Friedrichshafen, Germany — The Ferromatik Milacron name is making itself known again, with the Milacron full-electric EQ machine making its world premiere at the Fakuma trade show in Friedrichshafen.
Peter Kochs was named director of sales and business development at Ferromatik Milacron GmbH seven months ago, a newly created position. He is tasked with growing and strengthening the company's sales network throughout Europe.
In late 2019, Ferromatik Milacron GmbH (FME) was relocated in Germany from Malterdingen to Teningen. That year, too, all the Milacron companies were acquired by Hillenbrand Inc., a diversified industrial group based in Indiana.
Since then, the company has undergone a consolidation phase, during which the main focus has been on the aftermarket, Kochs said.
"Spare parts and service. After we closed the factory in Malterdingen, we moved the production of our machines to India. It took awhile to get the factory there up and running, as we had to transfer our knowledge and expertise to the team in Ahmedabad," he said. "While today, FME benefits from the joint know-how of Milacron in the USA and Milacron India, there was, as a consequence, a period during which we were not delivering new machines. During that time, our network of dealers and agents also shrank, which is why my job is to reestablish these contacts, as well to rebuild the market's confidence in the brand — and to introduce our new machines to the market. We are confident that the business is there."
The new EQ series shown at Fakuma is currently available in clamping forces up to 450 metric tons throughout Europe and in Asia. Larger sizes will become available in the future. The all-electric toggle machine was developed, said Kochs, with the global engineering team, "with people from the U.S., from Europe and from India."
Years earlier, he added, Ferromatik was one of the pioneers of electric machines in Europe.
"Their first electric machine was introduced 25 years ago. Since then, drawing on this deep well of expertise, the technology has constantly been improved in terms of mechanics, dynamics and drives," Kochs said. "Completely new motors and controls have been developed, resulting in this ... what we regard as a state-of-the-art machine."
The company had previously launched a servo-hydraulic machine range based on Milacron's Magna Toggle and F-Series injection molding machines, dubbed the Q series. As seen at K 2019, these machines are available in clamping forces from 110-550 tonnes.
"Mechanically speaking, they are the same as the EQ machines, the big difference being the drives. As the one is called Q, the electric one logically became the 'EQ,'" Kochs said.
The servo motor and hydraulic systems combine to provide power when it is needed, using less power when it is not. The eco-friendly design generates savings in electrical power consumption, cooling requirements and lower maintenance cost.
The third machine product is the C-series — "C" for Cincinnati — which is available in clamping forces currently ranging from 1,000 tonnes up to 4,000 tonnes.
"These are our large-tonnage, two-platen injection molding machines, and bigger sizes are still in development," he said. "Ultimately, the range will go up to 6,000 tonnes." The first C Series machine, a 1,700-tonne press, has been delivered to an automotive customer in Germany.
Also on display at the stand was the company's bolt-on Monosandwich unit, featuring technology that was patented and introduced by Ferromatik back at the beginning of the 1990s when it was "well ahead of its time," Kochs said. "Basically, no one was interested in the possibility of using regrind back then. Now, however, as the theme of sustainability continues to become increasingly important, we are seeing a huge rebirth of interest, and so again we're displaying it prominently on our booth."
The Monosandwich process creates parts with a layered "sandwich" structure in which recycled materials can be used for the core and new material for the exterior layers. That allows manufacturers to reduce materials costs by up to 30 percent. The technology is a relatively simple and economical one, requiring only a secondary extruder.
"It can be used with every mold," Kochs said. "The only thing that is absolutely necessary is that the mold has a cold runner."
The Monosandwich unit, he added, can be used on any machine, but can only be wholly integrated with the controls of a Milacron injection molding machine.