Two extruder makers, Coperion Corp. and Davis-Standard Corp., are teaming up to supply complete systems that do direct in-line extrusion. Coperion compounding extruders will feed material to Davis-Standard downstream equipment, turning out sheet, film, adhesives and other products.
Coperion and Davis-Standard announced the alliance during a May 7 news conference at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Annual Technical Conference in San Francisco. The deal was finalized just a few days before Antec 2002, said Michael Kenny, Coperion president and chief executive officer.
The agreement covers the North American Free Trade Agreement countries of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Kenny said the companies could provide production lines outside of NAFTA if, for example, a U.S. customer wanted to do in-line extrusion at a plant outside the region.
Traditionally, extrusion processors buy compounded material from another company, then feed the pellets through their own extruders to form finished products. In-line extrusion saves money since the processor does compounding in-house. Other advantages include better quality control and the elimination of an extra heat history, according to Coperion and Davis-Standard.
``This is taking a company that is a leader in the extrusion step and a company that is a leader in the compounding step and putting the two together,'' Kenny said at the news conference.
Konstanz, Germany-based Coperion, with a U.S. headquarters factory in Ramsey, N.J., supplies Werner & Pfleiderer compounding extruders, which are co-rotating, intermeshing twin-screw machines; as well as Buss kneaders.
Davis-Standard, based in Pawcatuck, Conn., produces a range of extrusion equipment, including counter-rotating twin-screw extruders for making pipe and profiles, single-screw extruders and blown film lines.
Neither company has done well in the in-line extrusion business, officials acknowledged during the news conference. Asmut Kahns, Coperion's vice president of sales and marketing, said the company has sold some in-line systems, but always struggled to find the downstream equipment to provide the complete, one-package systems wanted by customers. Davis-Standard, on the other hand, now has stopped making twin-screw compounding extruders, said John Christiano, director of extrusion process technology. He said Davis-Standard will continue to support its existing twin-screw compounders in the field.
But Davis-Standard is a strong player in extrusion systems and downstream equipment such as film-takeoff systems, officials of both companies said.
Under the deal, Coperion becomes Davis-Standard's exclusive supplier of co-rotating twin-screw compounding extruders, using the W&P ZSK machine line, and single-screw reciprocating compounders using the Buss kneader. Davis-Standard, in turn, will be the exclusive NAFTA-region supplier of in-line compounding systems using the equipment.
Both companies will set up a demonstration line at Davis-Standard's technical center in Pawcatuck.
Executives of two in-line extrusion competitors, also exhibiting at Antec, said direct extrusion remains a niche market, but one with a growing popularity.
``It's pretty specialized, but the lines can be substantial. One line can be $3 million or more,'' said Charlie Martin, general manager of American Leistritz Extruder Corp. of Somerville, N.J.
Leistritz has been focusing on direct-extrusion systems for eight years, Martin said.
Peter Hunziker, vice president of sales and marketing at Berstorff Corp., said greater understanding of the technology will encourage more processors to convert. Berstorff of Florence, Ky., has sold direct-extrusion machines to customers producing roofing membranes and automotive parts from thermoplastic olefins and vinyl.
Hunziker said Berstorff also markets the technology to thermoformers - where a compounding machine feeds into a sheet line, then directly into a thermoforming machine.