DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Nov. 14, 1 p.m. EST) — A major shake-up in the U.S. operations of blow molding equipment supplier Sig Plastics International GmbH of Essen, Germany, has created separate business units to focus on packaging and industrial markets.
Sig Plastics Technologies (USA) Inc. of North Branch, N.J. — formerly Krupp Plastics and Rubber Machinery (USA) Inc. — has taken on a veteran team of executives to strengthen its profile, particularly in PET injection stretch blow molding and extrusion blow molding machinery for consumer packaging.
With the retirement in June of John Antonopoulos, Sig PT president and chief executive officer, the company appointed Wolfgang Meyer president of its industrial molding division. Meyer, formerly president of Battenfeld GmbH's U.S. injection machinery business, heads local output of the Blowtec CP machines and sales of German-built equipment for markets such as plastic fuel tanks and other automotive components.
Tony Hooimeijer took on the presidency of Sig PT's newly formed packaging systems division. That unit sells Sig Corpoplast two-stage PET injection and stretch blow, Sig PETtec one-stage injection/stretch and the Sig Blowtec extrusion blow molding equipment.
The new Sig team also includes Mark Mulone, formerly with Werner & Pfleiderer, who was named sales vice president of Sig Corpoplast.
"The key change is driven by the markets,” Hooimeijer said. “Since the takeover by Sig, we should be market-focused and not technology-focused only.
"Historically, we've been very strong in the industrial blow molding area, but we have not had a very consistent strategy at the packaging extrusion blow molding end," Hooimeijer said.
In North America, Sig PT is tapping the current growth wave in PET blow molding. The division is offering service to the market of about 10 processors in that area, Hooimeijer said at K 2001 in Dusseldorf.
On the industrial side, Sig PT is in the business of enhancing its fuel-tank technology to meet the requirements of new vehicle-emission standards. The firm expects to announce technology breakthroughs in the next few months, according to Meyer.
His division also is at the forefront of developing equipment with 3-D technology for the automotive sector, Meyer said.
The third leg of the industrial division's activity — production of accumulator head blow molders — is seeing Sig PT broadening its customer base by developing smaller equipment. The company already claims a 30 percent market share for very large machines, Meyer said.
Restructuring within Sig Plastics in Europe is continuing as the company, part of the Swiss Sig industrial group, reorganizes manufacturing at Sig Blowtec GmbH. The unit has plants in Bonn and Troisdorf, Germany.
Today, the Blowtec operation in Bonn is split between industrial and packaging sector machinery, while the PETtec one-stage injection/stretch machines for PET bottles are built in Troisdorf.
Beginning in January, the Troisdorf plant will concentrate on packaging and the Bonn operation will focus on industrial-related machinery. Also, the trade name Kautex, which Sig dropped last year, will reappear.
In 2000, Sig Plastics International, which still includes aseptic filling and can-making machinery, achieved overall sales of 277 million euros ($246 million). Extrusion blow molding machines accounted for sales of 119 million euros ($106 million), and PET stretch blow molding equipment generated sales of 100 million euros ($89 million).
This year the company predicts its sales will be down 5-10 percent. PET stretch blow molding was slower in the first half-year, but is picking up to better the 2000 total, while North America showed the greatest overall slowdown, according to Sig Plastics CEO Werner Fillmann.