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Photo by JSB Group
Swiss high-performance plastics composites supplier Gurit Holding AG is strengthening its wind energy business with a DKK 520m (€70m) acquisition of JSB Group.
Based in Ringk?bing, Denmark, JSB is a supplier of core material kits for wind turbine blades with seven kitting operations in Denmark, Spain, Turkey, the US, and China. The company is also planning to build a new kitting facility in Mexico.
The JSB operations will form a new Gurit business unit for kitting solutions. JSB’s established name will be retained as a product brand.
According to JSB website, core material kits consist of up to 1600 unique items used to increase the durability and performance of wind blades.
By combining the right thickness and sizes and cutting them into the right shapes, a kit becomes a lightweight yet sturdy component to support the wind turbine blade. A kit usually consists of shells for the lower and upper part of the blade and a vertical web in the middle for extra support.
JSB's are made from either balsa wood or recycled plastic-based PET foam.
Gurit, which is already a leading supplier of wind core materials, said the acquisition of JSB downstream core kitting operations would improve its value chain and allow it to offer wind energy OEMs a full solution of structural core materials, core material kits and wind turbine blade moulds.
The combination of the two companies’ capabilities into a dedicated product and supply chain powerhouse will drive down cost of energy for customers, explained Frank Virenfeldt Nielsen, CEO of JSB Group commenting on the takeover.
“This is another milestone in our corporate strategy to significantly enhance the Gurit wind energy business globally towards market leading positions in the areas in which we operate,” added Rudolf Hadorn, CEO of Gurit.
The move, Hadorn explained, was “a big step” in supporting Gurit’s wind energy customers and offering “smart, tailored and regionally accessible solutions.”
JSB Group has 560 employees and expects to generate CHF120m (€105m) in sales in 2018.
According to Gurit, JSB has effective kit design capability and high quality while offering precision manufacturing of kits with purpose-built manufacturing equipment.
JSB Group is held by the private equity fund VC VIII JSB Holding ApS, of which Verdane Capital VIII K/S is the majority owner.
The transaction is expected to close by mid-October.
Photo by Caroline Seidel Ethan Stiefel, left, and Brandon Birchmeier from Imflux at Fakuma 2018.
Friedrichshafen, Germany — Fakuma 2018 marks the first trade show where an injection press manufacturer has exhibited moulding technology from Imflux, part of consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co.
Milacron Holdings Corp. is moulding a technical part on an all-electric Elektron EVO 155 press running a four-cavity Imflux mould during the show, which opened Oct. 16. Two people from Imflux will be stationed at the machine all week to explain the process.
Six Imflux employees are attending Fakuma 2018 in Friedrichshafen in what the P&G unit considers an important trade show debut. Imflux CEO Mary Wagner is also at the show.
"It's a seamless integration of Imflux in a moulding machine," Gene Altonen, Imflux chief technology officer said in an interview at Milacron's booth 15 Oct, the day before Fakuma began.
The injection press is equipped with Imflux software and pressure sensors inside the mould and nozzle.
Imflux uses constant, low pressure to slowly fill the mould, while simultaneously packing the melt and cooling the mould. Imflux software, linked to sensors, controls the process. Traditional injection moulding uses high pressure and high temperatures, then switches over to the pack-and-hold phase.
Imflux officials say the technology can cut cycle time, reduce moulding pressure by 50%, reduce moulded-in stress and shrink variations and allow a wider range of processing windows and shrink variations inside the mould, among other benefits.
The Fakuma demonstration is designed to show off Imflux's capabilities, such as Auto Viscosity Adjust, which automatically makes adjustments for variations on viscosity.
Altonen said the four-cavity mould is intentionally ? unbalanced. And the injection press will change materials and colors during moluding, from white high density polyethylene to red polypropylene and back.
Booth visitors can randomly turn off a mould cavity, and rather than flash the mould, Imflux gives constant feedback to make the adjustment and keep moulding good parts, he said.
Photo by Caroline Seidel Small plastic wheels made on Milacron presses at Fakuma 2018.
Andy Stirn, Milacron's director of applications engineering for advanced plastics processing technologies, said the machinery manufacturer is proud to show the first Imflux-enabled injection press.
"We're introducing it as a module of our M-Powered suite of products, and it is unique in that it's integrated into the controller. It's the first time it's been integrated into a machine controller," Stirn said.
M-Powered is Milacron's Industry 4.0 technology that the company launched at NPE2018 in Orlando, Fla. M-Powered is making its European debut at Fakuma 2018.
Altonen said the two companies have worked together to interface Imflux with the Milacron press controller. He said of Imflux: "As a company, we're moving into the direction of trying to simplify the process."
Consumer products giant P&G set up Imflux as a technology company in Hamilton, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. Milacron's headquarters is in nearby Blue Ash, Ohio, and its main assembly plant is not far away in Batavia, Ohio.
Imflux leaders want injection moulding press manufacturers to offer Imflux-enabled machines as a way to spread the technology through the plastics industry. Kevin Wise, the Imflux vice president and chief financial officer, said Imflux is working with several other machinery manufacturers, including Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., Engel Holding GmbH and KraussMaffei Group.
In other injection press news at Fakuma, Milacron's Quantum 180 toggle press is making its European debut. Quantum presses are equipped with Milacron's Endura Touch control interface, which is available in presses with clamping forces from 125-610 tons.
The Quantum machine is outfitted with a Mold-Masters E-Multi secondary injection unit, a TempMaster M1 controller and an indexing rotary table. The press has a two-component mould from Wilhelm Weber GmbH & Co. KG and is moulding a squeegee used in showers and for home window cleaning. The body will be moulded from a polycarbonate/ABS blend, and the E-Multi will inject the flexible thermoelastomer component. The cycle time is 50 seconds.
Photo by Caroline Seidel The new Engel e-motion 120 at Fakuma 2018.
Despite a slowdown in North America amid trade uncertainty, Engel Holding GmbH expects global sales to reach around €1.6bn for fiscal year 2018-19, marking a 6% increase in earnings over last year.
Global sales for the 2017-18 fiscal year ending 31 March were €1.51bn, up 11% from the prior year, company leadership said during an 17 Oct news conference at Fakuma.
The Austrian maker of injection moulding presses, robots and automation systems cited Europe as the biggest contributor, making up 53% of the company's sales, followed by the Americas at 24% and Asia at 22%.
"We see kind of a shift from the previous years due to the current economic situation," Christoph Steger, Engel's chief sales officer, said, citing a 2% turnover that shifted from the Americas to Asia.
Continued growth in central and Eastern Europe is balancing out a slowdown in the United Kingdom, where the consequences of Britain's exit, or Brexit, from the European Union are resulting in bouts of uncertainty, the company said.
"People are a bit reluctant with investments at the moment," Steger said of a "certain reservation" the company is seeing in parts of Europe because of confusion surrounding the Brexit strategy.
Germany, specifically, continues to post the highest sales. Over the last five years, Engel has increased its sales by 50% in the country, where it employs 340 people across four locations.
Revenue growth in Asia has been the biggest for the Engel Group and is continuing to grow, Steger said. Stricter quality requirements in the medical and packaging industries are leading to increased demand, with China as the strongest driver of growth in the region.
This past April, Engel said it was investing €10.5m into expanding capacity for its Changzhou, China-based Wintec subsidiary. The investment marked the first expansion since the machinery maker launched the Wintec brand of standardised injection presses four years ago.
Recent economic developments in North America, however, are not as encouraging, the company said. The region is below last year's level of growth for the fiscal year's second quarter. Engel did not provide any specific figures, however.
The company said the slowdown in North America is primarily due to large international conglomerates that are taking a "wait-and-see approach" in response to the latest developments in economic policy.
Recent changes, including the Sept. 30 news that Canada will join Mexico and the United States in a revised North American Free Trade Agreement — now called ? the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — in addition to U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement of new tariffs covering another $200 billion in Chinese imports, have been something all machinery companies "have to deal with," Steger said.
But with a "successor solution" to NAFTA on the table, Steger said Engel is "quite happy" and that many of the company's initial insecurities have been reduced.
Tariffs, however, now cover about half of China's imports, with Trump warning China that if it retaliated, he would slap tariffs on another $276 billion worth. Tariffs would cover essentially all of China's imports to the United States and could impact assembly efforts at Engel's York, Pa., site.
Engel, which also has a production plant in Shanghai, announced in May it was resuming the assembly of big injection moulding machines at its Engel Machinery Inc. facility in York, with the goal of ramping up assembly in the U.S. by the end of 2018. The York factory assembles injection presses with clamping forces from 400-4,000 metric tons.
"[That's] not getting pushed back, but we are very cautiously watching the situation," Steger said.
The plan is to have the first machine assembled in the first quarter of 2019, he said.
"Everything is still on track. The question is how the tariffs are going to harm the speed of ramping up the production because when it comes to the casting part, you simply, more or less, just get it out of China," Steger explained. "It makes no sense to import these castings to machine them in the U.S. if I have a 25% tariff on the castings."
Steger said Engel uses several sources for its castings, but the majority of which are in China due to fewer resources in Europe.
"We would love to get more castings out of Europe," he said. "But there are simply no supplies that could support us."
Engel, based in Schwertberg, Austria, employs nearly 7,000 people globally.
Covestro produces CO2-based polyols for flexible polyurethane foams at its Dormagen site near Cologne
Covestro AG is now taking the successful development of its new polyether carbonate polyols based on CO2-technology - which the company is marketing under the brand name cardyon - another step further with the launch an innovative series of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) incorporating the technology.
The German chemicals company said Desmopan 37385A is the first representative of a new series of TPUs containing CO2-based polyether carbonate polyols.
With cardyon being made of up to 20% CO2, the new TPU materials leave a lower carbon footprint compared to conventional materials.
Desmopan 37385A has a hardness of 85 Shore A and, according to Covestro, its mechanical properties are “at least at the level of conventional TPU grades of similar hardness”.
It has a tensile strength of 36 megapascals and the elongation at break reaches 660%. The plastic is designed for extrusion, but is also suitable for injection moulding.
“The application spectrum covers typical applications of conventional TPU grades with comparable hardness and ranges from soles and upper shoe components to sportswear, handles and knobs to packaging for sensitive electronics,” explained Georg Fuchte, TPU expert at Covestro.
Covestro plans to expand the new TPU series with variants of different hardness. The company said a product with a hardness of 95 Shore A, whose melt cures rapidly during processing, is in advanced stages of development.
“We are thus targeting applications in which economic production in short cycle times is particularly important,” explains Fuchte.
In January 2016, Covestro opened its €15m production plant to produce CO2-based polyols for flexible polyurethane foams at its Dormagen site near Cologne.
The company said today that it is now working on new CO2-based polyols for rigid polyurethane foams that could be used, for example, in the thermal insulation of buildings, in cars and in sports equipment.
Tesla Inc. is beefing up its vehicle charging infrastructure in Hong Kong to help lure back customers after an end to the city’s tax breaks caused sales to plunge.
The two-level, 50-stall Destination Charging site in Kowloon Bay can fully charge a vehicle battery in a few hours, according to a company spokeswoman in Hong Kong. It takes as long as 10 hours at Tesla’s Destination Charging sites to top off electricity in the cells, whereas it takes about 90 minutes at Supercharger stations, with the time depending on battery conditions.
Destination charging stations are ideal for people working, living or shopping in the area, according to the spokeswoman. Superchargers, an option while on the road, can charge 50 percent of the battery in around 20 minutes, she added.
South China Morning Post.
South China Morning Post.
“As part of Tesla’s commitment to Hong Kong, we continue to expand charging footprint all over Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories,” the carmaker said Monday, adding the recently opened station would be the biggest destination charging location in Asia Pacific. Tesla already has 92 superchargers at 21 supercharger stations in Hong Kong.
After struggling to fix manufacturing problems at its sole auto factory in Fremont, Calif., Tesla has started the process of building a plant in China, the world’s biggest EV market. The unprofitable carmaker is procuring land in Shanghai for its first manufacturing site outside the U.S., pushing ahead with its plans after months of tumult under CEO Elon Musk.
In mainland China, Tesla now has more than 1,300 superchargers and 2,000 destination charging posts in more than 170 cities.
Photo by Eni
Versalis SpA, Eni’s chemical arm, has announced a mid-to-long term plan to refocus its capacity in the styrenic polymers business at its plant in Mantua, near Milan.
The focus will be towards “more differentiated, high added value products” specifically designed to feed the automotive, furniture and durable goods industries, said a Versalis statement.
As part of the strategy, the company is increasing the capacity of its existing continuous mass ABS unit by 30 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa), to address rising customer demand.
The project is currently in the engineering phase, with production set for 2020.
Moreover, the company said that it had started up a pilot plant in October last year to validate “an innovative ABS proprietary technology”, which the company has registered under the trademark One Step.
The aim is, Versalis said, to scale the One Step production with a 70ktpa unit.
“The plant will enable to develop further the ABS specialty grades portfolio and access new application markets,” the Italian chemicals supplier added.
Versalis manufactures Edistir PST crystal and high impact polystyrene resins, Sinkral ABS acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resins, Kostil SAN styrene acrylonitrile resins and Extir EPS expandable polystyrene resins at its Mantua site.
French supplier Valeo predicts more than 4 million new vehicles will be equipped with 48-volt systems in China annually by 2023.
"That’s about 13 percent of annual vehicle production in China by then," Valeo China President Francois Marion estimated last month at a news briefing in Shanghai.
Chinese carmakers didn’t embrace 48-volt systems until last year. The systems enable automakers to apply fuel-saving and cost-effective technologies such as stop-start systems, regenerative braking and e-turbochargers.
The main factor driving the application of 48-volt systems is China’s tougher fuel economy and emission control requirements, said Michael Forissier, head of global r&d and product marketing director for Valeo Powertrain Systems.
The Chinese government is requiring automakers to cut average fleet fuel consumption to 5 liters per 100 kilometers (47 mpg) in 2020 from 6 liters (39 mpg) in 2016.
The pressure on automakers will continue to intensify in 2025, when they must reduce fuel consumption to 4 liters per 100 kilometers (58.8 mpg).
To meet the regulatory requirements, it is “absolutely necessary” for automakers in China to install 48-volt systems across their light-vehicle lineups, especially gas-guzzling crossovers and SUVs, Forissier noted.
In early 2017, Valeo became the first global supplier to build of 48-volt systems in China. The French supplier says its system -- which includes an e-supercharger and a starter generator -- can improve fuel economy by 15 percent.
Other 48-volt suppliers include Continental, Delphi Automotive, Robert Bosch and Schaeffler.
Valeo has landed more than 20 orders for the systems globally, including 12 orders from China.
Based on the orders it has secured, Valeo is now the largest supplier of 48-volt systems in China, according to Marion.
The association of French automotive plastic parts-makers (GPA) has warned of an impending crisis due to the shortage of key polyamide 6.6 materials in the region.
In a statement 5 Oct, the GPA said the ongoing nylon 6.6 shortage could put the automotive industry in “serious difficulty” and urged car makers to find alternative solutions.
Describing it as a “structural problem”, GPA said the shortage is mainly rooted in the low supply of adiponitrile (ADN), currently produced globally at only five global locations in France, Japan and the US.
“Numerous plastics manufacturer… have interrupted their production of PA 6.6 and imposed quotas on their customers,” said GPA, noting the increasing number of force majeures by leading materials suppliers.
PA 6.6 has been registered by carmakers for its technical properties, and according to GPA’s president, Luc Messien, the processes to approve new materials make it very difficult to find alternative solutions in the short term.
The material is used in an increasing number of applications, in particular in electronics, and the shortage has driven the 40% increase in prices since the beginning of the year.
PA 6.6 is highly resistant to high temperatures, making it suitable for under the hood applications, such as air supply systems, filtration and cooling systems, and in other interior parts, from pedal units to door handles.
In response to the tight supply, the GPA statement called on plastics manufacturers to “quickly open new production lines and to secure their supply chain.”
“Today, only 55% of Europe’s PA 6.6 production capacity is available. At the same time, current demand requires an increase in the production capacity. Hasn’t the time come to speed up investments in Europe and renovate the existing lines?” said Armelle Dumont, managing director of the GPA.
Parallel to that, the French association has urged automotive suppliers to find “alternative solutions” despite all the complexities.
Finding an alternative is complex as any new material's specifications should match those of PA 6.6. Such materials are often even scarcer and more expensive compared to PA 6.6.
In addition, the processes to approve new materials take a very long time.
To address the latter issue, Dumont has called on carmakers to help by shortening their approval processes.
"These shortages of materials mean that supplies to certain members of the GPA will dry up at the start of 2019, a situation that could put the complete production chain in peril,” Dumont warned.
European Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive plastic suppliers have seen PA 6.6 prices rise by €1,500/tonne in the last 18 months.
“They are the victims of an unsustainable scissors' effect brought on by the rise in the price of PA 6.6, the quotas and their customers’ refusal to pay for a part of these price hikes,” GPA concluded.
The supply of PA 6.6 was hampered in Europe due mainly to strikes at Butachemie, which is the only European supplier of AND from its plant in Chalampe, France.
Additionally, in August, Belgian materials supplier Solvay SA said its polyamides activities were temporarily impacted by the severe drop in water levels along the Rhine river following a drought in Central Europe.
German chemicals giant BASF also announced two force majeures for all its polyamide 6.6 polymers in January and June, as it had to shut down its hexamethylenediamine (HMD) plant in Seal Sands, UK, due to an "unexpected failure" of a site utilities unit.
Audi is maintaining robust sales and outpacing the overall China market with September deliveries rising 13 percent year on year to 65,767.
The growth was led by the locally produced, stretched A4 sedan. Sales of the upgraded A4L surged 42 percent to 17,199 last month.
Deliveries of the imported A8 sedan also jumped 66 percent to 1,426 in the month. Audi didn’t disclose sales results of other models for September.
In the first nine months, the German luxury brand’s China sales advanced 15 percent to 483,001.
The Volkswagen Group in April launched a plant in the northeast China city of Changchun to produce the stretched Audi Q5 crossover only.
In the past few months, the German auto giant opened new factories in the east China city of Qingdao, South China city of Foshan and north China city of Tianjin. The Foshan and Tianjin plants build Audi models as well VW brand cars.
The elongated Q2 crossover went on sale in late September. It is the fifth product and the third crossover Audi produces locally, following the A3, A4 and A6 sedans and the Q3 and Q5 crossovers.
Audi’s two archrivals, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, have not released China sales results for September.
Brazilian Rotomoulding machinery supplier Rotoline is eyeing the European market with the appointment of a new international sales manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The company has named Craig Yorke, an industry veteran with three decades of experience under his belt, to lead sales in Europe.
With production facilities in Kent, Ohio, and Santa Catarina, Brazil, Rotoline currently supplies rotational moulding machines to north, central and south American markets as well as Australia.
Yorke is currently based in Poland where he will be “getting out and seeing customers” ahead of opening an office in a Central European country.
“This will be first office in Europe and as we start to sell machines we will then look at opening a warehouse/production facility where we can hold spares and start to stock machines for sale in Europe,” Yorke said in a statement to PNE.
Working extensively throughout Europe, Yorke was previously employed as production director at Omplast Sp; production technologist at EKO SYSTEMY Sp. in Poland and served as the launch engineer of a €25m project at Lear Corp. in Slovakia. He has also served as managing director of UK rotational moulding machine manufacturer Alan Yorke Engineering Ltd.
Rotoline currently supplies a complete range of carrossel, shuttle, lab and TNC fully-automated rotational moulding machines to companies in over 26 countries.
管理软件，包括：模具制造执行管理系统、生产排产系统、看板管理系统等。其应用成果有： 1.模具建立了一套体现GMP模具管理思想 适应市场需求快速反应的管理系统，规范了企业业务流程。销售、项目、设计、采购、生产、质量、运维、统计连贯一体，信息高度共享，全面反应和监督各环节的状况，实现了业务的智能化。 2.实现业务集成，信息共享 模具管理系统提供了一个项目进度跟踪平台，根据节点模板，设置好关键节点，通过模具厂车间对进度的提交，领导、各生产车间及相关部门，可以及时跟踪模具进度。 3.实现了模具ERP管理方式 完整的模具系统使得模具车间提出申购，由采购直接进行申购，杜绝了原来的手写错误，现只需选择零件材料是否需要采购，即可把BOM表信息转换为采购信息，避免中间过程出现的错误。 4.实现了模具车间设备的统筹分配，快速对生产车间任务进行下达 模具系统集成了生产任务排产辅助系统，对公司内设备资源整理后，系统自动对现有项目任务及资源进行合理分配，提前提示不足的设备资源，统一指挥、统筹分配。 5.实现模具使用履历管理 原模具使用情况数据分散，数据全面性也因不同生产车间管理而有差异。现通过履历管理，将整个模具使用过程的修模、备件领用、生产次数等数据进行统一、集中，更有利于模具的管理及模具实际情况的分析。 6.实现了真正意义上的模具成本自动计算 原模具成本计算，需要通过大量时间，对手工数据进行统计计算，重复劳动严重。现只需要做好每天的工作，将数据准确地在系统中记录，模具移交时，系统将自动计算模具成本。 7.实现了电子看板管理系统 车间电子看板，实现了在制模具信息及设备信息的实时展现，车间各部门人员可随时了解在制模具及车间设备的当前状态，对延期模具及超负荷设备及时做出调整，以保证每副模具按时完成。 8.报表统计，实现了工作任务的数据分析 模具系统集成自定义报表，可由用户根据个性化需求开发出相关报表。 9.给企业带来的最大价值 （1）为领导决策提供全方位的信息 高层领导能够随时通过系统，得到真实有效的业务管理数据，有利于及时准确地预测分析、成本控制、生产与销售策略等业务部署与调整，增加了企业市场竞争力和快速反应能力。 （2）提高工作效率，改善工作质量 系统实施后，像生产部门的工艺卡片等都已经采用计算机打印，像申购单、设计BOM、质量检验单、检验报告等都不再使用纸张打印，并且按规定的流程进行单据传递，避免了手工单据易出错、不清晰的缺点。通过部门间的不断磨合，部门之间的工作配合得到了明显改善，提高了工作效率。