Thermoforming press makers Lyle Industries Inc. and Gabler Maschinenbau GmbH say their new partnership signals the blurring of the line between packaging production technologies in the United States and Europe. The deal gives Lyle access to trim-in-place technology, which is gaining a foothold in the U.S. market.
Beaverton, Mich.-based Lyle and Gabler of Lubeck, Germany, will share a booth at NPE 2000, the June trade show in Chicago.
Lyle now is the exclusive agent for Gabler machines in North America. Gabler will act as Lyle's agent in Europe. In the future, they will establish a marketing organization for the rest of the world.
The chance to share technology and work together on research and development was a big factor linking the privately held companies, according to Gary Sowden, Lyle's marketing director.
Gabler's trim-in-place technology automatically trims packaging, such as tubs and cups, in the same mold in which they were formed. Trim-in-place formers are used widely in Europe.
Gabler gains Lyle's expertise in high-volume, roll-fed thermoforming machines with wide beds. Historically, U.S. packaging suppliers have favored mass-production machines that pop out huge quantities of parts that must be finished in a post-form trim press.
"The whole bottom line is, you've got to make a lot of parts in a hurry," Sowden said.
But Sowden said trim-in-place machines are starting to catch on here. Trim-in-place formers can run at high speeds, although they make fewer parts in each cycle than the post-form type of machine, he said.
At the same time, Sowden said, the evolution of a single European market has prompted some thermoformers there to look at U.S.-style machinery. For example, he said, instead of making a small number of unique margarine tubs for each country, companies are making a large number of standard tubs for all of Europe.
At NPE 2000, the companies will demonstrate a Gabler specialty, a machine that forms polypropylene lids.
Lyle also makes bottle-trimming equipment and machines that thermoform crystalline PET.
Sowden said both companies make cut-in-place machines, which first score the part's edges in the mold, then cleanly knock out parts after the molding process.
Lyle and Gabler announced the partnership March 7.