LAWRENCE, Kan.—The rubber industry, and manufacturing as a whole, is evolving. HF Mixing Group wants to make sure it's prepared.
The machinery maker has set a target of 25 percent growth through 2023. Ian Wilson, the firm's vice president of sales and marketing and member of HF's board of management, said that it will need to invest to have the appropriate capacity levels in production, engineering and field service.
"If there is one consistency in our industry, I would say it's the change," Peter Scholz, vice president of sales and marketing in North America and site director for HF's facility in Topeka, Kan., said at HF's International Mixing Seminar, held recently in Lawrence. Scholz said the event drew 184 attendees.
"It changes almost all the time, either by rubber product or equipment changes. The latest—what we see right now—is with the automotive industry moving toward electric and autonomous vehicles. But there are others: Manufacturing 4.0, data mining, the automation process, cybersecurity and more preventive and corrective actions."
HF estimated that in 2017 there were about 300 batch mixers procured from the market. Wilson said the firm projects that number to reach 600 by 2050, and that it holds about 50 percent of the market share.Capacity needs to increase significantly to meet these future industry requirements, Wilson said. Growth in automation and continued interest in tandem mixing will be driven by complexities in automotive.