American auxiliary equipment firm Novatec Inc. has seen sales grow 35 percent in the 18 months since it changed owners and set up a partnership with another American maker of auxiliary equipment, Maguire Products Inc., a Novatec executive said in an interview at K 2007 in Dusseldorf.
Novatec Chief Executive Officer Conrad Bessemer said the company has put more emphasis on marketing and set up a drying technology center at its Baltimore headquarters.
``Even though the U.S. market has been flat or down, Novatec has been up,'' he said.
The company, which prior to the ownership change was very oriented to the U.S. market, has gained 65 percent in market share for dryers and more than 35 percent in conveying systems in the United States, Bessemer said.
Bessemer and other investors, including Stephen Maguire, owner of Maguire Products of Aston, Pa., bought the firm in 2006.
He said the company has benefited from a more energy-conscious attitude in the U.S. plastics industry, as firms try to stay competitive amid rapidly escalating energy costs. Novatec's wheel dryer and infrared dryers, for example, can cut energy costs 25 to 30 percent from older models, Novatec claims.
About two-thirds of the roughly 18,000 installed dryers in the United States are at least 20 years old, he said. But processors may not bear too much of the blame for not upgrading - the technology for dryers did not see any real innovation in those two decades, until just a few years ago, he said.
Higher energy costs are pushing changing attitudes among processors and equipment suppliers, he said: ``U.S. processors are far more energy-conscious than they were before.''