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FAKUMA 2018 | SHOW REVIEW


usual uplift after the summer period, he said. Some of the negatives include the European market being a little lower than in 2018, and the market in Asia has also fallen back. But on the positive side, the North and South American markets have grown for the group in 2018. “Some of our international customers see a move away from China to other areas, to Mexico for instance,” he said. The group has a number of investment projects running at it facilities in Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic and Mexico. In Germany, it recently merged its two businesses Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH in Meinerzhagen and Wittmann Robot Systeme GmbH in Nuremberg into one company in order to provide a more unified presence in the country. Another recent development has been Witt-


mann’s partner agreements in the area of Manufac- turing Execution Systems (MES). The company has already brought connectivity to injection moulding machines and auxiliary equipment, said Michael Wittmann. “We want to extend this co-ordination to the next level, which is MES,” he said. Wittmann Group has acquired a large sharehold- ing in ICE-flex, an Italian start-up with MES software called TEMI, which is being extended to include Wittmann 4.0 functionalities under the name TEMI+. The TEMI MES can be used in injection moulding operations of up to 50 machines. Wittmann has another, previously agreed deal with MPDV of Germany for MES solutions that can be used in operations of more than 50 machines. Michael Wittmann told journalists in a question and answer session the group had not made a full company takeover in MES because “we don’t believe it is our core business”. The young people at ICE-flex are enthusiastic about pursuing their ideas, and the size of Wittmann’s shareholding is “enough for them to keep their interest, but enough for us to have control of development work”, he said. The group’s partnerships with previous MES providers


ended when the first became bankrupt and the second was acquired by Engel. “Enough control [of ICE-flex] means we can avoid those two things happening again in the future.” Kistler Group made the decision it did want full ownership when it acquired MES provider IOS, based in Aachen, Germany, in 2017. Kistler is best known in injection moulding for its sensor technol- ogy that analyses mould cavity pressures. The acquisition of IOS takes Kistler to the next level by providing customers (initially in injection moulding, but subsequently in other processes) with a modular system that provides monitoring, control- ling and reporting functions across the entire manufacturing operation. “The topic of data management is becoming


more and more important,” said Robert Vaculik, Head of Kistler’s Strategic Business Field Plastics, who spoke to Injection World at Kistler’s Fakuma stand. IOS has around 100 MES installations at injection moulders worldwide, he said. Stefan Holzapfel, Manager of the Competence


Centre for MES at Kistler, said: “The plan is to continue developing the MES. Current IOS custom-


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