Arburg GmbH + Co. KG is expecting to report good growth in sales of injection molding machines, based on its preliminary 2015 figures, and a strong order book, especially for hydraulic machines.
Speaking at Arburg's Technology Days event in Lossburg, Germany, in March, the group's managing partner Michael Hehl said that although final figures were not yet available, “we can say that our consolidated turnover including our worldwide subsidiaries will be around 580 million euros ($654 million) — a new record for Arburg.”
The final 2015 sales number should be at least 5.8 percent higher than the 548 million euros ($618 million) achieved in 2014. The increase is slightly above the 5 percent estimated overall in January for German plastics and rubber machinery producers by the VDMA trade association, which in turn exceeded a preceding 4 percent forecast.
Incoming orders grew even faster for Arburg in 2015, up 16 percent over 2014, compared with just 6 percent for German plastics and rubber machinery overall.
The highest growth here was in hydraulic drive machines with a 41 percent increase. These were followed by the “larger” hydraulic machines – defined as 250 up to 500 metric tons of clamping force – with 23 percent growth in orders, turnkey lines 12 percent growth and 10 percent growth each for electrical and hybrid drive machines. Hehl said the larger machines account for around 21 percent of sales, electrical and hybrid drive machines for 22 percent.
Arburg's 32 percent increase in investment expenditure in 2015 is well supported by order levels, and has taken place along with a 6.1 percent increase in the number of employees to 2,500 worldwide. With Arburg continuing to produce its machines only in Germany and with a high degree of vertical integration, it is understandable that most staff (2,200) are in Germany. Hehl commented on Ferromatik's move of production from Germany to the Czech Republic by simply saying: “I think it is positive for us.”
Against a background of Arburg having praised electric drive for quite some years, Plastics News Europe asked how the company could explain the much larger growth in hydraulic machine sales in 2015. Technical director Heinz Gaub replied: “The demise of hydraulic machines has always been predicted, but the fact is that we have many customers who buy exclusively hydraulic machines for their robustness and reliability, and ease of doing their own maintenance. What happened in 2015 has to do with some large orders from customers who re-equip their plants every few years.”
At the Technology Days event, Arburg held an opening ceremony for its new Hall 22, which adds a further 18,600 square meters of production area floor space to the Lossburg facility. Arburg also unveiled its new Golden Electric series of electric drive machines, which are being launched with four clamping forces of 60, 100, 150 and 200 tonnes. The new machines were presented jointly by Helmut Heinson, who is retiring as Arburg's managing director of sales, and Gerhard Böhm, who is his successor.