CHICAGO (July 10, 4 p.m. EDT) — A growing appetite for automation by North American processors has officials o Motan Inc. thinking their business on this continent eventually will catch up with their operations in the rest of the world.
The Plainwell, Mich.-based unit of Motan GmbH in Isny, Germany, expects its North American market share to double in the next five years.
“I'm really confident in the North American market,” Vice President Carl Litherland said in a June 21 interview at NPE in Chicago.
Motan officials announced at NPE a new North American partnership with Tria SpA of Milan, Italy, a manufacturer of granulators. Motan will be Tria's official distributor here.
The focus on North America doesn't indicate a lack of enthusiasm for its other markets. About 60 percent of the company's sales are in Europe. In Asia, where Motan does about 20 percent of its business, officials there are readying a new manufacturing plant where they plan to make smaller, portable, machine-side auxiliary equipment.
The 25,000-square-foot plant in Taicang, China, should be operating by year's end, said Peter Wee, managing director of Motan's Asian operations. Taicang is near Shanghai, he said.
Though production expansions in the United States should not be expected, Mark McKibbin, Motan president of North America, likes the look of the road ahead. The company's U.S. market penetration continues to grow each year, he said.
Motan launched a plethora of upgraded products at NPE. The majority of the new products represent incremental improvements over previous generations of blenders, loaders or dryers. But that's the ultimate goal for Motan: continuous improvement.
The company introduced an IntelliBlend function on its Gravicolor batch blender that automatically replaces shortages of materials with virgin and color masterbatches.
Upgrades to the company's control system allows Internet monitoring of all its systems from anywhere in the world.
Another innovation is the Metro Flow Control, a simple slide valve in the pneumatic conveying process that helps maintain constant material transfer speeds, reducing conveying system wear and material damage. They have yet to be sold in North America.