Battenfeld Kunstoffmaschinen GmbH has started making large injection molding machines again, one year after Munich, Germany-based Adcuram Industriekapital AG bought the company.
Previous owner SMS GmbH had found it unprofitable to produce machines in the large-clamp range, leading it to close Battenfeld's Meinerzhagen, Germany, site in 2005. Battenfeld since has been making machines with clamping forces up to 650 metric tons at its Kottingbrunn, Austria, facility.
But now the company is building an 800-tonne machine for a customer after taking the order this month.
Alexander Muller, managing director of Battenfeld Kunstoffmaschinen, said in a telephone interview that the Kottingbrunn facility is gearing up to make 1,000- and 1,300-tonne machines next year. The firm will limit its large-machine offerings to those three machine sizes and will not make anything larger, he said.
Despite the two-year hiatus in large-machine production, the company has been persuaded there is a market for the machines.
``Since Adcuram took over Battenfeld,'' Muller said, ``we have learned from our customers they want us to continue to produce larger machines.''
The HM two-platen machine range will be based on machines previously made at Meinerzhagen. But profitability is a key focus during the startup phase, he said.
Battenfeld is taking orders for next year, but the gradual buildup will limit production volumes to a ``two-digit number'' in 2008, he said.
In 2009, the Kottingbrunn facility is targeted to produce about the same amount of larger machines as did Meinerzhagen, 30-40 each year.
That figure may even be exceeded, he said.
The automotive sector is the main target market, but Muller ruled out a return to the growing automotive glazing sector, which would require machines of even greater size.
In 2005, the Meinerzhagen facility made a machine with 2,700 tonnes of clamping force - Battenfeld's largest ever - for polycarbonate glazing applications.
Other sectors also will be targeted, such as electronics. At K 2007, set for Oct. 24-31 in Dusseldorf, Germany, an HM 2P 800-tonne machine will be shown molding frames for flat-screen televisions.
Adcuram has expressed ``great satisfaction'' with Battenfeld's financial performance.
``The turnaround has been achieved within an amazingly short time, thus securing the company's future,'' Muller said.
After many years of losing money under previous owner SMS, the business is expected to reach a break-even point by the end of fiscal 2008, according to a news release from Battenfeld. The 2007 fiscal year is expected to see an increase in sales of about 10 percent compared with the previous year. The company did not reveal sales figures.
Battenfeld said it has received several orders for large machines and has won significant market shares in Latin America through a major order from Brazil.