KraussMaffei brews ‘new blend of plastics expertise’ ahead of K

“I like coffee, but above all else what I really like is a good blend,” said KraussMaffei CEO Frank Stieler at the recent K 2019 Preview in Düsseldorf, Germany. With that gustatory metaphor, Stieler went on to explain how changes going on within the Munich-based company that engineers injection molding, extrusion and reaction process technology systems will achieve a “new blend of plastics expertise.”

KraussMaffei CEO Frank Stieler
KraussMaffei CEO Frank Stieler.

The company’s subsidiaries and  locations—Netstal-Maschinen AG and KraussMaffei Berstorff—henceforth will operate under the single KraussMaffei name, Stieler told the 70-plus members of the press at the event. Netstal will now be known as KraussMaffei High Performance AG (although the machinery will continue to bear the Netstal name) and KraussMaffei Berstorff will operate as KraussMaffei Extrusion GmbH. Bringing the brands together, said Stieler, reflects the company’s identity. “KraussMaffei is a technological pioneer in the plastics industry, which supplies its customers across all industries with innovative and customized solutions in line with our new motto: Pioneering plastics,” he said.

The repositioning is a “big step” for Netstal, acknowledged Stieler, and he applauded the "courage of the people of Nafels, Switzerland," where Netstal is based, for coming together under a single brand. But business integration had been a reality before the company formalized the structure, noted KraussMaffei in a press release distributed at the preview event. The injection molding, extrusion and reaction process machinery divisions already work hand-in-hand for many applications, such as lightweighting. The restructuring “means that customers can select the solution that best suits them from the whole technology portfolio via their respective contact person,” said the press release.

KraussMaffei made a number of other announcements in relation to its participation at K 2019, which included:

  • An example of the circular economy in action—the company will mold polypropylene buckets on the show floor and then recycle them into a premium-quality automotive A-pillar panel with over-molded fabrics. A more detailed description can be found in the fifth slide of the slideshow, "K 2019 plans a show of sustainability."
  • A technology that allows processors to align older equipment with Industry 4.0–style connectivity through a simple retrofit.
  • Nadine Despineux, President, Digital & Service Solutions, KraussMaffei
    Nadine Despineux, President, Digital & Service Solutions.

    A new online business-to-business marketplace for the procurement and sale of compounds, masterbatches, recycled materials and post-industrial materials. “Polymore will connect compounders and convertors, in Europe initially, who today don’t know each other,” said Nadine Despineux, President, Digital & Service Solutions. “It goes beyond machinery to enable a circular economy,” she added at the preview event.

Amid all this change and forward movement, KraussMaffei remains steadfast in its commitment to the pioneering spirit that has shaped the company since it was founded in 1838, it said. “At a time when the public is commenting negatively on plastics, KraussMaffei has deliberately formulated this claim—‘pioneering plastics’—as a key performance promise,” said the company. “And whatever we do we will not decouple from this foundation,” added Stieler. “In this industry, we build the Mercedes S Class of machines, and that is not about to change.”

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