DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Uniloy Milacron Inc. (Hall 14/B3) is restructuring its global sales operation to provide a more unified offering of its various blow molding technologies to customers.
Uniloy Milacron, whose parent is Cincinnati-based Milacron LLC, is based in Tecumseh, Mich. The group's European companies are Uniloy Milacron Germany GmbH (incorporating B&W Blowmolding Systems), of Grossbeeren, Germany, and Uniloy Milacron srl of Magenta, Italy.
Previously sales were run out of the company's manufacturing locations. The new sales structure is based on a global approach, with regional heads.The reorganization will not involve job losses, Uniloy said.
Dave Skala, who has been appointed group vice president after heading the North American operation since 2004, and Colin Taylor, managing director of Uniloy Europe and previously head of the group's U.K. business, were charged with the job of reshaping the sales operation in August.
CCMP Capital Advisors LCC, the private equity owners of Milacron, recognized the potential of Uniloy Milacron but it was "not aligned as they would like," said Skala in a joint interview with Taylor on the firm's K 2013 stand.
This is due to the different technologies produced by different parts of the group, some of which were targeting the same applications.
"What we always struggled with was the fact we had so many great technologies, but in some areas we had duplicate technologies and had been offering competitive equipment against ourselves," Taylor said.
For example, a sales executive in Italy might sell only the Italian-made products in order to meet sales targets in that operation.
The U.S. operation makes reciprocating-screw extrusion blow machines, while the German and Italian operations make continuous extrusion shuttle machines. The group's other technologies include injection blow molding (two types, made in the U.S. and Italy), large accumulator-head technology (made in Italy).
"The new thinking — what we consider is the right thinking — is now we are going to be a global Uniloy and offer the right technology for our customers, regardless of where it was manufactured," Taylor said.
The company will still make the same technologies, but it will deal with customers in a new way. The application will come first, the company will work on design and manufacture of the mold and then the most suitable technology will be selected for the customer's application.
"In the North American operation we lead with the application," Skala said. "Because we make molds in the U.S., we work back to the machine. We're going to adapt that philosophy to Europe, where we don't make molds."
Uniloy Milacron has invested $10 million in its mold lab in Tecumseh, where it has installed three different types of blow molding machine. One is a shuttle machine, the first time the company has installed a European machine in the lab.
The lab will be the center for growing European business in what Uniloy Milacron terms "unit cavity work," where a customer comes with a basic idea for a bottle and the company develops it through the lab stage into production.
"It gives us a value proposition that nobody else in the blow molding machinery industry has," Skala said.
Although the firm has no plans to change the product lineup just yet, Skala said it may rationalize the product offering in the future. The two executives are using the K 2013 show to find out what technologies the customers want.
Looking globally, Skala sees a group advantage: "We are able to leverage the global presence of Milacron," he said. "We see huge potential in the Indian market. It's so good when talking to customers in India to point to the Milacron operation in Ahmedabad. It provides a level of comfort."
At the Ahmedabad plant, Uni¬loy Milacron currently builds a limited range of blow molding machines. But Skala can see potential for a similar piggybacking of Milacron's injection molding facility in China.
At K, Uniloy Milacron is showing the new UMS 20E.S all-electric extrusion blow molding machine. The single-station unit machine uses 30-40 percent less power than hydraulic machines.
The all-electric achieves its power savings using an open clamp system fitted with a direct actuator drive, which transfers the force simultaneously via two deflection-free swivel joint arms onto both mold platens right into the center of the pinch-off areas.
Once the mold is closed, no power is used.
During the show, the machine is producing 12-liter stackable UN-specification containers, including a view stripe, with a single-cavity mold. The machine is fitted with an integrated post cooling station, parison wall distribution system and closed-loop controls for all machine movements.
The company says these features, plus flash separation including the handle flash, help the machine achieve the highest product quality at the shortest cycle time with minimized use of resin and energy.