Demag Plastics Group took the wraps off its Pink Line machine at K 2007, with two eye-catching presses colored hot pink sitting up front in the booth, and employees clad in detective garb and sporting pink ties.
The Pink Line is billed as a new commodity series of the Systec range of hydraulic injection molding machines. Currently available in clamping forces from 35 to 420 metric tons, the Pink Line replaces Demag's Extra series.
DPG used the pair of pink-colored machines to grab attention during the K show. The production machines will continue in the company's blue and gray colors, with a small sticker denoting the Pink Line.
Klaus Erkes, president and chief executive officer, said DPG is reacting to today's realities.
``I think the market changes a lot, and the market for injection molding machines - even in Europe, even if you are speaking about a high technological level - at the ultimate end, everybody looks to reduce their costs,'' Erkes said at the company's K show news conference.
Pink Line machines come with few options, to cut the price. ``There is nothing to add on. You can take it or leave it, and you get for that, a profitable machine, a very productive machine, for an adequate price,'' Erkes said. For each clamping-force size, there are two injection units and three screw diameters available.
Demag Plastics Group has made headlines as much for business reasons as for technology news, recently. The owner of Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG - the equipment conglomerate now named Krauss Maffei AG - wants to sell DPG, which has been underperforming financially and now is broken out from the group. Last year, DPG closed down its U.S. press assembly operations in Strongsville, Ohio, although the company continues to run U.S. sales and service in the building.
DPG is based in Schwaig, Germany. It runs factories in Schwaig and Wiehe, Germany; in Ningbo, China; and in Chennai, India.
During the K show news conference Oct. 26, Erkes said the company's ``clear and focused strategy'' and simpler product offering will keep DPG strong - regardless of who owns it. PlasticsNews.com reported Jan. 9 Japanese press builder Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. is interested in buying DPG.
DPG leaders have narrowed what Erkes called a ``complex'' product range down to three types of toggle presses: fully hydraulic Systec presses; the fast-cycling hybrid El-Exis S; and the all-electric IntElect. Multishot technology now is available as an option on every type of DPG press, instead of just one special multishot brand, as in the past.
``So we are concentrating on the streamlined, small- to mid-sized product range, with these three machines, and a mid-priced position,'' Erkes said. ``Our vision is that we deliver small- to mid-sized hydraulic and electric machines, with the highest quality efficiency and reliability for a fair market price.''
Erkes said DPG has improved its financial position, with a positive cash flow and steadily increasing EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Erkes said sales declined a little bit in DPG's fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 29, before the K show in October. The reason is the company stopped making several machine lines, he said. Erkes did not release specific sales numbers.
``I think that is a very reassuring thing for a lot of our customers, that we are in a position to have that very clear strategy in the future, irrespective of its owner,'' he said.