Two years after their U.S. operations split into separate buildings in Strongsville, injection press builders Van Dorn Demag Corp. and Demag Ergotech GmbH are back together - this time with a closer, more unified structure for North America.
The move means machines will be sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico with a common Van Dorn Demag name, and the signature colors of the Strongsville company. Officials said they will be flexible if multinational companies want one or the other company's ``look'' on a machine.
The partners will work together to develop integrated machine controllers, and future second-generation all-electric technology.
The two are sister companies under Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG - which parent company Siemens AG announced July 26 would be sold to leveraged buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Van Dorn and Demag Ergotech officials announced the combination of their North American marketing, sales and service functions at a July 24 news conference. Schwaig, Germany-based Demag Ergotech will move out of its leased, 26,000-square-foot U.S. service and technical center and into Van Dorn Demag headquarters a few miles away.
``It'll be completely integrated,'' said Bill Carteaux, Van Dorn Demag's president and chief executive officer.
He said all 20 Strongsville-based Ergotech employees will move to the Van Dorn Demag building.
In the past, Van Dorn Demag sold German-made Demag Ergotech machines here, and Demag Ergotech sold the U.S.-made Van Dorn presses in Europe. But at NPE 2000, Demag Ergotech USA announced it would begin reporting directly to Demag Ergotech, and would set up a separate U.S. headquarters.
The two companies have a history of working together on machine design and marketing. At the news conference, officials cited joint development of Van Dorn's two-platen press, the Caliber - known as the Ergotech Maxx in Europe - and the all-electric IntElect press.
Carteaux, who was promoted to the top spot July 16, said the two companies ``were never truly unified,'' even when they had the same sales force, housed in the same building. ``The relationship never did reach the full potential,'' he said.
Some Van Dorn-brand presses, the small-tonnage Cadence line, already are made in Germany and painted in Van Dorn colors.
Helmar Franz, executive managing director of Demag Ergotech, said North American customers perceived that Van Dorn Demag and Demag Ergotech were a single company, even after the split in 2000.
At the time the U.S. market was booming, and Franz said Ergotech executives thought a separate group could focus better on customers. Now the market has crashed.
``And to have an identity just for the sake of having an identity is not enough,'' Franz told reporters.
Franz said Ergotech's contribution will be technology, such as fast-cycling precision machines like the hybrid-powered El-Exis press, multicolor molding presses and complete production cells. Van Dorn Demag, which began making injection presses in 1945, brings a well-known brand and broad sales and service.
``We will fully integrate our sales force and service force ... into the existing structure of Van Dorn,'' Franz said.
Scott Kroeger, vice president of sales and marketing of Van Dorn Demag, said the companies now offer a broad range of equipment.
``We're looking at the high-end, high-speed markets, high-precision molding in electronics and medical markets.
``We see applications down the road in micromolding - again, more high-technology markets that [Van Dorn officials] typically haven't participated a great deal in.''
Rick Shaffer, who led Demag Ergotech USA as vice president and general manager, recently left to take the top U.S. position at Netstal Machinery Inc. in Devens, Mass. Carteaux said that post will not be filled.