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SML: Consolidation time after two strong years of plastic films machinery

Source:Adsale Plastics Network 2023-04-07

Martin Kaltenecker, Head of Sales at SML Maschinengesellschaft mbH described 2021 and 2022 as “very strong business years” with worldwide investments in machinery for plastic films. For 2023, he anticipated that it will be a year of consolidation for many markets.


This is because, on one hand, investment attitudes are likely affected by macro-level issues. “Unsolved conflicts, embargoes, trade-restrictions between major countries, high inflation rates and energy costs in Europe, and natural catastrophes, for example in Turkey, do not create an investment-friendly environment,” he explained.



Martin Kaltenecker, Head of Sales at SML Maschinengesellschaft mbH.


On the other hand, he sees opportunities for machinery manufacturers, as the shortage of critical parts seems to slowly improve.


More importantly, the major trends in the plastics industry, such as recycling, circular economy, environmental friendly products and processes, downgauging to lightweight packaging, and digitalization, are drivers for investment in new machines.


“A significant trend is also the replacement of old production lines,” he pointed out. “Many machines are not able anymore to produce as energy-efficient as new ones, don’t comply to higher quality requirements or cannot run the demanded percentages of recycling material.”


Talking about the Chinese market, Kaltenecker said, “For SML, the focus in the Chinese market is still on cast film lines for lithium-ion battery separator films (LIBS) for production in the so-called Dry Process. But there is also increasing interest in extrusion coating lines for aseptic liquid packaging.”


Responding to the trends, SML presents its comprehensive product portfolio at CHINAPLAS 2023, including cast film extrusion for thin flexible films, sheet extrusion for rigid packaging and technical applications, extrusion coating and laminating technology, as well as its activities in Austrofil multifilament spinning lines for technical textile products.

Cast film line_400.jpg

SML’s cast film line for lithium-ion battery separator films.


For future development and upgrade, Kaltenecker said that SML will innovate machines to enable recyclability of products (mono-material structured), realize high productivity through large width or high speed, and achieve maximized flexibility for adapting to new raw materials and film structures.


The company's customers are from the industries of packaging, automotive, building and medical/hygiene. “Short production lots with many product changes are the daily routine of our customers, and the machines must be equipped to also handle this kind of flexibility,” he said.


The fully equipped Technology Center at SML's headquarters in Austria is available for tests, trials, machine demonstrations and product development for its customers.


Booth: 10A51

Other extruders / extrusion lines

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