Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH is reviving the KEB range of extrusion blow molding machines. The decision by the company, recently acquired by German private equity firm Adcuram Beteiligungs AG, is part of a plan to re-enter the world market for consumer packaging machines.
Kautex also is aiming KCC machines made by a subsidiary in China at that market. The company has been making the models for around 10 years, but until now they have been sold only in Asia.
The firm's main production location is in Bonn, Germany. Adcuram, headquartered in Munich, bought Kautex from SIG earlier this year. SIG's strategy had been to aim Kautex more at industrial applications. It ended production of KEB machines two years ago.
Speaking during a news conference at K 2004 in Dusseldorf in October, Kautex executives said the KEB machines will be ``a little bit renewed.'' They are intended for production of containers from small cosmetic bottles up to 30-liter jerrycans.
Kautex recently obtained approval to put European Community labels on its KCC machines, which means they meet European Union safety standards. Next year, they will go on sale worldwide.
KCC and KEB machines are both shuttle types. The KCC shuttle is perpendicular to the extruder, while on the KEB the shuttle is in-line.
Andreas Lichtenauer, Kautex sales and marketing vice president, said there is a huge potential market for the KEB machines. He cites ``several thousands'' of machines with linear article discharge that will need to be replaced soon and cannot be replaced by machines with lateral discharge because of their footprint.
Adcuram originally had intended to buy SIG's Blowtec business together with Kautex, but the deal fell apart and the company now is in receivership. Blowtec made blow molding machines for consumer packaging.
Kautex now is back in the black after reporting losses for the past three years, according to Kautex Managing Director Bernhard Berger. The firm will make a profit of around $1 million on sales of about $56 million this year.
At the conference, he said Kautex blow molding unit orders for 2005 already totaled more than half of all the firm's blow molding orders for the whole of 2004.
The company said it will not neglect its industrial machines, though. Frank Schuller, vice president for technologies and production, said Kautex is marketing its three-dimensional blow molding machines in Asia. A 3-D suction blow molding machine was running at the show. Suction blow machines often are used to produce automobile air ducts.
The company said it already has sold around 90 3-D blow molding machines, most of which are running in Europe. It just sold its first suction blow molding machine - one of three variants of 3-D machines that it offers - to a Chinese company.