Extruder makers Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik GmbH, Cincinnati Extrusion GmbH and American Maplan Corp. sister manufacturers under European private equity firm Triton are integrating back-office functions such as purchasing, financial management and logistics.
For the first time, a single top executive will oversee all three companies. Wolfgang Studener, the longtime managing director of Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, took the overall top spot Sept. 1.
Studener said a slumping market for plastics machinery is driving a move to streamline the organizations and accent the strengths of each one.
``Our aim is to respond appropriately to the changes in general conditions caused by the economic slowdown in our industry, to keep our companies on course and to rally their strength for the future,'' Studener said in a news release. Those strengths are mainly skills in engineering and process technology.
``The focus will be on a drastic reduction in delivery times,'' through a Lean Six Sigma program applied earlier this year, the company said.
Studener was not available for additional comment.
Triton bought Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, Cincinnati Extrusion and Maplan in early 2007 from SMS GmbH, a German industrial conglomerate. Triton is based in Jersey, England.
SMS had begun to integrate some functions, but officials said that the private equity owners are intensifying that effort.
``The focus is to become more profitable,'' said Rainer Kottmeier, who became Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik's managing director after Studener was promoted to the group's top executive.
Kottmeier previously was general manager of Battenfeld's pipe extrusion equipment group.
Kottmeier said all three firms will keep their own brands, and continue to assemble extruders and build other key components like screws and dies, at their individual factories: Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany; Cincinnati Extrusion in Vienna, Austria; and American Maplan in McPherson, Kan.
No layoffs will result from the action to pool back-office functions, though the difficult extrusion machine market could cause some job cuts, Kottmeier said.
Extruder sales have weakened in the United States, mainly because of a slumping construction sector, and also have softened in Western Europe.
In other personnel news, Henning Stieglitz will join senior management of Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik, on Nov. 1. Stieglitz was head of mechanical construction for extrusion machinery for Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH.