The plastics industry has been tasked with developing recyclable materials that can be reused as often and quickly as possible so their products won't be equated with waste — and machine builders are on the front line of the effort.
At Arburg GmbH + Co KG, some 3,600 employees are tackling global issues about resource conservation, the circular economy and carbon reduction.
"Our message in this regard is that, as machine manufacturers, we have understood the problem, we have recognized the scale of it, and we are doing our utmost to contribute to the solution — if possible working shoulder to shoulder with many others," Michael Hehl, an Aburg managing partner, said at a K 2022 news conference held Oct. 18.
The company's slogan — there is only a Plan A — represents how seriously the family-owned business accepts the task.
"We only have one world, and we all have to take responsibility for it! There's no alternative," Hehl said.
To master the challenges, machine builders need to be resilient, especially as they balance opportunities and risks, to stay in a competitive position, added Jürgen Boll, Arburg's managing director of finance and controlling IT.
"At Arburg, we have been acting in this spirit on an ongoing basis for decades. Our facts and figures prove this time and again," Boll said.
He expects Arburg will see sales of about 750 million euros in 2022, which puts the company above and "beyond the level" of 2018, which was a record year.
"We currently have a good order backlog and are manufacturing according to our planned production schedule," Boll said, emphasizing that is the case in spite of material shortages and supply bottlenecks.
"Sounds trivial but, in fact, it is not," he added. "It is a complex task that can only be accomplished with the right product range and planning systems. This creates the necessary resilience even in the event of material shortages."
Arburg's long-standing partnerships with predominantly local suppliers also helps as does its high level of vertical integration, Boll said.
As for opportunities for sales and to promote sustainability, Arburg officials introduced a new 3D printer — Freeformer 750-3X — that has an extremely large build area, which they say continues the trend in industrial additive manufacturing toward becoming more cost effective for day-to-day production.