As of February 23, 2018, Vienna-based Plastech Holding GmbH is the new majority shareholder of the Kautex Maschinenbau Group, a leading German manufacturer of extrusion blow molding machinery. The Austrian company takes over from the previous investor capiton AG after acquiring a 74.9 percent stake. Plastech is headed by member of the Neumann family of machine builder Engel fame, however the new ownership as no direct connection with Engel, Kautex hastens to add.
|Olaf Weiland, Kautex CEO & Partner (center), and Paul Neumann, Partner at Plastech (left), detailed the future direction of Kautex at Chinaplas 2018.|
Paul Neumann, partner at Plastech Holding says the focus is now in further business expansion. Kautex has enjoyed above average growth over the last twelve years. The group's revenue has increased from approximately EUR60 million in 2006 to around EUR 144 million in 2017. And with a machinery manufacturing capability in Shunde, China, the group’s Asian sales have jumped from EUR30.3 million in 2015 to EUR50.2 million last year (35% of overall sales).
At Chinaplas 2018, the company was exhibiting compact KCC10 MK3, which was demonstrating the production of three-layer 1,000-ml bottles with a foamed middle layer using MuCell Extrusion technology. The foaming of the middle layer significantly reduces the amount of material required and provides better thermal and insulating properties. The foaming process can be used for all Kautex packaging machines with continuous extrusion.
In 2016, Kautex’s introduction of the KCC20 MK3 started the gradual process of transitioning to the third generation of KCC-series equipment at its Shunde plant in Southern China, which is by now almost complete. The benefits of the new KCC MK3 models include not only better accessibility and significantly quicker changeover times, but also shorter lead times. Their all-rounder status means that the machines can be used for a wide range of applications – for packaging, automotive and special applications.
The next stop for the KCC10 MK3 demo machine will be the technical center planned for Q3/2018 start-up at Shunde Kautex, where it will be used to develop new applications. Customers in China will thus be able to benefit from the same Kautex service available from its HQ in Bonn in the future.
Kautex also presented its new generation of virtual machines at Chinaplas. These training tools simulate production processes for various machine types and use cases in real time. The hardware consists of a compact workstation unit, two monitors, a projector and a real machine control panel. Modularization allows for a seamless transition from one series to another. KCC machines were recently added to the training tool, which already includes the KBS and KBB series. The virtual machines can be accessed at Kautex technical centers or transported to customer sites for training courses.
Kautex has also brought partial production of its all-electric blow molding machines to Shunde. The front module, which is essentially the drive module which incorporates the servo drive, planetary gears, the shuttle and other componentry is manufactured in Germany and shipped to China where the final machine is assembled with the extruder unit and other mechanical components that are fabricated in China. The all-electric blow molding machine series boasts a tool change time of 10 minutes for a bottle mold, and 15 minutes for a jerry can mold.