Arburg ready for a “normal” living room
Plastics news asked a wide range of questions of Hehl, who said, “We are very happy to finally be back on a show after what seems like an eternity. Nothing beats personal contacts and the innovations you can touch! “
Q: How will Arburg’s booth and its presence at trade shows compare to those at Fakumas or other major trade shows? The company brings nine machines. Is this typical for Arburg in Fakuma, or is Arburg really going to do everything to make it the first major international event for the plastics industry in Germany for 2021?
Hehl: Fakuma has always been very close to the heart of Arburg, as we have been co-founders and exhibitors from the very beginning. This year we have even enlarged our stand a little, underlining the importance of this international trade fair on Lake Constance, at least for the European plastics industry. The number of machines that we exhibit at our stand is within the usual range, although, of course, it always depends on the size of the individual machines.
Q: Did Arburg have a lot of booth meetings compared to previous years? Or, does your schedule indicate that attendance will be down?
Hehl: It is difficult to answer this question in advance, because many visitors come to our stand, even without an appointment, to discover new products and innovative applications, to meet their interlocutors in person, but also to discuss new projects. . Our top priority is to be able to provide intensive support and advice to customers and other interested parties. We are very well prepared for this and therefore we have not reduced our workforce in 2021. As usual, many employees from our international subsidiaries will also be represented at Fakuma.
Q: Has Arburg participated in many trade shows this year? Do you have any advice for visitors to Fakuma who meet people in person for the first time?
Hehl: Arburg has already participated in several shows this year, including Chinaplas, rapid + TCT, Equiplas and Interplas. However, these were moderated by the Arburg teams from the region and the visitors also came almost exclusively from these respective countries. We expect Fakuma to be the first show for us this year that has an international character.
For visitors, it is always a good idea to make an appointment with their respective Arburg contact person in order to make the best use of their precious time at the fair. The compact layout of the Friedrichshafen exhibition grounds is an advantage here.
Q: What additional measures will Arburg take to ensure the safety of employees and visitors? How many employees will be present? Is it less than in previous years? Is Arburg asking employees who frequent Fakuma to get vaccinated?
Hehl: The safety of our customers and employees is a top priority for us. This is why we have taken the precaution of playing it safe with our stand team: The 2G rule applies to the total of around 300 employees present at the show, which means that they must be vaccinated or cured of the virus. . Approximately 200 will be on the stand each day to attend to visitors. This means that we will be almost at the same level of membership as at previous Fakuma trade shows.
Q: In an earlier press release to Fakuma, you said that you expected this trade show to be a memorable one for visitors to the Arburg booth. Why is that?
Hehl: Visitors can expect an impressive program. Our participation in the fair will be dominated by arburgXworld and arburgGREENworld, i.e. by the themes of digitization, sustainability and resource conservation. At Fakuma 2021, we will bring together the best of both worlds, demonstrating our commitment to the goal of increasing the production efficiency of our customers, while preparing them sustainably for the future!
At arburgGREENworld we will present, among other things, our new recycling package by transforming bio-based products [nylon] 12 and using different marking technologies to allow the separation of plastic products by resin type.
At arburgXworld, we will be showcasing new apps and features for our customer portal, as well as new support functions for our Gestica control system. Another important focus of Fakuma is the Arburg planetary roller screw drive for electric molding machines. And last but not least: The premiere of our new Allrounder More multi-component machine series will also be very interesting.
Q: What did the marketing machines look like during a pandemic? Did most of the clients come to you or did Arburg have to do special marketing?
Hehl: Our approach to serving our customers has not changed significantly due to the pandemic. We came up with a complete hygiene concept including testing opportunities, so that customers could always visit us, if the legal requirements of the confinements allowed, of course. We have also used all digital options to keep in touch with our customers. Thanks to our pioneering role in digitization, we were and are very well positioned in this regard.
The key words in this context are our arburgXworld customer portal, the Arburg remote service or remote machine acceptance. When it comes to digital formats, we have always believed, and still are, that they must offer customers and interested parties real added value. Our new how-to videos and our interactive arburgXvision Internet TV format are examples of this.
Q: How successful are the ArburgXvision livestreams and will they continue after the pandemic?
Hehl: ArburgXvision was a flagship project. We’re happy with the response we’ve received to this interactive Internet TV format, and yet it’s safe to say: digital doesn’t beat staff.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in Fakuma?
Hehl: We are very happy to finally be back on a show after what seems like an eternity. Nothing beats the personal contacts and innovations you can touch.
Q: What will make Fakuma a successful event for Arburg? Is it just a success to be a part of a large trade show in person? Is this a return to a new normal?
Hehl: We are very excited. We are doing everything we can to make him as normal a Fakuma as possible, and we will be very happy if that is successful. After all, normalcy would be something very special these days. We are sure that this fair will have important influences on the future.
Q: How was 2021 for Arburg? Does medicine remain strong and the automobile is coming back?
Hehl: We are extremely happy with the order intake this year.
Medical technology remains strong and we see clear indications that the auto industry is recovering
Q: Is the United States still Arburg’s biggest export market? What are the current dynamics of the plastics industry and economy in the United States? Can you tell which are the next biggest export markets?
Hehl: The United States remains our strongest foreign market. This has been an important pillar for us during the difficult times of 2019/2020. Business there has always been and continues to be good. As already mentioned, we are very satisfied with the taking of orders over the last few months and this all over the world. In Europe, after Germany, Italy remains our biggest market.
Q: Arburg started 2021 by acquiring its development partner for more than 20 years, AMK Arnold Müller GmbH & Co. KG in order to strengthen its expertise and portfolio of electric drives. What has happened since? Will this partnership be on display at Fakuma?
Hehl: The company is now called AMKmotion and operates independently, as a sister company. We do not explicitly present this partnership to Fakuma, as the focus in Friedrichshafen is on the processing of plastics with the corresponding machine exhibitions and applications. When it comes to drives, the exception is that we will draw attention to our planetary roller screw drive for which we now offer a five-year warranty.
Q: In 2020, Arburg purchased RepRap GmbH, a German manufacturer of 3D printing systems for liquid silicone rubber and other materials. What was interesting about this technology given that Arburg developed the Freeformer? How are the technologies complementary?
Hehl: The company is now called innovatiQ and its unique liquid additive manufacturing (LAM) technology is an ideal complement to the Arburg free-forming (AFP) process. This additive manufacturing technology is of interest to our injection molding customers who already process LSR with Allrounders and for our AFP customers who wish to extend their range of materials to liquid silicone rubbers.
Q: In June, Arburg opened a prototype center in Shanghai and fitted it with four Freeformer brand machines to produce reference parts through additive manufacturing. Did this technology, presented by Arburg at K2013, live up to expectations?
Hehl: In terms of content and technology, we are very satisfied with the Freeformer and are working with partners and clients on exciting projects in the medical technology and automotive industries. We still have room for improvement in terms of sales.
Q: Are there other Industry 4.0 trends that Arburg is helping to advance?
Hehl: Arburg is regarded in the industry as a pioneer in the field of digitization with around 40 years of experience. The same goes for the themes of resource conservation and sustainability, which are firmly embedded in our DNA. These two programs, for example, are essential to our involvement in the R-Cycle initiative, of which we are the exclusive machine partner.
Q: Arburg scored well above the plastics industry average in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) assessment. The company said it plans to work on the shows next. Have you set a goal? What steps will Arburg take to reduce carbon emissions?
Hehl: We have long focused intensely on the issue of CO2 emissions and their reduction. The high priority we give to this issue is demonstrated, for example, by the fact that we have created the post of Head of Sustainable Development as a staff post. To list all of our many activities would take us well beyond the scope of this interview. For those who would like to know more, I recommend our sustainability report, which can be viewed on our website in the arburgGREENworld section
Q: Would you like to add something?
Hehl: I would like to conclude by stressing, once again, that we would all like nothing more than to be able to say on Saturday: It was a completely normal Fakuma!