Some NPE exhibitors sharing a booth at NPE 2003 offered North American customers machinery solutions for pipe, and for bathware and automotive applications.
In New York, where union officials are citing environmental concerns for banning PVC pipe in plumbing applications, polypropylene and other plastics are the answer, said Helfried Schnallinger, general manager of H.M.S. Anlagen-und Maschinenbau GmbH.
His company, based in Sarmingstein, Austria, specializes in research and development and engineering of automatic belling machines for plastic pipe. Schnallinger has invented what officials call precise and fast belling technology for shrinkproof inline socketing of polypropylene or polyethylene pipe. Though his company has attended Germany's K show, this was its first appearance at NPE.
``We're somewhat disappointed to see that polypropylene is not being used heavily in plumbing applications in the United States,'' he said. With his company's technology, connecting PE pipe will be as easy and fast as socketed PVC pipes, according to a company news release.
On the other side of the exhibit, Senoplast USA Inc. was moving ahead with Senosan 3000, a new antibacterial bathware sheet that will be produced at a facility in Queretaro, Mexico.
The new product, intended to compete with cast acrylic, means that Senoplast will add one more sheet coextrusion line this year. Senoplast Klepsch & Co. GmbH, based in Piesendorf, Austria, established that facility in 2000.
``We have just produced first samples for the U.S.,'' said Mike Reeves, sales director for Senoplast USA, based in St. Charles, Mo.
``This is a major breakthrough for a sheet product of ABS coextruded with acrylic.
``In Europe, where the product was just recently launched, we have experienced tremendous interest in Senosan 3000 sheet for sanitary/bathware applications. We expect the same for the North American market,'' Reeves said.
Senoplast USA has been producing Senotop In-Mold film for the Smart Car roof module.
``This first automotive-series application has attracted much interest in the automotive industry worldwide and has opened doors to many other automotive exterior panel projects with automotive [original equipment manufacturers] and Tier 1 suppliers on both continents,'' Reeves said.
The business may motivate the company to establish a manufacturing presence in the United States itself.
Another company at the NPE exhibit, ZL Engineering Plastics Inc. of Peekskill, N.Y., produces stock engineered shapes. The company has sales sites in New York and Buena Park, Calif.
``Our plan is to have a manufacturing site in North America in three to five years,'' said Greg Waack, president of ZL's East Coast operations.
The company, formed last year by Licharz GmbH of Germany, teamed up with Zell-Metal GmbH of Austria to tackle America.