Friedrichshafen, Germany — Nordson Corp. has only been in plastics processing equipment since 2012, but Ralf Simon has been in plastics a lot longer — long enough to remember the first Fakuma in 1981.
"I was at the very first Fakuma and have been attending every show since," said Ralf Simon, managing director of Nordson BKG GmbH & Nordson Polymer Processing Systems. "And it's amazing to me how much it has changed over the years. I don't think anyone could have envisioned that what was essentially a small, regional show for southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland would grow into the international event it has now become.
"I've seen customers from China here, and we just had a new customer come onto the stand from Mexico who wanted to talk about a recycling project!" Simon said.
Westlake, Ohio-based Nordson entered the plastics processing equipment sector with the acquisition of Extrusion Dies Industries LLC because it fit with Nordson's adhesive dispensing systems business. It subsequently purchased Kreyenborg Group's Kreyenborg GmbH and BKG Bruckmann & Kreyenborg Granuliertechnik GmbH companies and has now become what Simon said is a one-stop supplier of complete plastics processing systems.
The company continues to expand the product portfolio with new products, ranging from a robustly designed recycling filter for highly contaminated post-consumer waste to highly sophisticated, wear-resistant Xaloy plasticizing systems.
"The move into plastics processing systems has been a highly successful one," Simon said. "We cooperate with end users, as well as with all the ... extruder manufacturers."
In Europe, the company mainly sells compounding and recycling systems, as there are very few virgin material suppliers left.
"Business is good, but it's Asia where it is really booming. We are in the final deliver phase of a huge project in China: a plant that produces 3,500 tons per day of bottle-grade PET. It's about the biggest plant of its kind in the world and a milestone for us," he said. "Obviously, with a plant on that scale that runs 24/7, reliability is absolutely essential. We have established manufacturing, sales and after-sales in the region to provide the support customers like this require.
"The Asian region keeps us really very busy," he said.