Automated and self-optimised injection moulding machines inform users when service is needed
The current trend with injection moulding machines is automation and self-optimisation. In the future, injection moulding machines tell the user when they need service, if a screw is wearing out or the hydraulic pump is experiencing wear.
These trends have been noted at Engel. Engel manufactures both hydraulic and electric injection moulding machines as well as horizontal and vertical machines.
According to Graeme Herlihy, president of western Europe at Engel, the company basis is finding customer solutions, not just standard products.
“We are strongest when a customer puts a plastic part on the table and asks how do you propose we make this product. Our philosophy is to deliver complete solutions, not just machines,” Herlihy explains.
Engel’s injection moulding machines are needed in different business areas from packaging industry to automotive industry. Engel’s machines are also used to manufacture VILPE products.
Plastic is not the problem – lack of recycling is
The raw material used in injection moulding machines is plastics. For example, VILPE products are made of durable polypropylene. However, plastic products have been the subject of public discussion since plastic waste management has been insufficient especially in certain countries.
According to Herlihy, plastic as a material is not the problem. The problem is the missing recycling infrastructure.
“Replacing plastic material is not simple. Plastics have many benefits compared to other materials, for example smaller carbon footprint than metal products. In the end, it is a very green material that can be recycled all over again. We just need to get a functioning recycling infrastructure,” Herlihy says.
In the future there will be increasing use of compostable and bio-degradable materials. Using green polymers made of e.g. vegetables, is still in its infancy.
Family-owned business invests in R&D
Just like VILPE, Engel is a family-owned business. The Engel family has always been eager to grow business. Gradually, by reinvesting the profits from business back to research and development, Engel has become a market leader.
The company has large market share in Finland. The Finnish market is diverse and Engel machines are used e.g. in packaging and medical industry. Technical moulding is still dominant business line in Finland and other Nordic countries.
The company has an office in Finland and subsidiaries all over the world.
“We don’t operate through an agency. “Think global, act local” is a cliché but it describes how we want to do business,” Herlihy says.