As NPE 2006 approaches, Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc. officials want to make sure customers don't get confused by negative headlines coming out of that other operation with Battenfeld in the name, Battenfeld Injection Molding GmbH.
The two are sister companies under SMS AG, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based holding company that makes equipment for the steel industry and machinery for plastics processing. SMS is closing a Battenfeld injection press assembly plant in Germany, and two top executives have left this year.
Leaders of Battenfeld Gloucester are promoting their company's film-making technology, global operations and the longevity of top executives and plant employees in Gloucester, Mass. The company's 325 employees in Gloucester average 16 years of experience.
``It is clear that we enjoy a good reputation in the U.S. as well as in the international markets,'' said Chairman Harold Wrede.
Wrede, President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Marvelley and Bob Weeks, vice president of sales and marketing, outlined Battenfeld Gloucester's strengths in a telephone interview Feb. 23. They were getting ready for Chinaplas, slated for April 26-29 in Shanghai. NPE 2006 follows, June 19-23 in Chicago.
Battenfeld Gloucester will show several products at NPE:
* The Flexoelite printing press, a gearless flexographic press that can run eight and 10 colors.
* A servo-controlled bag-making machine.
* A ThermoFlex sheet system for thermoforming.
* The E-Plus II process control.
* The Optical foam sheet die.
The three executives said the trend toward multilayer film will continue - with even more layers.
Multilayer lines now account for 70 percent of Battenfeld Gloucester's business, Wrede said. Right now, crews in the Gloucester factory are building a 17-layer cast film line, with nine extruders, to make barrier film for food packaging. Weeks said the line probably will be shipped in late spring. It can be expanded to 24 layers.
China also is adopting multilayer technology. Battenfeld Chen Extrusion Systems in Shunde, China, is building a nine-layer blown film line for a customer in that country. Wrede said Battenfeld Chen builds 25-35 film lines a year in China.
After a lull in capital spending caused by the Chinese government reducing credit, domestic processors are buying equipment again, he said.
``Business in China today, I would say, is quite good,'' Wrede said.
Weeks said high resin prices have not hurt Battenfeld Gloucester very much, except for a few delayed capital spending decisions by customers. But capacity use in film extrusion is nearing 90 percent, he said.
``The market is suited to grow for expansion, and that's happening, despite resin costs,'' Weeks said.
Processors are making wider webs on higher-speed machines to boost efficiency, Weeks said. That fuels investment in high-tech winders that can keep up with production speeds, handle larger rolls and change the rolls more frequently, he said.