei, in Munich, Germany, is part of MPM.
Krauss-Maffei's Kentucky facility, opened in 1985, imports machines from Germany. In a telephone interview two weeks before K'98, Vogl was asked about future U.S. assembly. ``We are investigating it on a quite intensive basis,'' he said.
Vogl echoed earlier comments by Wilhelm Schroder, chairman of Krauss-Maffei's managing board. Speaking in Munich at a June pre-K show press conference, Schroder said: ``We do think it is possible to build machines in the United States and sell the machines in the United States.''
In 1993, Mannesmann AG landed its first U.S. manufacturing base when it purchased Van Dorn Plastic Machinery Co. in Strongsville, Ohio. Van Dorn was renamed Van Dorn Demag Corp. to reflect its working relationship with Demag Ergotech GmbH in Germany. Both companies sell each other's machines in their respective markets.
On Jan. 1, Mannesmann AG formed Mannesmann Plastics Machinery to link all the machinery makers. Given that development, could Van Dorn Demag's Ohio factory be picked to assemble Krauss-Maffei machines?
Vogl said no. ``We will definitely not assemble [Krauss-Maffei machines] at that facility. That is not envisaged,'' he said. But he added that a Krauss-Maffei assembly plant could source some Van Dorn Demag components, such as screws.
Krauss-Maffei AG makes a variety of other products, including military tanks, weapons systems and train locomotives.
Cletus von Pichler, the top Krauss-Maffei AG executive who led a recent restructuring that merged several of the nonplastics divisions, is leaving K-M — and its parent, Mannesmann AG — on Nov. 30.
Von Pichler, who spent 24 years as a Mannesmann AG executive, was involved in the decision to buy Van Dorn. Contacted by telephone Oct. 5, von Pichler said parting was amicable, since he has finished his job reorganizing K-M.
Von Pichler, who strongly supports running the MPM machinery brands as autonomous competitors, said he approves of how MPM is working so far.
``I'm quite pleased,'' he said. ``It was a difficult task.''