China drives growth for KraussMaffei

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Photo by Caroline Seidel Visitors check out the Krauss Maffai Netstal Elion 100-250 at Fakuma,

KraussMaffei Group GmbH is experiencing powerful momentum from China 18 months after the company was purchased by state-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) in April 2016.

ChemChina bought the Munich-based plastics processing machinery maker for €925m. Since the acquisition, KM CEO Frank Stieler said the company is seeing growth and potential in China due to its shareholders and the company's presence there.

"This year, but next year especially, we are massively investing in production sites in China," Stieler said in an 18 Oct news conference at Fakuma.

The company's injection moulding machine manufacturing plant in Haiyan, China, has doubled its production volume and is anticipating an additional increase next year. The Chinese plant produces KM's GX series two-platen hydraulic injection moulding machines with clamping forces of about 400-900 metric tons as well its MX series, which offers higher clamping forces of 850-5,600 metric tonnes.

KM said its PX series of all-electric injection moulding machines has been well-received in Germany, China and the United States, and that production capacity for 2018 will need to be doubled due to the high interest.

The company bills the PX as a "made-to-measure" press, allowing customers to mix and match clamping and injection units, tailoring the press for specific moulding jobs. KM offers the PX in clamping sizes from 50-200 tonnes.

Hans Ulrich Golz, president of the injection moulding machinery segment, said KM makes the PX in Slovakia, and he said the production expansion will happen at that factory.

Orders and sales for 2017 have increased over last year by 10%. As of August 2017, total sales for the group reached €860m. In 2016, the company's sales were €780m.

KM attributed the growth to trends in digitalisation, new technologies and services, and ongoing investments at its three Chinese locations. Since being purchased by ChemChina, KraussMaffei has grown its global workforce by about 14% to include more than 5,000 employees.

A new 'lease' on machinery

In other news, KM has introduced a leasing model for all KraussMaffei and Netstal standard injection moulding machines up to 300 metric tons. The company is debuting the program for the German market.

"Today, we can choose to purchase or lease a car, but not machinery," Stieler said.

Under a four-year contract, customers have access to the latest models without having to pay the upfront costs of new machinery. At the end of the leasing period, customers can purchase the machine, lease a new model or return it to KraussMaffei.

The company said its market analysis has shown there's huge potential for second-hand machines. Stieler said he has "high expectations" for the leasing programme.

Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar contributed to this report.

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