A steady fall in demand for larger plastics injection molds in Europe has prompted French mold maker Ermo Group to sell off its big mold manufacturing operation 3Mo.
Ermo Group of Marcille-La-Ville, France, acquired the 3Mo business in 1997, when there was strong demand for molds of more than 5 metric tonnes (about 11,000 pounds), chiefly from automotive and domestic appliances sectors.
``The big molds business has changed [a great deal]. Demand for these types of molds has been decreasing for years,'' said Ermo Chairman Jean-Yves Pichereau. He said it is vital for 3Mo to find fresh business in new markets.
Now, the specialist Laval, France-based offshoot has been acquired by an individual investor, Stephane Rogeon, for an undisclosed sum. Rogeon aims to use 3Mo's technical expertise and skills to exploit fresh market openings, among them supplying molds for the motor-racing business.
``Our offer has to be global. We have to catch new business opportunities by making use of our strongest skills, like our technical expertise on technical projects,'' said Rogeon, who has links with motor sports in France.
The business has been renamed 3Mo Performance, and by the end of the year will have its own stock products for the car racing market, said Rogeon, the firm's new chief executive officer.
3Mo Performance, with a workforce of 37, has benefited from regular investment in its equipment. The company also plans to exploit market opportunities in injection mold design for compound resins and big mechanical subset manufacturing, according to Ermo.
The 3Mo plant, which runs two Engel injection molding presses, one of 800 metric tons and the other 1,300 tonnes, for mold testing, produces molds from 3-15 tonnes. It specializes in supplying the automotive industry in the engine parts area, interior components and car lighting reflectors and lenses.
The renamed firm now will focus on international design, production and maintenance of injection, compression and injection- compression molds; full project management from part design to short production runs; and the development of gearboxes for car racing.
Ermo, last year sealed a technical collaboration deal with Canadian mold maker Exacad Fabrication de Moules Inc. of Boisbriand, Quebec. With 80 percent of its sales in the packaging field, Ermo specializes in molds for thin-wall containers and in-mold labeling. It has 11 injection presses for single- and two-material molding, including a new 550-tonne Billion two-component machine in its mold-testing center.