Fresh off buying the shuttered Czech Republic factory that formerly made Uniloy machines, small blow molding machinery maker GDK spol s.r.o. is looking for bigger things from K 2022.
The company, which is headquartered in the Czech Republic, is using the former plant of its U.S. competitor Uniloy to expand its product range.
CEO Petr Kusa said GDK's parent company, the Czech industrial conglomerate Koh-I-Noor Machinery Group, bought the Uniloy plant in Policka in 2020 and uses it for GDK and for other business units that build both blow molds and injection molds, as well as to injection mold plastic products.
Kusa said the new facility will help GDK with manufacturing larger machine ranges that it's introducing at K.
One of the new machines is its GM20k line, an all-electric, shuttle extrusion blow molding line that can be used to make 20-liter jerrycans in a 40-second cycle time. The company is pushing the lower energy costs of the fully electric machine.
"Low consumption of electricity is very important, during the energy crisis," Kusa said. "Your energy costs are four times higher than last year … because of the [Ukraine] war."
The GM20k line can make 180 20-liter jerrycans an hour with an energy consumption of 65 kilowatts per hour. It comes in both single and double station models with a clamping force of 240 kN, with a 700-millimeter shuttle stroke.
The company sees the economic disruption from rising energy costs as an opportunity to market its all-electric machines.
"Our customers are very much affected," Kusa said. "They are looking for new solutions, efficient solutions with low consumption of energy. I feel it's a good opportunity for us."
He said many of their customers with hydraulic machines are wondering if it makes sense for them to continue operating those lines.
The biggest direct economic impact on GDK now is from strained supply chains, particularly from electronic components, that are making delivery times longer, he said.
"A normal delivery time in the past was three or six months, depending on the machine size," Kusa said. "Now, delivery time can be one year."
The small company employs about 30 people and manufactures 20 to 25 blow molding machines a year, with annual sales of about €4.5 million. It started making all-electrics in 2007.
GDK has added eight employees in the past year, as it has ramped up production in its new plant in Policka.
The new factory lets it expand its machine range from production lines capable of making 10-liter containers previously to 30-liter containers now, Kusa said.
"We wanted to serve a larger market," he said. "It's a quite big step."
The Policka factory was previously owned by U.S. equipment maker Milacron, but was closed nearly a year before Milacron spun off Uniloy in 2019.
"Our mother company bought the facility and now we are building machines there," Kusa said.
Besides machinery, GDK's parent company Koh-I-Noor also manufactures injection and blow molds and, according to its website, has a division with 30 injection molding machines for manufacturing products.
GDK, which is based in the small village of Kolová, started in 1992. It became part of Koh-I-Noor in 2020.
At K, it's not exhibiting the GM20k model because it's too large for its booth, but GDK is showing a smaller machine, its GM751.X line, that will make half-liter clear polypropylene sport bottles.