(From the June 13 issue of Rubber & Plastics News)
LOSSBURG, Germany—German injection molding machinery producer Arburg GmbH + Co. K.G. used the occasion of its traditional technology days open house recently to reveal a strong recovery from the recession.
Chairman Michael Hehl said the company's consolidated 2010 sales are expected to show a 73-percent jump to $555 million. That still is 7 percent below the company's all-time record posted in 2007, followed by declines in sales in the next two years.
Hehl expressed optimism for the future, based on a huge influx of new orders.
And the share of incoming orders for the firm's electrical drive Alldrive machines has risen from 15 percent in 2009 to 16 percent in 2010.
The hybrid-drive Hidrive machine share increased slightly faster, from 11 percent to 13 percent. Describing the Alldrive and Hidrive machines as Arburg's high-energy-efficiency products, Hehl said they together represented 29 percent of all orders in 2010, up 3 percent from the year earlier.
While the share for the lower-priced hydraulic Golden Edition line rose from 21 percent to 22 percent, there were declines in large machines of all types above 250 metric tons clamping force (down from 14 percent to 13 percent) as well as for multicomponent machines (down from 14 percent to 12 percent).
The “project” business—complete production cell solutions—remained stable, accounting for a 12-percent share of incoming orders in 2010.
“The enormous order intake has extended delivery times to around five months, and although there are differences depending on the type of machine, we can say that our production capacity is fully utilized,” said Technical Managing Director Herbert Kraibuhler
Helmut Heinson, managing director of sales, said demand from outside Germany, especially in overseas markets, is particularly strong. “The USA has recovered and is moving forward again, as are Mexico, Brazil, Asia and China,” he said.
Referring specifically to China, Heinson said the trend for more Chinese-owned companies buying European-built machines has continued.
“When developing sales for their products, Chinese customers have been stress- ing the high quality they achieve with European machines.
This applies not only to Arburg, but also to other European machine suppliers,” he said.
Heinson said the company has seen “stable development” in Europe, and the initial relatively slow recovery in Germany has strengthened.
Looking back to 2009, Heinson said Arburg's traditional rather high dependency on the automotive industry and its suppliers caused the big drop in sales. “It caught us hard,” he said.
Heinson said the introduction of the Hidrive range has helped the company alleviate this high dependency, strength- ening its business in packaging applications including in-mold labeling applications and use of the “cube” rotating stack mold technology.
Turning to recent international events, Kraibuhler said it is still too early to say if the recent disaster in Japan will have an effect on Arburg's production.
He said the high degree of self-sufficiency at Arburg, through its high level of vertical integration in production, puts it in a strong position. However, he admitted to some concerns over a developing worldwide shortage of components, which is being created by companies “buying for hoarding.”