Gefran Inc. sells pressure transducers and other sensors, automation components and drives, and motion controllers but new executive Eric Kirleis wants Gefran to take a systems approach, instead of just selling on-off components, catalogue-style.
We're trying to move from a discrete sensors company, a discrete automation company and discrete motion-control company and target the machinery [original equipment manufacturers], target end users and also the value-added reseller, he said. We look at this as a big triangle. We try to talk about the value of our products at all three points of that triangle.
At NPE2009, Gefran showed components aimed at extrusion, blow molding and injection molding during the Chicago show, held June 22-26.
Gefran also is expanding globally, by recently opening a plant in Shanghai that employs 140. The firm opened its first Asian plant, also in Shanghai, in 2004, followed last fall by a branch in India.
Kirleis joined Gefran in January as general manager. Based in Winchester, Mass., Gefran Inc. is the North American subsidiary of Provaglio d'Iseo, Italy-based Gefran SpA.
At NPE2009, Gefran targeted its total-package message at two main audiences: machinery makers and processors. A third audience is system integrators.
Before, Gefran had three separate sales channels for its products. We've consolidated the sales group, so now the same people sell all products, he said.
The recession could actually be good for business at Gefran, as machinery makers and plastics processors look to consolidate suppliers to cut costs.
Manufacturing is under more pressure than any other sector in the current economic downturn, Kirleis said. We're moving aggressively to bring our components and automation control to manufacturers so they can improve quality, shorten time to market and increase productivity all keys to success in this difficult economy.
Kirleis brings experience in instrumentation and control technology to his new position. He came to Gefran from Sionex Corp., a maker of chemical and biological sensors for threat detection, and Mettler-Toledo Inc., which makes equipment to measure and analyze liquids.
In other personnel news, Gefran named Paul Pedro controller.
Gefran SpA generated sales of about $160 million in 2008, Kirleis said. The company employs 900 around the world, running nine production sites.
In North America, he said, Gefran generates annual sales of $15 million to $18 million and employs 50. In Winchester, the company makes sensors, pressure transducers, thermocouples and other melt-pressure products, plus linear position sensors. A factory in Charlotte, N.C., manufactures drive- and motion-control products such as servodrives, inverters, converters and positioning motors.
Both U.S. locations also make components for automation, including operator interface panels, controllers, timers, alarm units, operator interface panels and remote input/output terminals.
Alfredo Sala, CEO of Gefran SpA, said the company is renewing its emphasis on North America. We see major opportunities for Gefran in this market, particularly in the area of automation control systems, Sala said.
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