Düsseldorf, Germany — Injection molding machinery sales are lower this year for Billion SAS, the Bellignat, France-based company that makes all-electric presses.
A slowdown in the automotive industry is giving the company "a little bit of heartache," Billion President and CEO Korbinian Kiesl said during an interview at K 2019.
"There is a kind of correction in automotive coming, and there is a deep need in the automotive industry, especially in the German one, to be a little more innovative," the top machinery executive said.
"They have to get a little bit more into really fundamental research work, which will delay for a couple of months — maybe a year — new projects, and that's what we see here in our industry," Kiesl added.
And whenever there are new projects, that means new machine sales, new molds and new robots. While this means slower sales for the industry right now, Kiesl said he presumes it will pick up later on.
Automotive usually accounts for 25 percent of Billion's sales. Other important markets for the company, such as packaging, cosmetics, medical appliances and white appliances, are strong and stable.
In the short term, anyone would be concerned if numbers go down, he said. But the big-picture view is that it's business as usual and something Kiesl called his "special philosophy," where the issues causing the highs and lows of an industry or the economy are ever-changing.
"Thirty years ago, we called it the oil crisis. Ten years ago, we called it subprime crisis," Kiesl said. "Today, whether you call it diesel or the trade fight between the U.S. and China … you're always naming something."