Thermoforming equipment supplier OMV-USA Inc. and its Italian parent are launching two new machines to go after smaller-volume customers.
OMV will launch the F87 in-line extrusion/thermoforming system next year and sell it to middle-market customers that might not need the output of the firm's larger F57 unit, said OMV-USA President Kent Johansson. Both machines are used for cups and containers and work well with polypropylene, a growing material for roll-fed thermoforming applications, he said.
Both F-series machines have similar capabilities, with in-mold trimming, a special oven to avoid sag and a robot to form parts for secondary operations. But the F87 unit is a more conventional, midsized machine, with a maximum platen width of 331/2 inches, Johansson said. The F57 has a platen size of 60 inches.
Both F-series machines will be made and assembled at OMV's 40,000-square-foot production site in Elkhorn, Wis., and at the company's global headquarters in Verona, Italy. The F87, with an extrusion capacity of 3,444 pounds per hour, works well in such applications as takeout restaurant packages and cups for restaurant and institutional uses, Johansson said.
The new equipment will help OMV compete in North America against other equipment suppliers with more conventionally sized machines, he added. The company began making the F57 in Wisconsin earlier this year.
OMV makes most of its machines in Italy through parent ISAP OMV Group SpA of Verona. The family-owned firm is launching another small thermoforming machine to be made in Italy, the F30, that will be introduced next summer, Johansson said.
The F30 is the next generation of an older OMV F32 unit that once made crystal polystyrene drinking cups with rimmed lids. The new in-line machine is small and flexible, able to work with a variety of materials and uses an electronic drive, Johansson said.
The equipment will help OMV reach potential customers in the Middle East, Asia and South America, where the need is growing for smaller machines with sophisticated features, Johansson said.
``They can't justify a machine that makes big, complex parts,'' he said.
The F30 will be made in Verona. Although Europe is the company's base, the continent does not represent a growth area for thermoformed packaging, Johansson said. Areas like Brazil, however, offer exponential growth.
PP resin also offers growth for thermoforming. PP cups in fast-food restaurant and institutional uses should continue to climb, he said.
Johansson was interviewed at the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Conference, held Sept. 18-21 in Indianapolis. He gave a presentation at the conference on methods of thermoforming PP resin.