Albis planning further investments

Albis CEO Philip Krahn said 2019 will see the company continue to invest in its compounding opera- tion, with some €10m earmarked for new compounding capacity worldwide. While he said it is too early to be specific on these plans they are likely to extend to all three of its operating regions. “Last year and this year we have invested globally,” Krahn said. Key projects over the past 18 months include an increase in capacity in China to 35,000 tonnes, expanding compounding capacity at its site at Zülpich near Cologne in Germany by 9,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes, and the start-up of two medical lines at Hamburg with a capacity of around 5,000 tonnes. The company has also resumed manufacturing in the US with the start-up of its facility at Duncan in South Carolina in the early summer. Krahn expects medical to be a key future growth sector for the company. “We have been a provider of technical medical materials for a long time,” he said. “It is clear requests [for these applications] in Europe and the US are growing and there is a demand for custom products.” Albis already distributes a broad portfolio of medical plastics for

Albis CEO Philip Krahn is planning €10m of compounding investments

partners such as BASF, Covestro and LyondellBasell (distribution accounts for around 80% of the company’s annual sales of around €1bn, compounds 20% and tolling 10%). Krahn sees its own medical compounding business allowing it “to fill the gaps.” The Hamburg plant meets ISO13485 requirements and all materials will be supplied with the two or three-year guarantees of notice standard for the medical sector. “We are not involving ourselves with high risk products—im- plants— but everything else is in our targets,” Krahn said. Albis is also stepping up its activities in the recycling area. The company currently produces and supplies its own recycled compounds under the Altech Eco brand, which it claims offer near-tovirgin performance, in all three geographical regions. Its acquisition of Wipag in 2017 gave it access to closed loop recy- cling of automotive bumpers and a pilot scale technology for recycling carbon fibre (a 4,000 tpa production scale compounding line for carbon fibre products was installed at its facility at Neuburg in June). Krahn said that from October, it was also starting to distribute Moplen PP and Hostalen PE products from Quality Circular Plastics (QCP), a joint venture between LyondellBasell and waste group Suez.

30 INJECTION WORLD | November/December 2018

the theme of network integration and digital services in displaying the company’s MyConnect services. These user-friendly packages include: MyBasic Support, MyDocumentation, MyParts Shop, MyLife Cycle Log and MyConnect app. An “easy package” was also unveiled by robot

maker Sepro at Fakuma. This package intends to make it simple for the group’s injection moulding customers to choose a machine from any of Sepro’s 12 IMM partners plus a robot for a new project. Jean-Michel Renaudeau, CEO of Sepro, said at the group’s press conference the package idea reflects that the robot market has become more complex and Sepro is flexible in meeting the needs of the customer as shown in the company’s motto at Fakuma, “Experience full control”. In addition to the Sepro robots on its stand (and

those of its partner companies), the company showcased its digital advances, including the Visual control platform, which Sepro integrates with IMM controls and which will be available in Version 4.0 from K 2019. Visitors also were given a preview of OptiCycle, a control plug-in (developed in open collaboration with a key customer) that automates robot cycle optimisation, and Live Support, an app that links customers and their robots with trouble- shooting assistance. At the Sepro press conference, Jean-Michel

Renaudeau also introduced a new group manage- ment board, which has been set up to help steer Sepro in its plan to grow sales to €200m by 2022 from a level of €130m in 2018. “Their mission is to bring Sepro from the position of No. 2 [of global injection moulding robot suppliers] to the position of No.1,” he said. Among the six new recruits to the board from outside Sepro (plus two from inside Sepro), is Xavier Lucas, Global Service and Automa- tion Director, who joined in August from his previous position as Managing Director at one of Sepro’s strategic partners, Yaskawa France. Lucas said there is growing demand from the injection moulding market for a full automation service and Sepro sales in this area have grown to €28m this year.



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