What are your plans regarding international business?
D.B.: We see great potential for growth in North America, but we have also been investing in Southeast Asia, with new subsidiaries and a new local organisation. We already have a strong position in China – where there is Piovan China, with its manufacturing plant in Suzhou near Shanghai – and we aim to bolster our presence there. In addition, we want to focus more on other Far East countries like Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Last but not least, we see good opportunities in Africa as well.
How do you see the PIOVAN PET business?
D.B.: PET is still our core business and we certainly want to remain the leader in this market segment. At the last Drinktec, you saw our AIPC (Automatic Injection Pressure Control) technology. This technology is an upgrade of our Genesys drying system and makes it possible for customers to better control production and quality while also optimising the energy consumption of the complete process. One thing we have been looking at is not only the energy consumption of the dryer itself but of the whole system, i.e. dryer + injection moulding machine. Piovan has always been the leader in energy efficiency for drying technology, especially for PET. Of course, our competitors focus on this as well. What is different is our approach. Piovan doesn’t focus only on resin drying. We invest resources to take a close look at the system as a whole and how its performance can be increased.
When can the industry expect the next Piovan innovations for PET?
D.B.: We do not have plans to launch any major innovations in 2018. Instead, we are targeting the K 2019 as an important milestone for introducing a new generation of dryers and innovative technologies, especially for PET. This year, at the NPE in Orlando, one of the most important events for our industry, we will present Piovan products, such as the Quantum blender, that will be launched in the North American market and produced in the new US facility. Our main focus in 2018 will be on our healthy growth and huge investments in new ambitious projects.
What, in your opinion, is driving the optimisation of injection moulding systems? We see a trend toward creating partnerships.
D.B.: I agree – we have also noticed this trend. And we support it. Basically, partnerships depend on the companies and their strategies. Some are open to sharing their knowledge, while others prefer to develop on their own.
Piovan, by its nature, is always willing to cooperate and to define partnerships in order to develop innovative solutions. This willingness is driven by our strategy of providing maximum support to our customers. We often suggest modifications or solutions that could benefit our customers. In plastics processing, I sometimes think that we have to change our mindset. In the past, we worked with clusters: injection, moulds, dryers and so on. The trend shows that in the future, cooperation will be at the centre of all efforts. Customers are increasingly asking their suppliers to work together to find the best solution. This kind of flexibility is really needed from suppliers.
Piovan is experienced in many areas of plastics. Are there synergies?
D.B.: Definitely. The strength of Piovan is that we have broad knowledge of the plastic industry as a whole. So we definitely take advantage of many synergies – in the packaging, automotive and medical industries and so on. This makes us a valued partner when it comes to optimising systems. Our know- how is certainly an important selling point. But there is also another aspect. We recognise that customers today want to better understand our business, namely the business of what is in front of and behind their own machines.