News and Developments

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Milacron India completes expansion project

MILACRON Holdings Corp. has completed the third phase of an expansion project in India.

The company has invested between $18 million and $20 million in the project, which is aimed both at the fast-growing market in India for plastics machinery, and at export markets.

“Our plant is running to full capacity of 1,500 units annually,” and the expansion will take the capacity up to 2,100 machines, said Shirish Divgi, managing director of Ferromatik Milacron India, in an interview from the unit's headquarters in Ahmedabad, India.

Mahendra Patel, Vice Chairman, Ferromatik India, Kannan Venkatraman, Managing Director, Mold-Masters India, Tom Goeke CEO Milacron Holdings Corp, . Ron Krisanda Milacron Chief Operating Officer and Shirish Divgi, Managing Director, Ferromatik India

The expansion will shorten lead times and add flexibility to manufacture a wider range of machines for domestic and global customers.

“We have received good orders from Latin American markets in Brazil and Mexico … and Germany, Italy and Portugal, besides developing Turkey in the European market,” Divgi said.

The 9,304-square-meter addition in Ahmedabad brings the total footprint there to 65,000 square meters. The additional space will primarily be used for machining and assembly. The ground floor of the facility is air conditioned and features a rainwater harvesting and recharging system.

Milacron CEO Tom Goeke had first announced the expansion project in 2014. Initially the company planned to build a new facility at another location in India, but eventually went ahead with expansion in Ahmedabad.

FMI also shifted spare-parts manufacturing to new premises to support the larger capacity for machine manufacturing. Ahmedabad makes hydraulic, servo and all-electric injection molding machines; blow molding equipment, and extruders. The plant makes presses ranging from 50 to 3,200 tons of clamping force.

Divgi said FMI has shipped the popular Magna T Servo machines from India to the United States, and is keen on expanding its sales in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, Blue Ash, Ohio-based Milacron also announced that it has completed installation of a large brazed furnace at its hot runner manufacturing plant in Coimbatore, India.

The new equipment will allow the plant to make iFlow manifolds. Milling the melt-channel paths into individual pieces allows for different melt-channel layout possibilities and eliminates the need for manifold plugs.

“The iFlow technology will be launched in the India market by the third quarter of 2016,” said Kannan Venkatraman, managing director of Mold-Masters India. Milacron invested around $2.5 million in the project.

Meanwhile, there is a plan to bring all the three units together in own premises by 2017-18.wn films, pelletising, mixers, and profiles.

Sacmi flexibility and know-how head for Expo Pack Mexico

MEXICo has long been a key market for the Group and home to Sacmi De Mexico for over 25 years. This fair will showcase the latest Sacmi-developed packaging technology, which combines Sacmi-assured productivity and reliability with maximum flexibility of use

In 2015 Sacmi de Mexico celebrated its 25th anniversary of doing business. A long-standing technological hub for all of Central America, Sacmi De Mexico has no less than three branches in the area (including the main one in Monterrey) and at least 50 workers committed to offering a punctual order management, spare parts and after-sales assistance service thanks to its specialised technicians and the use of advanced software.

It is with these credentials that the Group will be taking part in

Expo Pack Mexico, Central America's biggest Beverage&Packaging technology fair, to be held in Mexico City from 17 to 20 May 2016. At least 25,000 specialised professionals from 30 countries are expected to attend the event to learn about all the latest technological trends in the industry.

Sacmi will be showcasing its range at stand n° 2930 where it will illustrate its latest developments; these range from complete filling lines to PET processing and stretch-blow moulding systems and also include manufacturing solutions for ever- lighter, higher-performing caps that use compression technology.

Pioneers and leaders in total quality control, Sacmi also offers, through its Automation & Service Division, complete cuttingedge quality control systems for both production lines and test facilities. A long-standing market for the Group, Mexico is essential not just to local manufacturers but also producers in bordering nations such as Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela, Honduras and El Salvador. For this vast area, then, Sacmi De Mexico – established in 1990 and a specialist in closures, labelling, filling, packaging, automation and logistics – offers a solid reference point both at the design stage and throughout the working life of the machine or plant.

Milacron posts a profit even as quarterly sales are flat

FIRST quarter sales were flat at Milacron Holdings Corp., but the company made a profit after losing money in the first quarter a year ago.Milacron, which went public on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2015, released its first quarter financial information on May 5.

Milacron Holdings Corp.Goeke

CEO Tom Goeke said the performance also looks solid because the economy is “relatively flat.

“Our results are a significant accomplishment in light of the uncertain economic conditions we encountered during the first quarter,” he told financial analysts.

Milacron Chief Financial Officer Bruce Chalmers said: “Our balance sheet continues to strengthen, as free cash flow generation of $16.5 million represents an increase of over $30 million versus the prior year. This improvement in working capital and our disciplined approach to capital allocation led to the year-over-year increase.” First quarter 2016 sales were $277.3 million, down less than one percent from $279.2 million in the first quarter of 2015. Milacron reported a net profit of $9.8 million. The company lost $15.9 million in the year-ago first quarter.

Milacron's stock gained about 9 percent after the earnings release, closing at $15.85 on May 5, up from $14.56 on May 4. The stock had been around $17 in late April.

Milacron makes a wide range of plastics processing machinery, melt delivery systems like hot runners and mold components, and metal-cutting fluids. The company has production sites in North America, Europe, India and China. Goeke said Milacron has manufacturing in areas where it sells the equipment.

Milacron's Advanced Plastic Processing Technologies segment turned in the first quarter's best sales performance, growing to $156.1 million, from $154 million a year earlier. Melt Delivery and Control Systems declined. Fluid Technologies was flat.

Goeke said that diversity of products and geography gives the Blue Ash, Ohio-based industrial company strength and staying power.

“I'm pleased with our performance out of the gate,” Goeke told financial analysts. “The diversity of our businesses helps us drive solid performance, even when the economic picture is mixed. This is what differentiates Milacron as an investment.”

For example, India is a strong market for machinery and hot runners, he said. Growth fluctuates in regions of the world. “Not every region is always hitting on all cylinders, so when you look at the blend of where things have gone, we have been very fortunate,” Goeke said. The same growth pattern trend goes for end-markets.

“So if you look at our market mix and then our geographical mix, some of that acts is a hedge against each other,” Goeke said in an interview.

Milacron officials want to cut costs of $35 million by 2017. One big cost reduction will come in Germany, as Milacron announced March 10 that it is moving the long-time assembly of Ferromatik Milacron injection molding presses to the Czech Republic.

On the addition side, Milacron last November bought the CanGen business-of Canterbury Engineering, the screw and barrel manufacturer, crosshead extrusion dies maker Genca. The company also is investing in the PET market, with equipment systems for preforms.

Executives will continue to look at cost cuts this year, Chalmers said.

Rethink Robotics introduces its newest cobot, Sawyer, aimed at small companies

ROBOTS used to be prohibitively expensive, difficult to program and remarkably fixated on performing a single task really well. The advent of collaborative robotics has upended that paradigm. Not only has the technology broadened the types of Rethink Robotics (Boston, MA) has been drawing crowds at various trade shows over the last few years by showcasing its cobot Baxter going through the motions. Next month on June 14 to 16, at MD&M East and PLASTEC East , at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City USA, co-located events that are part of the most comprehensive advanced manufacturing show on the East Coast, the company would like to introduce you to Sawyer, the newest member of its family, at booth 2329.

Rethink Robotics' Baxter (left) now has a single-armed sibling, Sawyer

Launched at the end of 2015, Sawyer is a single-arm robot that uses similar technology to Baxter, but takes it to the next level. Sawyer contains series elastic actuators in the joints for safety and force-control behavior and works off the same software stack as Baxter, but the specifications for reach and payload are different. “Sawyer can hold 4 kg and has a 1260-mm reach,” says Brian Benoit, Senior Product Manager at Rethink Robotics. 'It is designed for specific applications involving machine tending in multiple industries. We did our due diligence after launching Baxter in 2012, and saw opportunities for the same type of robot performing different tasks.” Sawyer is the next-generation robot in a technology that is still fairly young. .

Cobots essentially came on the scene four or five years ago, says Benoit. In many ways, the technology was available—sensors, arms and so forth—but collaborative robotics put all of that together and, in the process, has really changed the conversation about affordability. “Rethink's robots can work with existing fixtures, making ease of redeployment so tasks that can be automated, the cost of ownership has plummeted. The list price for a cobot is in the low double digits, and the total cost of deployment is between $50,000 and 60,000. As for programming, fuggedaboutid. It's no wonder that much simpler and lowering the barrier to implementation. There are many more plant operations where the technology is a good fit,” says Benoit. It should be noted that conventional automation deployment costs typically exceed the cost of the robot itself. “But our robots can be rolled up to where they need to work and can use existing fixtures. With the exception of some peripherals, like end effectors, the cost of deployment when it comes to collaborative robotics is largely the purchase price of the robot, and that has been a game changer,” says Benoit.

Ease of programming has been equally instrumental in putting robotics within reach of small manufacturers. The teach-bydemonstration component has removed the technology barrier, says Benoit, eliminating the need for an experienced programmer. The development of powerful software has also been a boon.

“You need software that can adapt to changes and the workspace, and Rethink Robotics has a software stack that allows you to do that quickly and easily,” says Benoit. In fact, the company has prioritized developing software that plays well with others. For example, Rethink Robotics maintains a close relationship with its key vendors, such as machine vision company Cognex. “A Cognex camera is embedded in Sawyer's wrist, and we have a road map for adding functionality,” says Benoit, “and it's all integrated. Users won't have to learn two different versions of software. Sawyer uses its sensors to adapt to variable conditions, and our customers won't need access to outside knowledge or an in-house vision expert.”

In the plastics processing world, cobots have their limitations. They are not suited, for example, to sit on top of a molder and pick and place parts on a conveyor. “But they are uniquely suited to perform a number of other applications,” notes Benoit. “Baxter is really good at packing parts at the end of the conveyor, and Sawyer takes that a step further and can sit in the middle of the line to move parts into and out of a machine to remove flash or transfer the part to a stamping machine, for example.”

Bekum consolidates production division

BLOWMOLDING machinery manufacturer Bekum Group (Berlin, Germany) has finalized the reorganization of its business. Its production division, which includes machine assembly, shipping, procurement, work preparation and ware housing, has relocated to Traismauer (Austria), not far from Vienna. This involves an investment of more than $5.6 million and the creation of approximately 40 jobs.

The objective behind the move was to consolidate the European manufacturing of extrusion blowmolding machines at a single site. Previously, only large versions were manufactured there, but it will now accommodate smaller packaging machines to be constructed in the 16,000- square-meter space.

Andreas Kandt, Chief Executive Officer of Bekum, said: “The reorganization provided us with the basis for excellent market positioning. From our perspective, the reorganization results in considerable synergies not only on the cost side but by pooling expertise and experience. As a pioneer and technology leader, we have repositioned ourselves to continue shaping extrusion blowmolding through innovation and high-end products for the future.”

Last month, Bekum also moved into its new headquarters in Berlin not far from the previous office.

New KraussMaffei Berstorff ZE Performance twin-screw extruder with excellent cost-performance ratio

KRAUSSMAFFEI Berstorff has set new standards in the Chinese compounding market with the ZE Performance series. It is the result of the in-depth experience KraussMaffei Berstorff has gathered from the production of several thousand twin-screw extruders sold to customers around the globe. The ZE 52 and ZE 62 Performance extruder sizes are manufactured locally in China and offer the same convincing benefits of all KraussMaffei Berstorff machines: highest quality, maximum availability, exceptional modularity and unequaled flexibility combined with a low purchase price.

New ZE Performance series for a highly competitive market

“China is a promising market for high-performance extruders designed for a limited number of standard compounding applications. The ZE Performance series is specifically tailored to this mid-range market,” says Michael Hofhus, Vice President at KraussMaffei Berstorff in China. “We offer this standard machine at a highly attractive price in order to substantially extend our customer base in China.”

New ZE Performance twin-screw extruder series

The ZE 52 and ZE 62 Performance extruder sizes are completely assembled at the KraussMaffei production site in Haiyan, China. All components are produced either directly by KraussMaffei Berstorff or in close cooperation with renowned suppliers. The ZE Performance series is exclusively equipped with in-house developed KraussMaffei Berstorff screw elements

ZE Performance series for maximum productivity

ZE Performance extruders come with a compact base frame that features factory-defined spaces to accommodate temperature control units, oil lubrication unit and forms the platform for the modular design of the machine. The swiveling control panel gives easy handling and clear visualization of all control functions. On-board display of important extruder information saves time and provides enhanced working comfort.

The processing section is of modular design and can be specifically tailored in terms of throughput rate and application. The ZE Performance barrel housings are perfectly suited for the entire range of standard compounding tasks. Four sizes of different design with an L/D ratio of 4, 8 10 or 12 are available for optimum adaptation to the given application. All barrel housings are characterized by precise temperature control with heating/cooling bores being arranged extremely close to the processing chamber. While cooling is based on cooling water injection, high-performance electric cartridge heaters are used for direct and rapid heating.

The screw elements of the new twin-screw extruder series are tailored to standard compounding applications and provide both excellent compound quality and uncompromising production efficiency. The C-clamp flange system facilitates assembly and disassembly of the barrel housings and substantially reduces setup times during barrel housing changes.

The ZE 52 and ZE 62 Performance extruder sizes are equipped with air-cooled or water-cooled motors. A range of specially tailored upstream and downstream systems like various metering and pelletizing units turn the twin-screw extruder into a complete production line.

ChemChina completes takeover of the KraussMaffei Group

CHINA National Chemical Corporation (“ChemChina”) has successfully completed the acquisition of the KraussMaffei Group from Onex Corporation (“Onex”). All relevant regulatory approvals have been achieved. In the future, the KraussMaffei Group will be ChemChina's principal business entity in the operating and managing of related machinery enterprises. Drawing strengths from both sides, the KraussMaffei Group will continue to develop and compete in the international market.

“KraussMaffei Group will instill the robust German Industry 4.0 gene and the manufacturing tradition of craftsmanship into ChemChina's advanced manufacturing segment, so as to provide integrated solutions to more customers around the world, especially in the emerging markets, thus complementing our shortcoming, and I think that this embodies the true meaning of drying technology and equipment operate at the highest global standards.

“Through our strong management and technology skills we will be able to develop several fields and strengthen them to compete within the international market. We are thereby expanding our existing product portfolio, especially in the field of machines for the production of tires. The necessary steps will be initiated in the coming weeks”, Frank Stieler adds.

Michael Clauss, the German ambassador to China, noted in an interview that the German government welcomes foreign investment, and that German companies acquired by China are performing well, and relevant feedbacks have also reflected relatively high level of satisfaction.

The acquisition of the KraussMaffei Group by ChemChina supply-side reform, because here lies huge market demand”, said Jianxin Ren, Chairman of ChemChina.

“The transaction will enable us to gain stronger access to the market of the Greater China Region. We intend to accelerate our growth in Asia and particularly in China, which will also strengthen our company both in Germany and in the rest of Europe”, said Frank Stieler, CEO of the KraussMaffei Group. Securing this growth opportunity will also lead to an increase in our workforce outside China, particularly in Germany. The employee representatives and IG Metall welcome the change in ownership.

ChemChina has leading rubber and chemical machinery manufacturing businesses in China that provides services to the world's top ten tire manufacturers. It has one of the leading chemical equipment R&D and production bases in China and its from Onex was announced in early January 2016. ChemChina effected this acquisition together with its partners CNIC Corporation Limited and AGIC Capital.

ChemChina is China's largest chemicals group. It generated revenues of around €42.3 billion in 2015 with approximately 140,000 employees, of whom 48,000 are located outside China. The group operates internationally with a global strategy, having acquired companies in France, Australia, the UK, Israel, Norway and Italy in the last few years with the most recent acquisition being the high-end tire manufacturer Pirelli. In selecting investment opportunities, ChemChina focuses on exceptional management expertise as well as the quality and value of the acquired companies, and on gaining synergies in global markets.

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