Engel Holding GmbH rolled out its Speed brand of injection presses and other thin-wall parts - and kept its eyes on Asia - at Fakuma.
Top executive Peter Neumann had new details on a plant Engel is to begin building by year's end in China. The large-tonnage press factory in Shanghai will have 26,500 square feet of production space and 3,300 square feet of office area. Engel will source most of the metal castings and steel components from suppliers in China.
For the past four years, Engel has produced small- and medium-tonnage injection presses at a plant in Pyongtaek, South Korea.
Neumann, chairman of the managing board, gave a fairly upbeat outlook for the North American market. After what he called a ``painful'' period, sales are again growing slightly. Engel North America is selling more machines into multicomponent, in-mold labeling and all-electric presses.
In Europe, injection press demand varied widely from one country to the next, said Georg Tinschert, president of Engel Austria. In Western Europe, sales slowed in Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries. New European Union members such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic showed strong demand for plastics machinery.
Companywide, the Schwertberg, Austria-based company has generated sales of 291.4 million euros ($361.5 million) through the first six months of the current fiscal year. In the past full fiscal year, ended March 31, the firm's sales were 586.3 million euros ($738 million).
Engel employs 487 people in North America.
On the technology side, Engel got back into packaging in a big way at Fakuma, held Oct. 18-22 in Friedrichshafen, with the Engel Speed. ``We want to be a top player in the high-speed market,'' said Hans Wobbe, technology director. The presses boast an injection speed of more than 1,000 millimeters per second.
Engel has made MacPET machines for molding PET preforms for several years, and Wobbe said the preform presses will continue to use that name. But Speed-brand machines have a broader focus - packaging and other types of thin-wall parts such as medical parts and cell-phone housings. The toggle-clamp Speed machines will come in clamping forces of 148-715 tons.
Engel engineers came up with an inline design for the injection unit, to get the high rate of injection. Traditional Engel presses use a drive and two hydraulic cylinders to move the injection unit.
For very high-speed injection, Wobbe said, press designers needed to reduce the mass of the moving parts, so they lined up the hydraulic screw drive as an extension of the screw axis. A friction clutch transmits the torque from the drive straight to the injection movement. Engel said an electric screw drive is an option on the inline injection units
Engel developed the toggle-clamping unit for high-speed molding.
An inline design does make the machine longer, Wobbe said.
At Fakuma, a 308-ton Speed whipped out yogurt cups from a six-cavity mold every 2.7 seconds, which included robotic part removal.
In other news, Engel introduced the Victory Standard, a lower-priced model of its line of tie-barless presses that includes the Victory Tech and Victory Power machines.
The Victory Standard uses an EC 200 controller, which has a lower price but is fully compatible with Engel's CC 200 controller.
The press is designed for general-purpose molding jobs. Engel molded parts on a 55-ton Victory Standard at the show.