(Munich/Näfels/Auma-Weidatal, June 13, 2017) Supported by KraussMaffei and Netstal, mold manufacturer Roth Werkzeugbau held its inaugural 'Roth Packaging Day' event at its testing center in Auma-Weidatal. With more than 80 visitors attending, the event heralded the official entry into the packaging market of the Thuringia-based mold manufacturer. The injection molding segment of the KraussMaffei Group covers the entire packaging market with its KraussMaffei and Netstal brands.
Successful Roth Packaging Day signals entry into packaging market
On May 23, 2017, Roth Werkzeugbau welcomed upwards of 80 visitors to its spacious testing center at company headquarters in Auma-Weidatal for the inaugural 'Roth Packaging Day'. This was unusual in a sense because Roth has no history to date of being an established mold provider to the packaging industry. "Since the founding of the company shortly after German reunification we have flourished in the automotive sector, which up to now has been the major source of our sales," said Marco Roth, CEO of Roth Werkzeugbau. Roth went on to explain that the company had been taking an intensive look at the intricacies of packaging molds for around four years and had implemented initial projects in that area, which nonetheless proved to be a hard road for the company. "But we have now gained enough experience to enter the market officially. This is the start of a new era for our company. In the next five to ten years, we are looking at generating around 50 percent of our sales in the packaging sector," declared Roth. This foray into the market by Roth Werkzeugbau opens up opportunities above all for German manufacturers, with many of the principal packaging companies headquartered within a 300-km radius of Auma-Weidatal.
Roth testing center equipped with KraussMaffei und Netstal machines
According to Roth, the newly built testing center is playing a major role in implementation of the packaging strategy. "Today, customers expect more from us than just molds: we support them in making their injection molding processes more efficient. Our longstanding partnership with the KraussMaffei Group is a significant factor in this respect," explained Roth. The basic machine park comprises four KraussMaffei CX and MX injection molding machines covering clamping forces of between 110 and 1,300 tons. All of the machines are equipped for 3K applications and with 6-axis KraussMaffei robotics. The systems are used for the qualification of molds for automotive applications and thick-walled packaging products, especially reusable and logistics containers. For extremely thin-walled packaging applications, since mid-2016 Roth has also been operating two fast Netstal EVOS injection molding machines with 350 and 550 tons of clamping force respectively. Located between the two machines is a highly versatile buckling arm robot for placing in-mold labels (IML) and removing the finished product. To make the qualification process as efficient and precise as possible, in cooperation with KraussMaffei Automation, Roth developed a special handling solution that ideally meets the requirements of mold manufacturer testing operations and also enables short cycle times. The systems used in the Roth testing center were specially designed for versatile application in mold qualification processes.
The entire packaging environment service spectrum from a single source
Packaging Day at the Roth testing center also represented a mini-milestone for the KraussMaffei Group. "At our valued partner Roth Werkzeugbau, we were able to demonstrate in practice that with our two brands KraussMaffei and Netstal we are the only injection molding machine provider worldwide that covers the entire spectrum of packaging applications with highly efficient solutions for each specific product," said Klaus Zeiler, head of Global Business Development at KraussMaffei. Live demonstrations were carried out on a total of five injection molding machines during the one-day event. Test products ranged from magnets and stackable boxes used by Roth itself and popular EMSA food storage boxes, including the commensurate lids and patented TPE seals, right through to IML-decorated polypropylene cups with a wall thickness of just 0.4 mm. During development of these highly complex applications, the Roth Werkzeugbau team were able to rely on the full support of Netstal. "Our decades of experience and solid application know-how in terms of thin-walled packaging with and without in-mold labeling enabled us to provide optimum advice to our partner Roth Werkzeugbau in relation to wall thickness optimization, cycle time reduction and repeatability. For packaging manufacturers, the resulting consistent quality and low unit costs are a perfect win-win situation," affirmed Thorsten Just, CEO of Netstal Germany.
Further minimization of wall thickness for cups
To achieve its ambitious goals Roth Werkzeugbau put its trust firmly in innovation. As such, to reduce the wall thickness of cups even further, the company is soon to try out the injection compression molding process further developed by Netstal. "Our Netstal machines are already prepared for the process, we now have to build up the necessary process knowledge in order to provide our customers with the commensurate support," concluded Marco Roth. In the spirit of the company motto 'What Roth delivers, works!', it is not hard to imagine participating trade visitors marveling at an injection compression molding application that is ready for series production by the next Packaging Day event. The second Packaging Day is scheduled to take place in 2019.