Blow molding machine maker Kautex Machines Inc. (Booth S42067) is benefiting from the Environmental Protection Agency's tighter regulation of small fuel tanks and storage systems, which comes into effect in 2011.
In an interview at NPE2009, President Wolfgang Meyer said Kautex took an order for a second six-layer blow molding machine from Fairfield, Iowa-based Agri-Industrial Plastics Co. just before the show opened. Scheduled for delivery in August, the new machine will double AIP's capacity for small fuel tanks.
The EPA regulations, which come into effect in 2011, cover small spark-ignition engines for lawn and garden equipment and small recreational watercraft. They impose maximum evaporative emission limits of 1.5 grams per day for every square meter of surface.
AIP has ordered a Kautex KBS241 blow molding machine with a six-layer head capable of a maximum output of 1,985 pounds per hour of high density polyethylene.
What our customers tell us is that the most economic[al] method, even though the investment cost is high, is six-layer co-extrusion. This is one of our niche markets, he said.
Small fuel tanks are an area of the automotive market that is fairly active in terms of investment, in contrast with the remainder of the automotive sector, Meyer said.
The traditonal automotive market in terms of new equipment is saturated, and, with the decline of automotive vehicle production, it makes it difficult for our customers to keep their machines running. I would guess that the average is under 50 percent equipment utilization at this point in time, he said.
But the automotive sector also has equipment that is fairly mature, and we are starting into a phase of upgrading and refurbishing machine systems, and that has been a very attractive modernization business for us for almost two years, Meyer said.
Meyer said that Kautex's service business in the United States has grown annually since 2004 and posted sales of close to $10 million in 2008, which is around 40 percent of the North Branch, N.J., company's total U.S. sales of $25 million.
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