Although output of German-built plastics processing machines has seen a dramatic downturn this year, injection press maker Arburg GmbH & Co. continues to invest at its plant in Lossburg, Germany.
The company is spending about $23.5 million to add a tie-bar production line.
``Because the market is down, Arburg is continuing to invest internally. One of those investments is the recent beginning of our own production line for all tie bars, from the smallest machines to the biggest machines,'' said Frank Davis, managing director of subsidiary Arburg Ltd. in Warwick, England.
Speaking at Interplas 2002 in Birmingham, Davis said Arburg already has begun operating ``a complete [tie-bar] production line from raw materials to finished product'' for the full Arburg press range. The line supplies about 60 percent of Arburg's tie bars.
During the past two years, the German supplier has been expanding its range of models to include heavier-tonnage machines, and is due to launch its largest so far, a 440-ton press, this month.
In 2000, Arburg completed a $59 million investment with a new, 390,000-square-foot building in Lossburg. The addition took the plant's total production area to 1.3 million square feet, and enabled the firm to make larger presses and manufacture a new range of Multilift robots.
Despite the expansion, Arburg has not escaped unscathed in the recent market plunge. In 2000 the supplier increased its annual sales about 23 percent to 356 million euros ($349 million), but last year the figure was down more than 8 percent to 326 million euros ($319 million).
Nevertheless, the company is determined to compete in the particularly tight marketplace in Europe. For a supplier unwilling to offer dramatic discounts to maintain sales, the British market is tougher than most.
``Some suppliers are making extremely silly deals and quite frankly, it's killing the industry as a whole,'' Davis said.
The company, which claims a 32 percent market share in its traditional press range of up to 220 tons, sees a radical change in customers' buying habits.
``What's missing in the United Kingdom is the sub-100-ton multiple order. Three or four years ago, we got regular orders of four, five, six or 10 machines, but now, it's orders of two or three machines and you've really got to do the business,'' Davis said.