Conthey, Switzerland — A Swiss global expert in in-mold labeling is bringing its specialized technology and know-how to the United States.
H. Müller-Fabrique de Moules SA and sister company CBW Automation Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo. — both subsidiaries of Switzerland's Mold & Robotics Group — have embarked on a knowledge sharing process that will see Müller's expertise in building IML systems transferred to CBW Automation, allowing them to be manufactured in North America for the first time.
To accomplish that, a cross-functional team has been established that will coordinate the transfer of the engineering designs, control programs, manufacturing techniques and optimization processes for the systems.
Mold & Robotics Group bought high-speed robot maker CBW in 2017. The group already owned H Müller-Fabrique de Moules, based in Conthey, Switzerland. Last year, the group bought Dollins Tool Inc. in Independence, Mo.
Mold & Robotics Group calls itself the first globally operating industry and technology leader in tool making and automation technology for thin-wall plastic packaging.
Until now, however, IML systems from Müller have solely been produced at the company's headquarters in Switzerland. Unlike Europe, where IML has gained strong penetration in a range of packaging applications, IML technology has been slower to develop in North America.
However, demand is picking up for IML among processors and end users in North America.
"There is strong growth for in-mold labeling systems in North America and our customers are hungry for domestically produced systems that reduce shipping costs and deliver time-to-market benefits," said Taras Konowal, North America director of sales and marketing for Mold & Robotics Group.
Initially, CBW Automation will manufacture IML systems that are designed for large 2x12 stack molds delivering 24 cavities per shot. These systems are for production of injection molded thin-wall polypropylene packaging for containers and lids. The technology for smaller cavitation IML systems and take-out robots from Müller to CBW should be completed later this year.
The company has already sold its first IML system, to a U.S.-based molder of thin-wall packaging. The company did not release information about which molder is involved. Design and manufacturing are already underway, with delivery scheduled for later this year.
Plastics News' senior reporter Bill Bregar contributed to this report.