Extrusion machinery maker Battenfeld-Cincinnati USA is starting the five days of NPE2018 with a machinery sale in its books.
The McPherson, Kan.-based company said it finalized a deal with a polyethylene pipe manufacturer for the purchase of Battenfield-Cincinnati's SolEx NG single-screw extruder just before NPE2018 got underway.
President and CEO Paul Godwin could not disclose the customer, but he said the sale is "about the best thing you can hope for at NPE," in a May 7 interview.
During a pre-NPE interview, Godwin had told Plastics News the new U.S. tax law could make the 2018 plastics trade show "a buying show rather than a shopping show."
"I don't know how much of it is coincidence, but it seemed like everything did come together really quickly on that one," he said of the sale, adding that the customer was looking for the latest technology available.
"We're just getting started, but we're ahead of the game," Godwin said.
The SolEx NG, on display at the Battenfeld-Cincinnati booth, will be shipped to the customer after NPE, following finalization and specification updates.
The model offers up to 20 percent higher outputs and uses 15 percent less energy. The extruder's new processing unit also results in a reduction of melt temperature by 15°-20° F.
"With the magnitude of machines that we manufacture and the complexity of the machines that we manufacture, it's very rare that we'll actually sell from the show floor," said Godwin, adding that the company did see a similar occurrence at NPE2015, where a customer bought the latest technology on the show floor and had it shipped directly to its facility.
"In my previous years coming to NPE shows, it's very rare because of the size and magnitude and how specific the equipment is to [a customer's] application," he added.
Additionally on display this year are the ConEx NG and the StarExtruder.
The ConEx NG boasts a highly flexible design, offering a wide range of outputs for the extrusion of PVC pipe, profile and sheet. It enables energy savings up to 20 percent, the company said, and it also offers configurations for primary or coextrusion applications.
Battenfeld-Cincinnati's StarExtruder, designed for high-grade food packaging such as thin-walled, resealable plastic containers or trays, consists of three parts: a single-screw zone for plastification, a planetary roller section for efficient degassing and an optimally dimensioned discharge zone.
"The ConEx NG, the SolEx NG and the StarExtruder — all of them have a platform looking at efficiency," Godwin said.
All three extrusion systems are equipped with the company's Industry 4.0-compatible BCtouch UX control, and it marks the first time Battenfeld-Cincinnati has displayed the equipment with the upgraded control system in the U.S., Godwin said.
"There's a lot of work still to be done to define what is Industry 4.0," he said. "The nice thing is that we've tried to target our technology platform on the control system that it's configurable for what will be the definition of Industry 4.0."
Godwin said customers in North America, and the United States specifically, are "starting to investigate [Industry 4.0 technology] more and more each day."
"It ultimately will come to, 'How much intelligent control do you want to have?' And it's going to be a personal choice or a business choice because … in order for the system to work at its highest level of efficiency, you're going to allow the machine to think and be a part of the planning process," he explained.
Godwin added: "It may be a ways in the future before customers are willing to release that kind of 'control.'"