Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH hit record sales in fiscal 2005, and one big reason was brighter U.S. sales, Josef MÃ¤rtl, chairman of the managing board, said at the Fakuma show.
``We're really very satisfied with our developments in the USA,'' MÃ¤rtl said. The company generates about $150 million of sales at its U.S. operation in Florence, Ky.
Krauss-Maffei announced results for fiscal 2005, which ended Sept. 30. KM also said that its reaction process machinery division, which makes polyurethane equipment, will begin making its own tooling.
Munich, Germany-based Krauss-Maffei generated sales of 553.4 million euros ($704 million), up from 538 million euros in fiscal 2004, which also was a record year.
Strong sales gains in extrusion and PU processing equipment offset a 4 percent decline in sales for KM's largest segment, injection molding machinery. Extrusion sales rose 14 percent, to 82 million euros ($104 million). Polyurethane equipment soared more than 30 percent, to hit 95 million euros ($121 million).
MÃ¤rtl said extrusion and PU machinery sales also increased in the United States.
``We can be more than satisfied with developments in the past business year, especially considering that the economic environment was anything but good,'' MÃ¤rtl said Oct. 20 at the Friedrichshafen show. He cited high prices for oil and steel, coupled with the weak U.S. dollar.
Demand varied in regions around the world in fiscal 2005. Sales in Western Europe were ``unsatisfactory,'' MÃ¤rtl said. North America saw some growth from a low base. Eastern Europe, especially Russia, are promising markets.
Orders of 540 million euros ($678 million) were slightly below the prior-year number of 544 million euros. Orders for injection presses increased 4 percent, to 380 million euros ($483 million). Orders dropped slightly for extruders and reaction process machinery.
After recent boom years, China slowed slightly. Krauss-Maffei and its largest Chinese extrusion customer, Dalian Shide Group Co. Ltd., will begin producing profile and pipe extruders in Zhejiang province by the spring of 2006.
MÃ¤rtl also said Krauss-Maffei has converted production of its small CX injection presses to an assembly line layout in Munich, and will phase the process into other machine brands. Krauss-Maffei is part of German equipment giant Mannesmann Plastics Machinery GmbH, which at Fakuma announced plans to have all its injection press units do some assembly line manufacturing.
Krauss-Maffei and other machinery suppliers are facing a slowdown and overcapacity in DVDs, and especially CDs to hold music. ``The CD is dead,'' MÃ¤rtl said. Optical discs are being replaced by memory sticks that plug into your computer, he said - pointing out that KM's Fakuma news kit was included on a memory stick that plugs directly into a computer's USB port.
For Krauss-Maffei, the big news was an investment in metalworking equipment to build in-house tooling for its fastest-growing division, PU machinery. At first, the division will focus on tooling for automotive customers, but it will broaden into other markets. For example, officials said Krauss-Maffei has about a 30 percent market share in PU equipment for major appliances.
The new tooling business unit will have two plants in Germany. A plant in Viersen, which is to begin production in December, specializes in pressing, punching and flexible machining. A second plant was scheduled to start in October in Harderberg, to make foam molds.
Each tooling center will employ about 120 people.
At Fakuma, the PU machinery unit also unveiled a four-color mixing head that allows a change of color from one shot to the next. The mixhead has four intake nozzles. The first two pump in the two components of PU. Each of the two other nozzles can be used to meter in a different color, with only one active for each shot.
In other news, MÃ¤rtl said the company has sold 25 of its injection molding compounder systems, which pair a compounding extruder from sister company Berstorff GmbH with a Krauss-Maffei injection press to directly compound filled material, then mold parts.