Although perhaps little has been heard from Ferromatik Milacron in the past three or so years, that is all about to change, said Peter Kochs, Director Sales & Business Development at Ferromatik Milacron GmbH, last week at the Fakuma show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The show, he said, marked the world premiere of the new Milacron full-electric EQ machine.
Appointed some 7 months previously to this newly created management role, Kochs is tasked with growing and strengthening the company’s sales network throughout Europe.
Late 2019, Ferromatik Milacron GmbH (FME) was relocated in Germany from Malterdingen to Teningen in late 2019. That year, too, all the Milacron companies were acquired by Hillenbrand Inc., a diversified industrial group based in Indiana, USA.
Since then, the company has undergone a consolidation phase, during which the main focus has been on the aftermarket, said Kochs. “Spare parts and service. After we closed the factory in Malterdingen, we moved the production of our machines to India. It took a while to get the factory there up and running, as we had to transfer our knowledge and expertise to the team in Ahmedabad. While today, FME benefits from the joint know-how of Milacron in the USA and Milacron India, there was as a consequence a period during which we were not delivering new machines. During that time, our network of dealers and agents also shrank, which is why my job is to re-establish these contacts, as well to rebuild the market’s confidence in the brand – and to introduce our new machines to the market. We are confident that the business is there.”
The Fakuma show therefore saw the global debut of the new Milacron full-electric EQ machine. The new series is currently available in clamping forces of up to 450 tonnes throughout Europe and in Asia. Larger sizes will become available in the future. The all-electric toggle machine was developed, said Kochs, with the global engineering team – “with people from the US, from Europe and from India.”
Years before, he added, Ferromatik, was one of the pioneers of electric machines in Europe. “Their first electric machine was introduced 25 years ago. Since then, drawing on this deep well of expertise, the technology has constantly been improved in terms of mechanics, dynamics and drives. Completely new motors and controls have been developed, resulting in this - what we regard as a – state-of-the-art machine.”
The company had previously launched a servo-hydraulic machine range based on Milacron’s Magna Toggle and F-Series injection moulding machines, dubbed the Q series. As seen at K 2019, these machines are available in clamping forces from 110 to 550 tonnes. “Mechanically speaking, they are the same as the eQ machines, the big difference being the drives. As the one is called Q, the electric one logically became the ‘eQ’,” said Kochs.
The servo motor and hydraulic systems combine to provide power when it is needed, using less power when it is not. The eco-friendly design generates savings in electrical power consumption, cooling requirements, and lower maintenance cost.
The third machine product is the C-series – ‘C’ for Cincinnati – which is available in clamping forces currently ranging from 1000 tonnes up to 4000 tonnes. “These are our large-tonnage, two-platen injection moulding machines, and bigger sizes are still in development,” said Kochs. “Ultimately, the range will go up to 6000 tonnes.” The first C Series machine - a 1700 tonne machine – has been delivered to an automotive customer in Germany.
Also on display at the stand was the company’s bolt-on Monosandwich unit – technology that was patented and introduced by Ferromatik back at the beginning of the nineties – and that was ‘way ahead of its time’, said Kochs. “Basically, no one was interested in the possibility of using regrind back then. Now, however, as the theme of sustainability continues to become increasingly important, we are seeing a huge rebirth of interest, and so again we’re displaying it prominently on our booth.”
The Monosandwich process creates parts with a layered – ‘sandwich’ - structure in which recycled materials can be used for the core and new material for the exterior layers. It therefore allows manufacturers to reduce materials costs by up to 30%. The technology is a relatively simple and economical one, requiring only a secondary extruder.
“It can be used with every mould,” explained Kochs. “The only thing that is absolutely necessary is that the mould has a cold runner.” The Monosandwich unit, he added, can be used on any machine, but can only be wholly integrated with the controls of a Milacron injection moulding machine.