In 2012, Ulrich Reifenhäuser said his company's strategy could be summed up in one word—China—and in 2013, three words suffice: the United States. Reifenhäuser, who runs the extrusion technology company of the same name with his brother, Bernd, told PlasticsToday that the December 2012 purchase of Wichita, KS-based screw and barrel maker, Westland, was the first step in an overall strategy to renew focus on the North American market.
"When we look at the U.S. economy, especially plastics and the chances for new investments in plastics machinery, extrusion machines," Reifenhäuser said, "we see a fair amount of investment projects coming up. The U.S. market has tremendous potential, potential in growth. Lots of extruders are running and lots of spares are needed and old machines have to be renewed so the chances in this market are very, very big."
To seize chose chances, the company is undertaking a two-stage expansion of the Wichita site, boosting capacity by 20% and then 30% and making the it Reifenhäuser's new U.S. headquarters, replacing the Danvers, MA site. Current employment of 50 in Wichita will be boosted as well, with the facility to also store spare parts to service existing lines. Steve DeSpain, who has been named the new president of U.S. operations, estimated that the company has around 1400 systems installed in the U.S. The company is hoping to be completely moved into Wichita in September.