CHICAGO (June 30, 12:40 p.m. EDT) — For Engel Machinery Inc., NPE 2003 was the largest of times and the smallest of times.
Engel showed its largest all-electric press, a 200-ton E-Motion, molding a coaster. The E-Motion series now runs from 60-200 tons, and Walter Jungwirth, executive vice president for North American sales and marketing, said Engel has future plans for making larger all-electrics, up to 400 tons.
The tie-barless all-electrics have a five-point toggle that Engel said offers fast opening and closing thanks to a central, single-stroke lever, driven by an electric servomotor with a planetary gear. Engel is showing three E-Motion presses this week.
In the smallest category, Engel showed its smallest-yet two-platen press. The 720-ton Duo machine molded an automotive manifold, with fully automated parts removal.
Machinery makers at first came out with two-platen presses in large tonnage, but the presses steadily have come down in size. The reason is space savings. Steve Elliott, manager of machine sales for Engel Canada Inc., said the 720-ton Duo has a smaller footprint than Engel's standard 660-ton press.
Also at NPE, Engel drew crowds for a demonstration of its Watermelt water injection molding. Visitors could see water molding of a hollow automotive cooling tube on a 165-ton Victory press.
The company also manufactures the Victory, its building-block “platform” press, in South Korea and Austria.
Engel officials were fairly optimistic about the NPE show. Jungwirth said U.S. molders understand they have to invest in technology to compete globally. He translated Engel's official NPE theme, “Technology Builds Profit,” into this: “Technology will keep you alive.”
Jungwirth said companies should look ahead, not back, and stop complaining about China. “Frankly speaking, I cannot hear it anymore because this is the reality — it is the global situation,” he said during a press conference at NPE
Peter Neumann, president of parent company Engel Austria GmbH, said Engel wanted to display plenty of new technology such as multicomponent molding and Watermelt, because U.S. molders are interested in it.
He said Engel's booth was fairly busy on Monday at NPE, but the overall U.S. machinery outlook is still uncertain.
“The investment climate is getting better,” Neumann said. “But it's cloudy, not sunny.”