DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Nov. 8, 3:55 p.m. EST) — Milacron Inc.'s blow molding machinery unit, Uniloy Milacron, plans to build shuttle machines at the Milacron Plastics Technologies Group headquarters plant in Batavia, Ohio.
In other news, Uniloy Milacron laid off about 15 parts fabrication workers at its Los Angeles parts and service operation. The layoffs were part of a reshuffling of satellite operations, as some work has been moved back to the Uniloy Milacron headquarters in Manchester, Mich.
Uniloy Milacron has made the shuttle blow molding machines at factories in Europe. But now the company has formed a business group in Batavia to build shuttle machines for the North American market, according to Rich Morgan, manager of business development for industrial and shuttle machinery.
“Milacron now is making a big push in the shuttle side,” Morgan said at K 2001 in Dusseldorf.
Uniloy Milacron continues to make shuttle machines in Europe. Economic pressures have forced the company in recent years to close blow molding machinery factories in Berlin and in Florence, Italy, and shift work to another plant in Italy and one in the Czech Republic. Milacron bought the Uniloy business in 1998 from Johnson Controls Inc.
Dewayne Phillips, vice president of sales and marketing at Uniloy Milacron, said the company had been making some continuous extrusion shuttle machines at the Michigan factory. But because Uniloy Milacron added a new line of PET blow molding machines in 2000 made in Manchester, officials decided to transfer the shuttle work to Batavia instead. The Manchester plant already was building reciprocating-screw blow molding machines and continuous-extrusion, vertical wheel machines.
On the satellite operations side, Phillips confirmed the layoffs in California. He said those employees fabricated basic parts such as blow pins — work that has been brought back to Manchester. Uniloy Milacron decided it didn't make sense to fabricate parts in California. He said the company continues to maintain parts distribution at the location.
Also, the company has moved its East Coast parts center into a smaller facility, in Somerville, N.J. Phillips said machinery rebuilding was discontinued there and will be done out of Manchester.
In 2000, Uniloy Milacron closed a parts distribution center in Atlanta. Phillips said more than half the parts ordered through Atlanta ended up coming from Manchester, anyway.
“So we basically decided the Atlanta facility served no purpose and we closed it last year,” he said.
Phillips, former vice president of sales at blow molder Constar Inc., joined Uniloy Milacron in 2000.
He said the Uniloy Milacron moves are in line with other equipment suppliers facing difficult markets.
“I don't think you can find a competitor in capital equipment manufacturing that hasn't laid people off,” he said in a telephone interview.