Single-screw extruder maker American Kuhne Inc. is moving into complete blown film lines, working with its partner company in Germany, Kuhne GmbH.
American Kuhne hired Tom Helming, a 25-year veteran of Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc., as vice president of blown film systems. He is responsible for all business development activities for Kuhne's blown film technology in North America.
American Kuhne was founded in 1997 by former employees of Davis-Standard LLC. Peter Kuhne, president and owner of Kuhne GmbH, is a major shareholder in American Kuhne, but the companies are independent. American Kuhne is based in Ashaway, R.I.
Helming said Kuhne GmbH's extrusion-related business includes blown film lines sold to European customers, including some major packaging makers. The company used to sell blown film lines to North America, but stopped to focus on its home market.
Helming is leading the renewed push. “Kuhne in Germany has been building complete blown film systems since the 1950s, but they've been largely absent from this market for the last 20 years,” he said.
The American Kuhne blown film business will provide turnkey systems, including the extruders, blown film tower and material feeding. Kuhne GmbH will design and manufacture the blown film equipment at its headquarters in St. Augustin, Germany. American Kuhne will provide sales, service and spare parts for installed equipment out of its Rhode Island headquarters.
Kuhne GmbH makes three areas of blown film equipment: conventional coextruded film lines, triple bubble systems to make biaxially oriented film, and water-quenched, multilayer special film lines. Brands include SmartBubble, CoolBubble and TripleBubble.
Helming said the company can make systems with up to 11 layers. American Kuhne has built extruders and screws that are used in blown film lines.
Helming held several positions at Gloucester Engineering, including product manager, sales director for Latin America and northeast regional manager.