ROCKY HILL, CONN. — Arburg GmbH + Co. KG officially opened its gleaming new U.S. headquarters in Rocky Hill on June 16-17, drawing 160 customers and suppliers to the glass-walled building in Rocky Hill.
Arburg built the 27,000-square-foot building, located near I-91, a few miles from its longtime U.S. base in Newington, Conn.
Arburg Inc. President Friedrich Kanz said 45 people work at the Rocky Hill headquarters.
“This new advanced building will strengthen Arburg's ability to service the U.S. market,” Kanz said.
The building looks like a mini version of Arburg's headquarters in Lossburg, Germany. The open house also celebrated Arburg's 25th anniversary of direct selling in the United States, through Arburg Inc. Before creating the U.S. unit, the company had sold through an agent since the 1960s.
The U.S. is Arburg's largest export market. Company executives say an installed base of 12,000 Arburg injection presses are molding parts in the United States and Canada.
“The fact that we celebrate this silver anniversary is a testament to our employee team, and to you, our customers,” said Michael Hehl, a managing partner of Arburg.
The Rocky Hill building has a showroom with space for up to seven injection molding machines, and a large area for machine preparation and stock machines that can hold up to 30 presses. A 38-ton crane runs the length of the building, which also has extra space to put together turnkey systems with full automation — which Arburg officials said is a growing part of Arburg's business.
Turnkey expertise features on all five of the molding demonstrations running at the open house — doing in-mold labeling of lids, direct-fiber direct injection to make a structural part, molding medical pipettes with full quality checks, two-component silicone parts and a demonstration of the Industry 4.0 technology.
Rocky Hill also sports a large spare parts department, holding 4,300 different parts. Kanz said Arburg can ship parts to arrive the morning after the order comes in.
“With 12,000 machines in the field, spare parts are very important,” he said.
The headquarters also has two of Arburg's Freeformers, the additive manufacturing machines. The Freeformer laboratory is run by Thomas Raymond, who has a background in the technology and has received training in Lossburg.
Kanz praised Arburg's staff, especially veteran employee John Adamowicz, the point man on the project who worked closely with the architect and builder.
“We closed Newington at 5 p.m. on a Saturday and opened for business in Rocky Hill on Monday,” he said.
Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., spoke at the grand opening.
“Manufacturing is alive and well in the U.S.,” he said.
Even though the strong dollar can be a drag on exports, making them more expensive, Carteaux said the U.S. plastics industry has a $12.6 billion trade surplus.
One big reason is the shale gas revolution, which lowers energy costs and has turned the U.S. into a major producer of ethylene.
The low manufacturing costs, and investment in new technology, has helped fuel reshoring of work to the United States. Carteaux said SPI is working with research and consulting company IHS on a study of reshoring's impact on the plastics industry.
Helmut Heinson, Arburg's managing director of sales, announced that to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Arburg USA, the company will discount the Golden Edition model of presses by 25 percent through the end of 2015. He called the Golden Edition, available in clamping forces of 44, 55, 110, 165 and 220 tons, “a German workhorse machine.”
“The celebration of 25 years means a 25 percent discount. But please, let's not talk today about a 50-year celebration!” Heinson quipped.