ERJ staff report (RPN)
By Bruce Meyer, Rubber & Plastics News
Germany-Leaders at HF Mixing Group are extremely bullish on the machinery company's prospects for 2013, and seemingly for good reason.
The Freudenberg-based company has heard nothing but optimism from its customers, sees tire labeling as an area of opportunity, has two new business units in operation, just opened a world-class laboratory to serve as a showcase for customers, and is adding capacity and upgrading sites worldwide.
"We had a very good 2011, an excellent 2012 and are looking into a very bright 2013," said Mark Meulbroek, one of the two board members overseeing the HF Mixing Group. "Even though we read newspapers, from our point of view we don't see signs of a slowdown as a group of companies."
The HF Mixing Group includes Harburg-Freudenberger Machinenbau GmbH in Freudenberg; Farrel Corp. and Farrel Ltd, in Ansonia, Connecticut, and the UK respectively; Pomini Rubber & Plastics S.R.L. in Italy; and HF Rubber Machinery Inc. in Topeka, Kansas.
Collectively the companies supply a full range of mixing equipment and systems to tire manufacturers, technical rubber goods producers and rubber compounders, along with makers of a variety of other products.
The majority of business is with tire manufacturers, and they all are looking at a strong year ahead, Meulbroek said. "It appears to be growth, and that means 2013 above 2012. That's not only a statement from key accounts, but an overall statement from all of our customers," he said.
The company said tire labelling is driving growth and that is not just a regional issue but one that started in Europe, is picking up steam in North America and will become a bigger topic in Asia, according to Meulbroek. "Tire labeling is driving a lot of customers to upgrade and update their tire production process," he said.
Despite weakness in Europe's economy and car market, Meulbroek said it still remains a good market for his firm. HF Mixing has also seen business grow in China and south-east Asia.
The company has also benefited from streamlining its business areas. There was some overlap with the various companies within the HF Mixing Group, but the company has tried to address that by employing a "best of the best" approach, the company director said.
Hence, Farrel now concentrates on tangential mixers, or Banburys; HF Freudenberger focuses on intermeshing machines; and Pomini handles twin screw machinery. The customer benefits, he said, because HF Mixing can offer what truly is the best technology for individual needs.
HF Mixing also benefits by being owned by a Germany-based trust foundation that allows it to follow a long-term strategy. "It's not a typical financial investor," he said. Therefore we can work on our long-term strategy without being in a rush to be driven by annual and quarterly reports."
This is an external link and should open in a new window. If the window does not appear, please check your pop-up blocking software. ERJ is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Full story from Rubber & Plastics News