ERJ staff report (PR)
Ternitz, Austria – Rubber injection-moulding-machine maker Maplan GmbH is looking to move to a new location having almost outgrown its Ternitz manufacturing base – and as part of a new strategy to broaden its focus to include larger machines.
The plan is to establish a greenfield facility at a location around 40km from Ternitz, Wolfgang Meyer, Maplan's managing director and CEO, told ERJ in an interview at the company's 'days of technology 2014' event for customers, held 4-5 June in Ternitz.
"We have a chance to increase capacity maybe 10 percent here, but for the longer term it is planned from the beginning of 2016 we will open a new factory, said Meyer. The 150-employee company, he added, is currently in discussions towards getting "all its people and knowhow" to the new facility.
The new plant will be geared up to provide a similar combination of production as at the current site, but will have bigger buildings and stronger cranes to provide better production possibilities, the Maplan boss explained. This will be in-line with company plans to increase its offering of bigger injection moulding machines.
While Maplan does produce larger machines at Ternitz, Meyer said the set-up was "not optimal" for manufacturing machines above the 650-tonne mark – the upper point of the company traditional focus area in the market.
Indeed, Maplan's main focus has long been in the 100-400 tonne range and injection volumes up to 8.6 litres. The company does have larger machines but this has never really concentrated on this area in the past.
"On the greenfield site, we can optimise production from the beginning, so you have the perfect flow of material in the factory," said Meyer.
"We want to expand our business not only to be no 1 from 100 to 650 tonnes, but also from 650 tonnes to 1000 tonnes," he added. "This is roughly a range where there is still a market out there … and we are putting in energy and strength to develop this market [with] new machines on the market, starting next year.
"We want to help customers who need small parts on a small machine and then produce some units that require a large machine. This means offering on the tie-bar machines from 100 up to 1000 tonnes. There is a reasonable quantity and market out there for [large machines]."
Meanwhile, with business in 2014 running at "very good levels right now" and order books full, the Maplan boss said the company was trying to optimise everything to get as much production out of the Ternitz plant as possible.
"The capacity [situation at] the factory is getting a bit tough," reported Meyer "This is, at the moment, a limiting factor, but one we are dealing with."