At Fakuma 2006, Engel Holding GmbH rolled out new versions of the small-tonnage Victory machine and the big two-platen Duo, plus announced new branch offices around the world.
Engel officials also said employees are now making the all-electric E-Motion press on the firm's assembly line at its headquarters in Schwertberg, Austria.
Engel has built the Victory on an assembly line since mid-2004. Self-guided carts shuttle injection presses between assembly stations. Workers at nearby stations build subassemblies and machine frames, then deliver the components to the assembly line.
Hans Wobbe, chief technical officer, said Engel started to integrate E-Motion production into the assembly line about six months ago. The company has reduced labor costs by about 20 percent over traditional assemble, he said in Engel's Oct. 18 press conference during Fakuma 2006 in Friedrichshafen.
Wobbe said Engel, like other machinery makers, wants to reduce the price of all-electric machines.
``I think the goal should be, concerning the fully electric machines, to reach on a medium-ton range, the cost of a competitive, fully hydraulic machine,'' Wobbe said.
Peter Neumann, chairman of the managing board, said the assembly line in Schwertberg still has plenty of capacity left. Engel is only running one shift on the line so far.
``So we are limited by our sales success or market share,'' he said.
Meanwhile, Engel continues to expand internationally. Neumann credited sales to central and Eastern Europe, plus expanded machinery lines, for what he called the steepest market-share growth in Engel's history - from slightly more than 20 percent, to nearly 24 percent.
In Prague, the Czech Republic, Engel has opened a new building for Engel Czechia, its oldest subsidiary in Eastern Europe. The operation employs 33, including 17 service technicians.
A new facility for Engel's Polish subsidiary is scheduled to open the first quarter of 2007. This year, Engel created O.O. Engel, a sales office in Moscow.
Engel also continues to increase production in Asia. The 5-year-old plant in South Korea is now making 400 small and medium-sized injection presses a year. Neumann said manufacturing is set to begin at Engel's new China plant, in Shanghai, in December.
Engel will hold dedication ceremonies in Shanghai on May 18, 2007, just before the Chinaplas trade show. In its first year of production, the China plant should make about 30 of the large Duo presses, in clamping forces from 715-1,650 tons.
Neumann said Engel is beefing up its operations in North America, where the company claims to have a 40 percent share of the market for multicomponent presses. Sales of all-electric Engels also are growing, he said.
Engel is planning a branch office in the greater Los Angeles area. The company is building a subsidiary for Mexico, in Queretaro.
Companywide, Engel's sales totaled 545.9 million euros ($698 million) for fiscal 2005-06. That is a decline of 6.9 percent from the record-setting performance in 2004-05. But Neumann predicted the current year will end with a 10 percent gain, to 600.4 million euros ($753 million).
In technology news at Fakuma, Engel:
* Showed the new Victory Focus, in clamping forces from 27.5- 132 tons. The Focus designation is a press with a reduced footprint and featuring easy operation and maintenance. Platens have been redesigned for reduced weight and improved deflection, reducing weight. The injection unit can be swung out for easy access. Engel also increased the maximum daylight and the platen opening stroke. At Fakuma, a 44-ton Victory Focus molded animal figures for Playmobil toys. Engel plans to extend the range up to 440 tons.
* Introduced the Engel Duo Advanced, featuring a new platen that is 15 percent more rigid, to reduce mold wear and make less flash, and improved mold support.
* Showed a wide-platen version of its Speed machine, which is a dedicated line for packaging.