KraussMaffei says that its focus for the future continues to be on its customers, service offering and embracing ‘Industry 4.0’ and, although it was too early to give predictions for 2016, the signs were “positive”.
Speaking at Fakuma, new CEO, Dr. Frank Stieler, said although it was too early to comment on strategy, having not yet served 100 days with the company since starting in the role, however, did say that he had “confidence for growth in the market and the Group’s products.”
“If you look at our different markets we are sure that demand will continue to grow,” Stieler commented. “Even if there are difficulties, such as those regarding VW and the issues in China, we don't see these ‘slumps’ affecting the global megatrends such as urbanisation, sustainability, health, productivity and resource efficiency.”
Expanding on the effects that the VW crisis may have on the automotive supply chain and its businesses, Stieler said they expected demand to be the same.
“We assume that the demand in the automotive industry will further develop ad will not be impacted by one company. We think it will be shifted from one company to another. We do not see the whole of the automotive market being affected because of VW. We do, however, expect a price pressure on the market,” he explained.
Regarding his new position with the Group, Stieler said that his focus was on the customers and making their “lives easier” through intelligent proceses and excellent service offerings.
Netstal World Premiere
Markus DalPian, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Netstal, said the business is demonstrating a “world first” at Fakuma, with injection compression moulding using a stack mould.
The company is producing a polypropylene (PP) margarine tub on an ELION 2800-2000 machine using a stack mould with 4+4 cavities. It incorporates IML decoration and have a total weight of 10.7 grams.
DalPian said the combination of the two processes “is a genuine innovative leap”, with the advantages including even results, narrow wall thicknesses and a lighter product resulting in lower unit costs.
Furthermore, the end product (lids in particular) are said to show fewer signs of distortion and has a greater dimensional accuracy due to the lower stresses placed on the material, making the process attractive to packaging manufacturers.
Giving customers a “competitive edge”
Dr Hans Ulrich Golz, President of the Injection Moulding Business for KraussMaffei, said the company’s product development is driven by the need to give customers a competitive edge.
“Daily business for our customers can be quite demanding,” Golz said, “So, we are tackling this challenge with our customers by looking at increasing productivity in injection moulding – resources, costs, specialisation and efficiency.”
Golz highlighted its ‘Productivity Plus’ technologies, APC and multi-touch as applications that were being well received by its customers. The APC system is being shown at Fakuma for the first time with a silicone injection moulding application. This, said Golz, was not as simple a process as it might sound.
“Working with silicones in the IMM is quite different, so it is not so easy to apply APC. You need to adjust algorithms and change the settings needed for the machine,” he explained.
Asked about the benefits of APC for silicones, as opposied to thermoplastic parts production, Golz said he expected to see benefits equally as positive.
“The potential of LSR cannot be communicated now as we are gathering experience,” he explained. “In thermoplastics it is evident, in both costs and materials reduction. We have customers that are trialling the system with LSM, but we don't have results yet. We will say that we think it will benefit them and have quite significant results at the end of the day.”
KraussMaffei said that Industry 4.0, or ‘Plastics 4.0’ as the company has termed it, has major significance in driving the company’s future plans.
“Industry 4.0 is the answer to smart processing,” explained Golz. “At KraussMaffei Group we want to show what smart processing can do for our customers. We call it ‘Plastics 4.0’ – developing smart solutions that help make life easier for our customers. This intelligence helps customers master things they haven’t been able to in the past.”