“The floor has been laid out to make our process a very efficient flow and to reduce our lead times to make us more efficient to re-invest that money in research, development and customer service,” Zepp said.
“We're not just investing in the building. It's in the equipment and machinery needed to modernize our operation.”
Harburg-Freudenberger Maschinenbau GmbH acquired Farrel in 2009, and in 2010 the company was integrated into the HF Mixing Group along with Harburg and Pomini Rubber & Plastics S.r.L., which Harburg acquired in 2007.
In 2013 HF relocated its entire batch mixing machinery business to Topeka, Kan., allowing the Ansonia operations to focus solely on continuous mixing.
The firm also realigned its other sites to focus exclusively on one type of mixer.
Zepp said the company has been on a three- or four-year growth pattern with its continuous mixing business.
Paul Lloyd, director of HF's Continuous Mixers business unit, said the restructuring of HF's business units is allowing it to focus on new growth product lines—such as carbon black masterbatches for automotive and film; polyvinyl chloride compounding for flowing and flexible PVC; and flame retardant compounding for construction and cables.
Lloyd said biopolymers, a small niche market now, are expected to grow over time, and that because Farrel's equipment is advantageous in processing heat sensitive compounds, the firm is positioned to capitalize on that growth.
Farrel's core business is calcium masterbatch, or polyolefins filled with calcium used in fillers for products such as film, Lloyd said.
“One of the key strategic benefits for us is to get all of our people under one roof with engineering and R&D all in the same building so we can be more efficient in the way that we work together to develop our new products for the market,” Lloyd said.
“Our goal is to re-focus the machines back into other areas we've let lapse now that we have the focus of the business unit (on continuous mixing).”