Italy's Piovan SpA could manufacture some of its products at Universal Dynamics Inc., the U.S. auxiliary equipment maker it purchased in September, a Piovan executive said at Fakuma.
Filippo Zuppichin, Piovan's general manager in Europe, said the Italian company would make Piovan brands at the U.S. location that do not duplicate Una-Dyn's offerings. Una-Dyn makes material-conveying equipment, dryers, loaders, feeders and granulators.
Piovan, a broad-line auxiliary supplier based in Santa Maria di Sala, Italy, also does manufacturing in Brazil and China. The U.S. factory is the final step in Piovan's strategy to manufacture auxiliaries on every continent.
The company has been quiet in North America. In 1993, Piovan opened an office in Mississauga, Ontario, to supply PET dryers. Zuppichin said the Canada location makes equipment for Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. of Bolton, Ontario, a leader in molds and injection molding machines for making PET preforms. ``We also have a lot of business with end users,'' he said.
But when Piovan bought Una-Dyn from Mann+Hummel GmbH, the Italians kicked off a move as a full-line North American auxiliaries supplier competing with U.S.-based players such as Conair Group Inc. and ACS Group.
Zuppichin said Piovan officials looked at several auxiliary makers before picking Una-Dyn for its U.S. entrance. Una-Dyn won out because its product range, the expertise of its employees, and ``the track record of their performance, which we considered to be the best of the class,'' he said Oct. 16 at Fakuma.
Piovan is leasing the Una-Dyn building in Woodbridge, Va.
Competitors are wondering how Piovan will integrate its machinery with Una-Dyn.
``We have a distribution network which is very good, the Una-Dyn one and we are very happy with the product range. We don't want to change or eliminate anything,'' Zuppichin said.
``If we have products, which are not currently available in the American market in [the Una-Dyn portfolio], we might consider producing them locally.''
And Una-Dyn could have export opportunities since it has targeted the bioplastics market with a line of crystallizers and dryers specially designed for polylactic acid. ``If PLA develops in Europe, it could certainly give us a strength to import this product in Europe,'' Zuppichin said.
At Fakuma in Friedrichshafen, Piovan announced its new Piovan Refrigeration Division, which will operate in a separate building near its headquarters. A new line of air-cooled chillers, the CA series, is flexible and energy efficient, the firm said.
Piovan also introduced:
* An HR line of desiccant wheel dryers for PET packaging that is the firm's first standard wheel unit for general use. Molecular sieves are applied on the internal surface of the honeycomb wheel. Other features: silicon wheel gaskets coated with glass-fiber-reinforced Teflon, and a new drive mechanism with a wear-resistant Kevlar-reinforced belt.
* A new range of gravimetric blenders, the MDW line, suitable for injection molding and extrusion. They come with a newly designed mixer to guarantee homogeneous mixing.
* Supervisory software called Win Factory, which links together all Piovan auxiliary machines.