Milacron LLC would like this year's NPE to be about pushing boundaries.
Since the last NPE in 2012, the company has broken through some barriers with a string of acquisitions of well-known equipment firms like Mold Masters and Kortec. It broadened its base of technologies and grew the company from 2,800 employees to more than 5,000.
Now Milacron (Booth W2703) wants NPE to be the place it shows how that global integration comes together.
At what it says is the largest booth taken by any company in the history of NPE, the Cincinnati-based firm is laying out a series of product introductions, including its entry into the market for making bottle preforms and its first machine for molding thermoplastic and thermosets in a single molding press.
It's also showing a development of the Kortec acquisition, a transparent plastic “Klear Can” using co-injection technology to replicate the airtight properties of metal or glass cans, along with other developments — like a partnership with 3-D printer maker Stratasys Ltd. to make mold inserts for product development and short-runs in-house, through additive manufacturing.
CEO Tom Goeke told a news conference on the opening day of NPE that the company is looking for more acquisitions, and said areas that build on core technologies like multi-material molding and co-injection technology would be good candidates.
He also said the privately-owned company had a “banner year in terms of sales and profitability.”
Sales rose 11 percent overall, with 3 percentage points coming from acquisitions and 8 percentage points from organic growth.
Six years removed from bankruptcy, Milacron executives were using the show to point to what they said was a more global focus on product development, with 11 centers worldwide focused on new products across its various business units.
“Collectively, we have developed more products in the last two years than our product brands have in the last 10 years,” Goeke said in a statement.
Chief Technology Officer Bruce Catoen told journalists that the company made efforts to standardize its product development processes globally, and focus on technologies like energy efficiency and multi-material manufacturing.
In more detail, the company's product introductions included:
• The Milacron PET Systems M-PET 300, a servo-hydraulic PET system for the preform molding market. It said it combines a range of Milacron offerings, including clamps, injection units, end-of-arm tooling and robots.
• Using co-injection molding to create an airtight plastic container with a thin (0.002 millimeter) barrier layer, with a shelf life of up to five years. The Klear Can, which was developed as part of Milacron's Kortec acquisition last year, is being shown in a 4-cavity work cell with a cycle time of less than 8 seconds.
• The debut of the company's system for molding thermoplastic and thermoset materials in one machine, a Roboshot 150 LSR molding cell, in partnership with liquid silicone rubber mold maker Roembke. Milacron is using its E-Multi auxiliary injection unit modified for silicone rubber, to manufacture an automotive diaphragm using nylon, and overmolded with LSR.
• A new range in its Maxima series, the “Performance” models, that build on the company's 2-platen platform, with 33 percent faster dry cycle times and 70 percent less energy consumption. Catoen said it's designed to enhance the line to move into packaging applications.
• A new model of its Ferromatik 580 co-injection machine for making five-gallon plastic pails with up to 50 percent post-consumer content, with a cycle time of less than 15 seconds.