PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (Sept. 7, 1:30 p.m. ET) — A new U.S. headquarters with space to run demonstration equipment is part of the plan for Kiefel Technologies Inc. and parent Brückner Technology Holding GmbH to expand their North American presence.
The company was running medical blister packs on a KMD 78 – B Speedformer to illustrate its forming, cutting and stacking attributes during a thermoforming workshop held on Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
“It has such a fast cycle time that it more than pays for itself in no time,” said Steven Hoenig, president and CEO of Kiefel Technologies Inc. About 50 people attended the workshop.
Markus Zlotosch, vice president of packaging sales and service, noted that the project used 9-up tooling provided by Ontario Die Co. and was running at 40 cycles per minute producing 21,600 pieces an hour. He said that it was a 500 percent increase in output, competing with an unidentified machine that had been using 3-up tooling at 20 cpm and making 3,600 pieces an hour.
“The trend in thermoforming is larger forming areas and faster cycle times,” said Thomas Huber, director of sales for the packaging industry for Kiefel GmbH.
The company also showed the Computer Aided Teaching system on its newest Speedformers. The CAT controller is simpler to use with a checkoff page system that does many of the calculations for the operator.
Kiefel moved 11 miles from Hampton into the Portsmouth site June 1 and now is situated with sister company Brückner Inc., which moved from Greenville, S.C.
“Part of the reason was that we needed more office space, but we also wanted to make a platform for all the companies of Brückner. It gives economy of scale and synergies,” Hoenig said.
“The U.S. market is very important. We see it trending back with more manufacturing coming to the U.S. again,” said Thomas Halletz, managing director of Kiefel GmbH.
Hoenig said that Kiefel machines are particularly suited for the medical industry in that they can be inserted into a clean room because they run on clean, quiet servo motors. The machines are also used in automotive, packaging and refrigeration markets.
Thermoforming of auto interior parts are more common in Europe, according to Axel von Wiedersperg, managing director of Bruckner Technology Holding GmbH, but he sees the technology making headway in the U.S. market. He noted that more U.S. automotive companies seem to want a different look.
Kiefel also sells high frequency and thermo-contact welding machines.
Von Wiedersperg said the new IV Express machine, which was introduced at Chinaplas, is receiving lots of interest, including in the U.S. market.
The Portsmouth operation now provides sales, service and support for North America, including the U.S., Mexico and Canada. It has 20 employees in an 18,000 square foot facility.
Brückner Group includes Kiefel; Brückner, which services the plastic film and sheet industry; and PackSys Global, which offers equipment for laminates, plastic tubes, aluminum cans, decoration, metal caps and plastic closures. PackSys, which was acquired in January, 2011, is also planning to set up equipment in Portsmouth.
Von Wiedersperg said that the parent is having a strong year, with sales about 500 million euros. That compares to 320 million euros last year.
He said each of the companies in the group operate in strong, niche markets and that Brückner plans to add anywhere from one to three companies to the portfolio by 2015.