DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — German-headquartered thermoforming machinery maker Illig Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG announced that it is not expecting any increase in demand for thermoforming machinery in Europe in 2014.
"Western European markets are still hesitant in terms of investments due to the financial crisis which has not yet been overcome. This especially applies to the southern European countries since their economic growth will most likely be minimal, if there will be a growth at all," said Karl Schäuble, Illig's managing director.
The same also applies to the Eastern European markets, according to Schäuble, which so far have not regained their pre-crisis level with respect to new investments.
It explains why Illig has been focusing on non-European markets since the deepening economic crisis that started in Europe in 2010.
Today Ilig supplies over 60 percent of machinery to countries outside Europe, such as Asia, the Middle East, as well as Africa.
"At the beginning of K 2010, around three years ago, our whole economy was still faced with the impact of the deepest crisis of the last decades. Our sector, too, was severely affected. But still we were already looking ahead back then, full of confidence. On one hand we found a slightly increase in demand," said Schäuble. "On the other hand our customers' interest was attracted by our innovations presented at K 2010. This made us hope that in 2011 we could end the short-time work of our staff and fully utilize production capacity again."
He said in retrospect this happened right away: "Our highest expectations were exceeded by far. In 2011 IlIig achieved the highest turnover in the company's history so far. In 2012 we could continue on the high level and currently I see a good basis to successfully conclude 2013.
Having raised its game Illig is demonstrating at K how packaging companies can raise their game and boost productivity through new technology configurable to its RDKP 72 and IC-RDM 54K machines.
The technology called the Intelligent Control Concept the technology can boost productivity, repeatability, availability and operating convenience of a thermoforming machine or a full thermoforming line. Dynamic process optimization as one element of this concept makes it possible for the first time to benefit extensively, rapidly and with minimized operator intervention from the best-in-class thermoforming technology offered by today's consistently servomotor-driven machine technology.
The machine's operating sequences are managed via a so-called motion control system. It ensures that the position of each movement can be unambiguously determined and accurately controlled at all times. This helps to simplify the programs governing the thermoforming sequence, so that the task of selecting the right machine settings is facilitated. The operator no longer needs an expert's understanding of the interdependence of optimization parameters since the latter will be handled by the control system automatically and in real time.
The self-adaptive start-up mode provides a reduced cycle rate and process-optimized settings. It cuts down the consumption of semi-finished input material substantially. Later when the line is switched to production operation, it automatically shifts to a high cycle rate and matching heater output to heat the material band uniformly to its optimum thermoforming temperature.
The intelligent control concept is supplemented by the option to run the production line with Ilia Net Service support. This enables technicians to review all system components via the Internet, working out of Heilbronn, and to carry out troubleshooting and rapid corrective steps where malfunctions are due to equipment settings. This service effectively assists users in safeguarding the high productivity level of their thermoforming lines.