By Liz White, UT staff
Bad Reichenhall, Germany-Frimo Group GmbH, a specialist in design, development and production of equipment for moulding automotive plastics components, has also become a supplier of polyurethane metering and dispensing equipment.
Hans-Gunter Bayer, chairman of Lotte, Germany-headquartered Frimo revealed the surprise development 18 May, during the group's two day technology forum in Bad Reichenhall in Bavaria.
Frimo has acquired the PU mixing/dispensing technology from an unspecified company in the US, and Bill Otto, the US-based head of worldwide technical sales for Frimo, said the group will initially design and build the equipment in North America, and supply it into Europe from its Wixom, Michigan base.
The move comes as PU dispensing specialists Krauss-Maffei of Munich moves into the mould-making arena, competing directly with Frimo.
Asked if he was he worried by Krauss-Maffei's recent move into supplying tools and trimming technology, Bayer laughed and said "No. I like competition."
In a presentation in 19 May, Otto, who is based at Wixom, said Frimo's 15-May move into polyurethane metering and delivery equipment will make it "the largest producer of spray mix heads."
Frimo started manufacturing the polyurethane mix-heads at Wixom last week. Asked is it a completely new area for the company, the Frimo chairman quipped "Not any more."
Historically, Krauss-Maffei cooperated with Frimo in supply of complete systems in the PU field. Frimo's current partner in this area, Germany-based PU equipment supplier Hennecke GmbH, may be concerned over this move which puts Frimo in direct competion. Hennecke, a Bayer MaterialScience subsidiary, has recently been cooperating with Frimo to supply PU metering/and dispensing equipment.
A 'one stop shop' for PU equipment
Traditionally the track and the metering and mixing equipment was sourced separately from the tooling, but now everything can be sourced from the same supplier, Otto stressed. No longer do customers need two suppliers, they have "a real one-stop shop for all PU moulding," from Frimo, Otto said.
Giving more details, Otto said Frimo has acquired PU equipment production expertise, including metering, and delivery, "especially for RIM skins, spray urethanes, backfoaming, and rigid foam. In PU mix-heads, really the core specialist area for PU equipment, Frimo has bought technology to make mix-heads for both flexible and rigid foam, he added.The spray mix-head has patented features, with the US patent issued last week, Otto commented.
The company Frimo has acquired the technology from has built 11 systems for spray urethanes for car interiors in the last four years, Otto commented, among them four GM models supplied by Magna Intier, and other contracts supplied by Lear.
While Otto focussed on the spray systems, he pointed out that Frimo also now has the technology for reaction injection moulding and other processes. Previously Frimo had to sub source these when acting as project manager. Now Frimo no longer is in the middle, it does not have to go to another supplier for metering systems and mixheads, but can offer these itself. "We were in the middle, usually, as integrator," Otto commented, now it is "all our own responsibility."