German injection molding machinery producer Arburg GmbH + Co. KG used the occasion of its traditional Technology Days open house March 23 to reveal a strong recovery from the recession.
Chairman Michael Hehl said the company's consolidated 2010 sales are expected to show a 73 percent jump to 380 million euros ($503.6 million). Actual full-year numbers will not be available until the end of April.
Hehl said, however, that projected 2010 results still will be 7 percent below the company's all-time record of 409 million euros ($575 million) in 2007. The extent of the recession on Arburg sales previously had been reflected by declines in turnover: 344 million euros ($484 million) in 2008 and just 220 million euros ($310 million) in 2009.
Hehl is optimistic for the future on the basis of 141 percent growth in the value of incoming orders. And the share of incoming orders taken by electric-drive Alldrive machines has risen from 15 percent in 2009 to 16 percent in 2010.
However, the company's hybrid-drive Hidrive machine share increased slightly faster, from 11 percent to 13 percent. Describing the Alldrive and Hidrive machines as Arburg's highly energy-efficient machines, Hehl pointed out that they together rose to take a 29 percent share of incoming orders in 2010, compared with 26 percent in 2009.
While the share taken by the attractively priced, hydraulic Golden Edition line rose from 21 percent to 22 percent, there were declines in large machines of all types with clamping forces above 250 metric tons (down from 14 percent to 13 percent) as well as for multicomponent machines (down from 14 percent to 12 percent).
The project business complete production cell solutions remained stable, accounting for a 12 percent share of incoming orders in 2010.
Technical Managing Director Herbert Kraibuhler said: The enormous order intake has extended delivery times to around five months and, although there are differences depending on the type of machine, we can say that our production capacity is fully utilized.
Managing sales director Helmut Heinson said demand from abroad, especially in overseas markets, is particularly strong. He added: The USA has recovered and is moving forward again, as are Mexico, Brazil, Asia and China.
Referring specifically to China, Heinson said the trend of more Chinese-owned companies buying European-built machines has continued.
When developing sales for their products, Chinese customers have been stressing the high quality they achieve with European machines. This applies not only to Arburg, but also to other European machine suppliers, he said.
Heinson said the company has seen stable development in Europe, adding that the initial, relatively slow recovery in Germany has now strengthened.
He also reflected on the cause of the dramatic drop in the company's turnover in 2009, which he blamed on Arburg's traditionally high dependence on the automotive industry and its suppliers.
It caught us hard, he said.
Heinson said the Hidrive line has helped the company alleviate that high dependency, strengthening its business in packaging, including in-mold labeling and use of the cube rotating stack-mold technology.
Turning to recent international events, Kraibuhler said it is still too early to say if the recent disaster in Japan will affect Arburg's production. He said the high degree of self-sufficiency at Arburg, through its high level of vertical integration in production, puts it in a strong position. However, he admitted to some concerns over a developing worldwide shortage of components due to hoarding by some companies.