By David Eldridge, Plastics & Rubber Weekly
Chicago, Illinois -- An automated routing, trimming and cutting cell on show at Stand S28096 at the NPE in Chicago forms the centrepiece of an agreement between Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB Robotics and Osnabrück, Germany-based Frimo Group.
In the agreement, the two companies will jointly manufacture and market the FlexTrim cell. The deal also means Frimo now has preferred integrator status with ABB in the plastics industry.
Jeff Daily, president and ceo of Frimo Inc., based in Wixom, Michigan, said the agreement provides joint marketing and sales opportunities for the partners. The NPE stand is the first example of this combined marketing effort.
For ABB, said Ted Wodoslawsky, vice president of marketing in the robotics division, the deal gives it exposure to new markets, especially automotive. Frimo has a strong position in developing automation cells for automotive plastics manufacturers.
The automotive sector may be in a trough right now, but that situation will change, he said. "This agreement means we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of an automotive recovery."
Offering flexibility through automated robot-based cells will appeal to automotive OEMs, said Daily. Car makers are producing a wider range of models at lower cost and the FlexTrim cell suits that requirement.
Also on show at NPE is a cell in which an ABB robot is demonstrated in a PU spray application.
Frimo employs 1200 at 15 locations and had annual sales of Euro 150 million ($209 million) in 2008.