The integration of Woodbridge, Va.-based auxiliary equipment maker Universal Dynamics Inc. into Italy's Piovan SpA is fully under way, with the companies sharing technologies and best practices that led to 16 new product launches at NPE2009.
Piovan in October bought Una-Dyn from Mann+Hummel GmbH of Ludwigsburg, Germany an automotive molder that had owned the company since 1995.
Piovan is a broad-line auxiliary equipment company that makes materials-handling equipment, dryers, dosing units, temperature controllers, chillers, mold dryers and granulators. The company had a large presence in the U.S. PET preform market and was strong in Europe, Asia and South America prior to the acquisition. But the Una-Dyn deal has made Piovan a truly global player.
Una-Dyn being part of our group makes them our arm in the United States, said Giorgio Santella, Piovan's marketing director for global activities, in an NPE interview. Auxiliary equipment is perceived as being something on the side, something complementary. But it's not.
More and more, it's understood that it is part of the process. Coupling the two organizations, we have really gone a step ahead from that perspective.
The philosophy at Una-Dyn and Piovan is to be a solutions provider, not just a product provider.
Our customers don't just want to buy a dryer, or a blender, Santella said. They involve us in the process. They say, 'We want to make this cup. How can you contribute?'
You must provide the value added. Ours is not added to our product, but added to the products our customers produce.
The company had its best month of the year in June, and NPE held June 22-26 in Chicago was a large contributor to that. Una-Dyn sold several products at NPE, but company officials would not specifically disclose what, and for how much, saying, in effect: We don't kiss and tell.
There was all this naysaying of the show. But look, said Una-Dyn President Bill Goldfarb, motioning to the NPE exhibit hall. People came.
Una-Dyn had more sales leads after the first three days of the show than all of NPE 2006, he said.
The companies' positive outlook is what prompted them to launch 16 new products at the show. Among them were some of Una-Dyn's processing solutions for polylactic acid bioplastic. Una-Dyn officials tout themselves as a leader in supplying the auxiliary equipment market.
The company has a marketing partnership with Minnetonka, Minn.-based NatureWorks LLC, which manufactures PLA. Una-Dyn introduced a PLA crystallizer at NPE2009.
The company also launched a new Titan TR-series rotary wheel dryer, which officials say reduces energy use 30 percent by using a heat recovery system. The unit can even cool with dry air, measure dew point without a meter, and is the only dryer on the market to release zero contaminants, officials claim. Drying units are available both as central systems and in beside-the-press configurations.
Another product launch included a new factory acquisition and control system, or FACS, which features wireless capabilities to control the plant from a hand-held device like an iPhone. The system features a Microsoft Windows interface which makes it easy for most operators to understand and navigate, according to officials
After buying Una-Dyn, Piovan has sales of about $180 million and employs around 700 globally. The company has manufacturing operations in Santa Maria di Sala, Italy, near Venice; Osasco, Brazil; Suzhou, China; and Woodbridge.
The 60,000-square-foot plant in Woodbridge employs about 100.
Piovan was founded in 1936 to produce molds for sheet metal processing. In 1963, the company moved into auxiliary equipment for the plastics industry.
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