CHICAGO (July 11, 10:10 a.m. EDT) — Krupp Kunststofftechnik GmbH of Essen, Germany, came to NPE 2000 with a new owner, new equipment, and an eye on several growing markets for its blow molding technology.
SIG Group of Neuhausen Rhine Falls, Switzerland, announced back on May 2 that it had purchased the machinery company from Thyssen Krupp AG for $178 million. SIG, with $1.3 billion in annual sales, specializes in — among other things — technology for packaging and processing foods such as confections and baked goods.
SIG saw Krupp as its ticket into the mushrooming PET bottle market. Now with SIG behind it, Krupp is focusing on providing a wider spectrum of packaging machinery.
"We feel we have to start developing coating systems. We definitely will go into the filling and labeling business," said Krupp President Werner Fillman. "We would like to be a system manufacturer and come nearer to our final customer."
Krupp is not excluding the beer market as a target, Fillman hinted.
"We want to develop as an industry manufacturer for the whole line," he said during a news conference at the Chicago show.
John Antonopoulos, president of Krupp Rubber & Plastics Machinery Inc. in North Branch, N.J., said the strongest growth markets in PET machinery are single- and two-stage machines for heat-set, water, wide-mouth and beer applications.
At NPE, the company introduced the Ecomax 10/2 single-stage machine, which was developed by Krupp Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH and Krupp Corpoplast Maschinenbau GmbH for two market segments. Krupp Kautex — which specializes in PET machinery — markets its abilities for customized bottles for such products as edible oils, household chemicals and body-care products. Krupp Corpoplast promotes its single-stage machine for production of various drink bottles.
Antonopoulos said the preferential heating feature of the Ecomax is ideal for heating odd-shaped products such as oval containers.
Also debuting was the Blowmax 16D by Krupp Corpoplast. That machine, Antonopoulos said, should serve beverage-bottle markets, with the capacity to produce 42,000 bottles per hour.
"This has applications for water, carbonated beverages and beer at high volumes," he said.
Another feature of the Blowmax is that it inverts preforms in the mold so as not to contaminate bottles with foreign objects that may fall inside. The machine is made for three-quarter-liter containers and smaller.
On the extrusion blow molding side of Krupp's business, the company introduced the Flat Desk 3D by Fischer-W. Muller. The unit does sequential coextrusion of parts like multilayer automotive fuel pipes.
"Plastic filler pipes will be one of the fastest-growing markets; that's why this machine is so very exciting," Antonopoulos said. "The flat-desk principle means the machine design does not have a clamp. Then you don't have the hydraulics associated with a clamp and you don't have any noise associated with hydraulics.
"It's very easy to make very sophisticated parts."
Fillman said Krupp and its subsidiaries eventually may focus more energy on coating technologies to serve larger beverage markets like beer.
"Today SIG is not active in beer — the main applications are milk, fruit juice and aseptic (packaging)," he said. "Aseptic is a new market, but beer is larger.
"It will come — not fast, but it will come."
Headquarters for the new SIG holdings has not been decided, Fillman said, but it probably will be in Germany.
Krupp's sales, with all four of the businesses acquired by SIG, were about $220 million last year.