Milan, Italy-based Cannon SpA is looking for more synergies between Sandretto Industrie SpA, its injection molding machine subsidiary, and its other businesses that make polyurethane processing equipment and industrial thermoformers.
``We have to find new markets, and products that are better-accepted in our core markets,'' Cannon Managing Director Marco Volpato said in an interview at K 2004 in Dusseldorf. ``There will be a complete reshaping.''
Sandretto unveiled at the show its first electric injection machine, as well as an entry-level press, the Logica, made by its Brazilian subsidiary, and a new version of its Mega H large two-platen machine.
After doubling as Sandretto's managing director for several years, Volpato appointed Georgio Migliari to the job in August. An engineer, Migliari was most recently with tire and cable company Pirelli SpA. Sandretto's sales and marketing effort is still headed by a Cannon man, group marketing Vice President Marco de' Guidi.
Volpato said Sandretto has been experiencing strong growth in South America. It has production capacity for 300 Logica machines in Sao Paulo, following a doubling of capacity in early 2003.
The Logica was designed and engineered by Brazilians, networking with colleagues from Sandretto in Italy and from Windsor Kunststofftechnologie GmbH in Hanau, Germany. The company said it is more than 30 percent cheaper than Sandrettos built in Turin, Italy.
Sandretto will offer electric machines with clamping forces of 440, 660 and 935 tons. They will go on sale in 2005, but no date has been fixed. During the K show, the company held a competition for visitors to choose a name for the line, but a winner had not been chosen as of press time.
``Being one of the last to market [with an electric machine], we have tried for a good compromise between performance and price,'' Volpato said.
Most electric machines have toggle clamping, but this machine uses a novel form of ``lock and block'' direct clamping that is applied via the four tie bars. These have deep saw-tooth threads cut into them, around which nuts inside the moving platen freely rotate during the long stroke.
A small amount of oil separates the threads on the nuts and the tie bars, so there is no wear. The long stroke is directly driven by ball screws. When the oil is evacuated, the threads come together to apply full clamp. To save time, clamping can start before the long stroke has finished.
Sandretto has been prototyping various designs of electric machines for several years, but a company spokesman said this machine is a brand-new project, whose control software was developed in six months. Cannon has its own in-house software company, Automata.
Volpato said industrial thermoforming equipment is strategic for the company.
The company's thermoforming division, called CannonForma, scored a recent coup with the supply of several twin-sheet thermoforming lines to Visteon Corp. for production in Europe of high-barrier fuel tanks.
Sources indicate the tanks will be used on the next version of the Volkswagen Passat.