Battenfeld conference focuses on innovation
Global competition, rising material materials costs and price reduction demanded from OEMs is causing the injection...
Global competition, rising material materials costs and price reduction demanded from OEMs is causing the injection molding business to become more challenging each year, said Wilhelm Schrder, member of the managing board of SMS GmbH, Battenfeld’s parent company.
“This does not mean opportunities do not exist,” he noted. “You can still run a profitable business if you take advantage of the right process technologies.”
In September, Battenfeld hosted its first technology conference at its U.S. headquarters in South Elgin, Ill. The firm introduced a new injection molding machine and conducted seminars for plastics processors ranging from screw technology, to micro-molding, to the economics behind rising materials costs.
With many companies tightening their belts and even going out of business, the event focused on streamlining processes as well as maximizing and selecting the right technology to compete in today’s tough marketplace.
Joe Rowmanowski, president and CEO of Machinery Systems Inc. in Schaumburg, Ill., keynote speaker at the event, said plastics processors today can compete with low wages in foreign markets by carving out a niche for themselves.
However, to be successful in a niche plastics processors need to talk to their customers and ask them what they could improve. Processors need to be able to identify what they do better than any other competitor and focus on those skills.
As part of being successful in a niche, Romanowski suggested making sure you’re able to run a large mix of low-volume parts. That way, you can increase your customer base and increase the time-to-market of your parts.
Additionally, he said North American firms can capitalize on their years of design expertise that is not available in such emerging markets as China and India, and by running highly-engineering, complicated parts.
As well, he said plastics processors should take steps to ensure accurate parts are produced by taking advantage of technologies that can avoid short-shots, for example.
Finally, Romanowski added plastics processors need to be more innovative, and to add-value to the parts they produce for their customers. That means if they can suggest a way to improve a part, to suggest it to their customer.