North America is proving particularly interesting for the company. ‘We are working to have a presence in the US to start production in the longer term,’ Pozzi said. ‘This will probably be with technical and commercial support, and then assembly.’
The plan is to grow step by step, he explained. ‘There are several possibilities,’ he claimed. ‘We could go it alone, or work with our agent, Foam Supply. We are evaluating this. Or we could find an arrangement with a local producer. It depends on the opportunities.’
In the UK, Shane Wooton of CTM, Hennecke’s agent for the UK and Ireland, said: ‘We had a purple patch in domestic hot water cylinders. A big UK player decided to move factory, looked at his equipment and decided it needed to be refreshed. We pitched for the work and won three high pressure machines as well as an automatic line.’
He explained that the equipment included two fairly simple applications, and another was a fully automatic cylinder foaming line. ‘The client’s budget was not large enough to supply a part from Germany, and CTM was not prepared to make the handling side,’ he said. ‘The customer put us in contact with a company that could make the handling side. We now have a new contact, and the system is due to be installed in April or May this year.’
Singapore-based RIM Polymers said it used 2019 to reinforce its PU foaming plant design team. It claims to have built up a strong global talent team, with German, Japanese and other Asian designers.
Oei Han Tjing, executive vice president at CEH Group, said: ‘[We] made many innovative equipment and foaming process developments in the year.’ These allowed the company to gain customers at both automotive and cold chain OEMs who have adopted RIM Polymers’ new process.
A key development for RIM Polymers is its Smart Factory Solution. In common with other such systems, the company said, it can generate and integrate relevant PU production data, via its in-house tailored software to help production and finance departments collect and analyse data.
‘This can be used to identify production shortfalls, and make quick feedback and improvements to raise productivity and cut cost,’ the company said. It believes this could help users improve their cash flow by 5–10%, and cut costs by a similar percentage.
According to Philip Hindson of AutoRIM, 2019 was a year of consolidation, particularly with an impending Brexit. ‘2020 started off very positively, with a lot of business already placed, particularly from those bringing manufacturing back to the UK to avoid import tariffs and potential port delays.’
A good year
Philippe Jeantin, global head of Covestro Elastomers’ machines division, said that 2019 was a very good year for the company. ‘In fact, in the past three years we had double digit growth each year on average, so we really contribute to Covestro Elastomers.’
At UTECH 2018, the company launched a new concept, with the the Baule alpha and Baule omega machines. ‘These were developed after two years of engineering effort,’ Jeantin said. ‘The ranges have been very well received by moulders. We have sold a lot of machines.’
He explained that the Baule alpha machines are built to meet clients’ current needs, and are easy to modify as those needs change in the future. ‘There are a lot of variants and options, and these have all been predesigned,’ he said. ‘For example, a moulder could be processing a two-component system and buys a two-component machine. A couple of years later, they may need to run a three or four component system, or add a pigment injection device. The machine can be easily adapted on site using pre-designed components. We think we are the only machine manufacturer to have pushed this flexibility so far.’
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