The soft U.S. market that began in the second half of 2000 continues to plague plastics machinery suppliers in 2002, although sales at least have bottomed out, officials said.
Through mid-November, 2002 was marked by layoffs and shuffling around of production. Still, all major machinery makers remained standing.
The big news for 2002 is the ownership change at the giant Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG. Time will tell if Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. will be the barbarians at the injection gate, or a more benign owner that builds up the six MPM units.
People news came as fast as technology news in the year before NPE. Tsukasa Yoda, the leader of Japanese injection press giant Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd., and thermoforming pioneer Gaylord Brown passed away.
Kurt Fenske retired as Engel North America's longtime vice president of sales and marketing and William G. Pryor retired as president of Van Dorn Demag Corp.
Engel Vertriebsgessellschaft mbH spent the fall drying out, as floods damaged its headquarters plant in Austria.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. announced its first across-the-board layoffs, axing 300 jobs, or about 10 percent of its work force.
Ending 25 years of American Maplan extruder assembly in McPherson, Kan., SMS Plastics Technology said it would move Maplan's manufacturing to Gloucester, Mass., the home of sister firm and film maker Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc.
Japanese injection press maker Ube Machinery Corp. Ltd. announced it was building a 2,000-ton, all-electric injection molding machine - the largest ever.
Milacron Inc. bought a small German maker of twin-screw extruders, Compounding Processing Machinery GmbH.
Thermoforming machinery pioneer Gaylord Brown died. He founded Brown Machine in 1952.
Negri Bossi SpA bought a competing Italian injection press maker, BM Biraghi SpA.
Extruder makers Coperion Corp. and Davis-Standard Corp. teamed up to supply direct in-line extrusion systems, they announced at Antec 2002.
Engel North America was in the midst of a $2 million expansion at its factory in Guelph, Ontario. Also, Kurt Fenske retired as Engel's longtime vice president of sales and marketing, capping a 42-year career in machinery.
Milacron sold Widia and Werko, its European metal-cutting tool subsidiaries, in May, then in June sold their North American counterpart, Valenite. The deals marked Milacron's nearly complete exit from metal-forming technology.
Tsukasa Yoda, chairman of Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd., died June 17. Nissei, which topped 85,000 injection presses made in 2000, is one of the highest-volume press makers in the world. Yoda was chairman of the Association of Japan Plastics Machinery. His son, Hozumi Yoda, is president of Nissei.
Husky announced it sold 45 injection molding machines to Rubbermaid Home Products, marking one of the largest deals in recent years.
Siemens AG said it was selling Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG - the world's largest plastics machinery maker - to New York buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. KKR now owns some of the industry's best-known brands: Krauss-Maffei, Van Dorn Demag, Demag Ergotech, Netstal, Berstorff and Billion.
William G. Pryor retired as president of Van Dorn Demag Corp., after 13 years with the company. Replacing him as the top executive was William R. Carteaux.
Flood waters swept through the Schwertberg, Austria, headquarters plant of Engel Vertriebsgessellschaft mbH as the city temporarily was cut off from land in Austria's worst flooding in a century.
Just as KKR was closing on its acquisition of Mannesmann Plastics Machinery, Wilhelm SchrÃ¶der left in a dispute over MPM's future direction. Krauss Maffei, the largest of the six MPM units, accounted for more than one-third of its total sales.
Harold Faig, vice president of the Plastics Technologies Group at Milacron, was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the entire Cincinnati company.
Diamond America Corp. and Akron Quality Feedscrews Inc. merged into a single firm making single-screw extruders, screws and barrels in Tallmadge, Ohio.
SIG Plastics International GmbH said it was closing the 4-year-old U.S. assembly operation in North Branch, N.J., that makes Kautex accumulator-head blow molding machines. SIG also revealed it wants to sell Kautex.
The on-again, off-again marriage of Tetra Laval International SA and blow molding press maker Groupe Sidel moved ahead, as a major European court overturned the European Commission's earlier decision to block Tetra's purchase of Sidel.
Milacron said it would move assembly of Uniloy blow molding machines and structural foam presses from Manchester, Mich., to Milacron's main assembly plant in Batavia, Ohio.
Extruder and mixer supplier Farrel Corp. bought the mixer business from bankrupt Skinner Engine Co. Inc.
JSW Plastics Machinery Inc. said it was closing its 3-year-old technical center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., to cut costs in an ``underperforming'' U.S. market.
Sister MPM companies Van Dorn Demag and Demag Ergotech GmbH announced that they would merge, becoming a single company: Demag Plastics Group.