Engel Holding GmbH will have record sales of about 740 million euros (about $980 million) in its fiscal year 2011-12, which will end March 31, according to Peter Neumann, president and CEO.
That figure would represent a significant increase over 2010-11 sales of 616 million euros, and more than twice the sales of the recessionary fiscal year of 2009-10. The previous record was 622 million euros in 2007-08.
At a Fakuma news conference Oct. 20, Neumann noted that the strong injection press and robot sales come during a time of uncertain economic news from the eurozone.
“I'm now really astonished. It's been such a positive trend in the turnover,” Neumann said.
Engel also will sell 1,200 linear robots this year, for the first time.
Business has been so good, Engel experienced some problems delivering machines on time, but the company in Schwertberg, Austria, adjusted its production to match the higher sales, he said. Engel boosted employment by 18 percent, to 3,800 people.
Neumann said the machinery maker continued to make investments during the recession, a good thing since demand has increased strongly. This year, Engel has invested 55 million euros (about $78 million) to improve production, he said. The main investment of 37 million euros went into expanding the Schwertberg headquarters plant, and into new metalworking equipment at its St. Valentine, Austria, plant.
After Fakuma, Engel announced it was adding 10,800 square feet to its robot and automation factory in Hagen, Germany.
Engel also has invested to expand its plant in Shanghai.
Neumann said sales have increased rapidly in China, mainly because of demand for large-tonnage Engel Duo presses, which Engel builds in Shanghai.
Engel is well-placed in China, Neumann said. The Chinese market for injection presses is expected to decline from 59,500 in 2010 to an estimated 40,000 by 2015. That reflects a movement to more efficient machines with better technology, instead of very basic machines, he said.
Neumann said the European market has showed modest improvement this year.
Injection press sales in North America are finally increasing, after 10 straight years of decline, Neumann said. Brazil reached 3,000 presses last year, moving past the U.S. for the first time, he said.
“The current situation for Engel: The sky is still blue. After the [financial] crisis, we had a fantastic year,” he said.
What about 2012? Neumann said the future is “very, very unclear.” Most forecasts say injection press sales will decline modestly, he said. Engel's strategy is to continue strengthening its position in packaging, including all-electric packaging machines, and be a system supplier, including injection presses and automation.
At Fakuma, Engel ran five presses: molding a center automotive console using the Clearmelt process; insert molding sensor housings for electronic controls; demonstrating automated production of disposable, hollow needles for insulin pens; two-component bottle openers showing in-mold labeling and insert technology; and an in-mold-label lid for an ice cream container, also made with two-com- ponent molding.