Coperion: 5 years Coperion – Integrated Compounding Solutions

Over 150 participants representing about 100 customers from 25 countries attended a high-tech symposium on 15th and 16th November 2006 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Coperion Group. ‘Within only five years,’ said Manfred Eiden, CEO of the
entire Group, in his welcoming speech, ‘Coperion has developed from what used to be individual companies to become the world’s technology and market leader in pre-processing, compounding and extrusion lines, in bulk solids handling systems and in the provision of services and the supply of components.’ Manfred Eiden went on to say: ‘The Coperion Group is a genuine global player,
for we operate worldwide in all the key regions of the plastics industry – in 27 countries and with 8 production facilities on 3 continents.’ The technological competence of the Coperion Group is reflected in its economic success: in the current business year, sales are expected to rise by over 20 % to around € 450 million compared with the previous year. Incoming orders – totalling more
than € 530 million – represent an increase of almost 30 %. The Group’s vast resources of knowhow will be implemented for the intensive development of those markets outside the plastics industry, especially the markets for foodstuffs, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, their present share in Coperion’s turnover being in the region of 20 %. Under the motto „5 years Coperion – Integrated Compounding Solutions“, the participants were afforded, in a series of 14 technical lectures, comprehensive information on innovations and current developments in bulk materials handling systems and components, on the available lines for the compounding and extruding of plastics and on the growing importance of all-inclusive December 2006 service contracts for such lines. Several lectures highlighted the marked trend towards complete production lines from just one supplier. This trend is noticeable both in mega projects for polyolefins – Coperion Waeschle is currently building two such lines in Saudi Arabia, each with an annual output of 1 million tonnes – and in service-proven modular lines in which all the processing stages for the compounding of standard and engineering plastics are integrated, i.e. material feed, compounding, pelletizing and onward transport of the ready-to-use pellets.
Particular highlights of the Symposium were the two introductory lectures delivered by guest speakers. Dr. Willy Hoven-Nievelstein, Group Vice President Engineering Plastics Europe at BASF, Ludwigshafen, explained in his lecture “Engineering plastics – markets and developments” among other things, why and to what extent the growth of these markets will shift towards the East, and above all towards China and, in the already foreseeable future, India. One reassuring aspect of this shift, however, is the fact that development competence will for the most part remain rooted in Europe for quite some time to come, and in Germany in particular. A second interesting aspect is that new applications, primarily in the bodywork sector, will enable the growth of engineering plastics to remain unaffected by the generally negligible growth of the automotive industry. In his lecture ‘Trends in polymer processing’, Dr. Thomas Bott, Senior Vice President Polymer Technology at BASF, explained why nanofoam materials are an efficient means of heat
insulation, by reason that the gas in the cells does not have a share in thermal conductivity. Coperion’s developments are making a great contribution towards simplifying the process chain in all compounding applications, not least through the transition from discontinuous to continuous modes of operation. The same goes for the demand for ‘plug-and-produce’ modules, even for relatively demanding tasks. An important step in this direction are the modular production lines. Once these lines have been equipped with in-line measuring technology (not yet available), the present needs of the chemical industry will have been fully met.

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