Injection Moulding Asia Machinery
Speed and efficiency a focus Manufacturing operations are among the most energy-intensive in the world. Whether making plastic products, refining oil or rubber, there is a great potential for improving energy efficiency. With the progression of energy efficiency requirements, manufacturers are now faced with the challenge to achieve substantial energy reductions. At the Chinaplas show in April, this was exactly what machine makers and systems suppliers were highlighting.
Gerardo Chiaia, Husky’s VicePresident, Global Sales for Beverage Packaging, says the new system is a result of three years of R&D
shut-down. This is rounded up with the latest generation Polaris Control with a single interface for central control of the entire system, including the hot runner temperature controller and auxiliary equipment. Gerardo said that five to six lines will be installed close to Husky’s manufacturing facility for trial runs, before the commercial launch in 2013. “We will supply it as a complete solution with the mould, machine and downstream equipment such as cap inspection.” He also said the firm had encouraging response at Chinaplas, stating, “It has attracted attention from current and new customers.” Husky also showed its H-PET AE (all-electric) moulding system. “We have reintroduced the PET system to the market in China. It caters to lower volumes for custom preform producers,” said Gerardo. The firm also had a medical workcell running at its Shanghai Technical Centre consisting of its H-MED AE (all-electric) machine for cleanroom medical moulding, Ultra SideGate hot runner, Altanium temperature controller and Shotscope NX process and productivity monitoring software. Also on display were the new Ultra SideGate and UltraSync-E hot runners. Ultra SideGate provides an easy-to-use solution for direct gating parts that cannot be effectively gated with a regular nozzle while UltraSync-E offers shot-to-shot and part-to-part consistency through precise stem closing to help eliminate variability from the moulding process.
Upping the speed of closure moulding anadian injection moulding machine and preform system supplier Husky Injection Molding Systems introduced its HyCAP High Performance Package (HPP), said to be the world’s fastest for moulding beverage closures, running a 1.85 second-cycle using a 72-cavity KTW beverage closure mould. The company combined its existing capabilities with those of tooling firm KTW, a company it acquired in 2011, to render better economies of pressure. While Husky was closely guarding the mechanics behind its mould system, one thing was evident: the system does not require the mould to open and close, using only a proprietary internal ejection system. “The elimination of some of the movements and waste as well as optimisation of not just the mould but the entire system reduces the cycle time by 20% and uses up to 20% less energy over our previous generation product,” said Gerardo Chiaia, VicePresident, Global Sales for Beverage Packaging. He also said that the cost of retooling will be lower since a family mould allows for quick changeovers. Other improvements include direct drives instead of a gear box and smaller injection unit, allowing for more repeatability and reliability. HyCAP HPP also incorporates a start/stop feature for easier start-up and
Strong sales in China erman machine maker Arburg sold 12 machines on the exhibition floor, according to Sales Director Helmut Heinson. “We normally don’t sell machines on the exhibition floor but see this as a trend. This proves that price is not just a factor (in the price sensitive markets of Asia) but also the performance of our machines.” The firm also notes a trend in the customer base in China. “When we started in the market eight years ago, we were selling mainly to global companies but today 80% of our sales are to local processors. This shows that Chinese customers appreciate the value, quality and higher performance.” The firm has two subsidiaries in Shanghai and Shenzhen but has no plans to start any kind of assembly or production in China, said Heinson.
Husky’s latest HyCAP HPP system that was not fully shown during the exhibition
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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery Frank Peters, Vice-President of Sales, meanwhile, noted four major trends in the evolving Chinese market, including growth in the infrastructure sector; higher demand for food packaging, more emphasis on energy-efficient and automated machines and a focus on hybrid composites for lighter vehicles. He said that all the four trends are met by the group’s machinery solutions. As for sister company Netstal, it has witnessed a “remarkable increase” in the PET preform and sealing cap sectors and plans to build a PET laboratory and training centre in Haiyan to support the growth. Golz also said the group has had a successful start to the year with the integration of Switzerlandbased Netstal, which plans to maintain an independent market presence, with clearly defined product portfolios. Besides the facility in Haiyan, KraussMaffei has offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen and employs more than 300 staff in China. Another firm that is expanding its product portfolio in China is Japanese/German company Sumitomo-Demag, formed in 2008 by the merger of Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) and Demag Plastics Group. It has been producing machinery in Ningbo since 1998 and is now expanding the product range by introducing smaller models of the hydraulic Systec C series. The firm is also setting up an automation department at its Ningbo facility, in partnership with French robot maker Sepro for highend turnkey solutions and China-based Max Robot for medium-range solutions, said CEO Stephan Greif.
Arburg’s highlight at the show was a compression moulding machine for producing light guide panels
A highlight at the show was the 250-tonne Allrounder hydraulic compression moulding machine designed to produce 12 in. light guide panels that are 0.5 mm-thick and have a flow/path wall thickness of 350:1. The panels are for use in tablets and thin film transistor (TFT) screens using light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. To achieve a high luminous efficiency, the panels must be as thin as possible and require a specific optical surface structure, which is only achievable with compression injection. “The patented machine has a coining feature. The mould is not completely closed and maintains a 1 mm gap until the last 50 milliseconds of the process,” explained Heinson. The two-cavity mould is also designed so that the cavity is sealed, even when it is partially open, thus allowing for lower shrinkage and deformities as well as precision moulding. Heinson also said that by using this process to mould the light guide panels, the cycle time is lowered by 30%, thus allowing for higher productivity. Arburg is targeting the machine for the Chinese and Taiwanese markets. “Light guide panels are usually 20-in thick but we are targeting the machine at the production of thinner light guide panels,” said Heinson. Other machines on display were the new Edrive Allrounder, shown for the first time in Asia, and the Allrounder 570 H, from the Hidrive hybrid highperformance series. Manufacturing in China erman machine maker KraussMaffei has started to manufacture its injection moulding machines in its Haiyan factory. The first China-made model, MX850-6100, was shown. Targeted at the automotive market, the firm says the series is specially designed for a hard, continuous operation and combines short machine times with quick cycles. It will produce all the models, up to 400 tonnes, in China. To meet future capacity, the firm will double production space to 30,000 sq m by next year, said Hans Ulrich Golz, the newly appointed President of the Injection Moulding Machinery Segment. KraussMaffei has been manufacturing extrusion machinery and downstream units in the Haiyan facility for seven years.
Demag showed a total of five machines, including two models of its Systec C machine series from the Chinese production
Currently, the firm makes 3,000 machines in China and receives another 3,000 machines from its Schwaig facility in Germany. Greif said the main export markets are countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. This year it will expand its sales activities to Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, “to boost the export proportion of Chinese production from 10% in 2010 to 30%.” In the local market, with the Chinese government pushing for more activity in other parts of the country, Demag Ningbo will also be expanding its sales and service to Guangdong and Suzhou, said Greif. 4
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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery to create 550 to 650-tonne all-electric machines,” said Schley. The shift from hydraulics to electrics is due to growing concern on energy efficiency, said Schley, adding that the Elektron series uses 60% less energy and 90% less water than hydraulic machines.
Elsewhere, it is full speed ahead for Ferromatik Milacron’s business. Imbibing a sense of optimism, the Germany-based company (part of US-based Milacron) has experienced substantial growth with its latest order of 113 machines from a single customer in China. In the first quarter, it received an order for 85 Elektron all-electric presses, ranging from 50-155 tonnes, and the same customer ordered 28 additional 260-tonne Elektrons at the Chinaplas. Though the firm did not disclose the customer, it did say it is involved in electronics components for a “well-known American manufacturer of computers and entertainment devices.”
Chinese machine makers basking in limelight aitian International, regarded as the largest supplier of injection moulding machines in the world in terms of volume with annual production of 30,000 machines, aims to address energy efficiency through innovation. The equipment maker introduced its second-generation solutions as well as its best sellers at this year’s Chinaplas – the all-electric Venus, energy-saving Mars and large Jupiter series. The firm says it takes four years for R&D and most of these innovations would not be possible if it were not for close collaborations with clients who express their pressing needs. “We’ve received a huge amount of feedback from processors who are extremely happy with their machines but nonetheless their input has enabled us to further improve,” acknowledges Helmar Franz, Executive Director and Chief Strategy Officer of Haitian. Franz continued to explain that in 2006, the firm placed its focus on customers’ future challenges rather than on what competitors were offering. It summarised its findings and discovered that energy and raw materials costs will become a major challenge in the next five years. With that knowledge in hand, Haitian decided that instead of cutting back during the previous recession, it had to take the opposite approach and to increase R&D expenditure. “This helped strengthen our position in the upturn that followed. Market rewards followed, although not immediately,” stressed Franz. The company’s second-generation machines have improvements in performance and ergonomics that have risen largely from customer requirements. This means, according to Franz, that the new machines are much more customer-oriented than before and equipped with features such as the new kinematic design that provides smoother movement and enhanced safety; a revised injection parameter and a new screw design; and an updated controller.
The all-electric Elektron is a big hit in China for Milacron where the firm has secured a large order
Milacron has produced its Elektron presses at its Jiangyin factory since 2009, where its output is 500 machines/year, with 90% targeted for local consumption. Vice-President of the China operations, Gerold Schley, says the price-performance ratio coupled with fast delivery times and outstanding service from China helped close the sale. The customer is currently discussing an additional order for 10 multi-component models from Ferromatik Milacron in Malterdingen. Schley also said the customer is already running about 40 of the K-Tec hydraulic multi-component moulding machines. “There’s a trend in China to go towards higher technology machines.” Schley said, adding that aside from this trend, clients are getting interested in larger machines that can produce more with less energy. During the exhibition, the company displayed a new 450-tonne machine that was producing 4.5 l PP buckets. Another highlight was a 110-tonne all-electric machine producing optical lenses for mobile phone cameras. Both machines are built in China. “We are focused here in China on the automotive, packaging, electronic component and medical sectors,” explained Schley, adding, “the Elektron brand is well established in China and has had a growing presence in the European market over the past two years.” Clearly poised for additional growth, the company has hired new personnel, increasing the total workforce at the facility to 120. Increasing the clamp tonnage and sizes of the machines are part of the company’s R&D direction for the next 12 months. “From the development perspective, we’re planning
Helmar Franz from Haitian expects growth from export markets in the near future
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Injection Moulding Asia Machinery construction of its third production base at Wushu Industrial Park. With a production value of RMB2.5 billion, the new facility, together with existing facilities, will help meet the growing demand. Despite all of this, the company is not resting on its laurels and will in fact continue to strengthen its R&D by carrying out research on conserving energy in the heating part of the barrel unit. “We’re introducing large, sophisticated machines that will help save energy. This will be deployed widely this year. We are also focusing on servo machines and developing small and medium machines,” said Li. At Chinaplas, the firm displayed its PET-48A, said to be among the first to integrate servo pump technology, thus enabling energy savings of over 30%. According to Li, this is achieved by designing the pump’s power output in accordance with the load requirements to help reduce machine power loss. Yizumi is also strengthening its reach into new markets. In 2010, it developed 48 and 72-cavity PET preform moulding systems for the medical supplies sector. The following year, the company gained a share in some sub-markets in the medical industry with clients such as Jiangxi Kelun Pharmaceutical, Zhejiang Tianrui Pharmaceutical, Wuhan Shuanghe Pharmaceutical and Weigao Holding. Asked how it thrives in a challenging industry, Li said that the company’s overall competitiveness has made the difference. “Firstly, our team members are mostly technical elites in injection moulding machinery. Secondly, our wealth of talent is continually supported by a programme that includes training, assessment and promotion. Thirdly, we empathise with our customers by leaving a good impression in every step of the process. And lastly, we have an extensive sales network covering all the regions in China,” Li explained. The company has recently launched its East China headquarters to support customers in East and North China. “We also intend to develop a VIP client resource base that will include a Fortune 500 company, nine listed companies, five of China’s top brand enterprises, as well as acquire a huge market share in the medical segment,” added Li. Despite the many preparations – expansions and acquisitions –Yizumi has made, Li still foresees a challenging market ahead. “I’m not so positive about the circumstances this year. Uncertain factors in domestic and overseas markets are increasing. Appreciation of RMB is further squeezing profits on exports.” But he says there are still opportunities to look forward to and predicts that with the implementation of the national policy on energy conservation and emission reduction as well as stricter customer requirements, energy-saving, automatic precision moulding machines will become a trend. He also believes that the firm’s rivals are no match for it since it has expertise in cost control, quality manufacturing and brand marketing to boot.
Franz claims that the Mars machines can save energy and operational costs over the first seven years of a company’s operation, compared to existing presses. Aside from this, the mid-size machines cost 40 to 60% less than a fully electric machine. Its large Jupiter series, meanwhile, has been transformed into a two-platen machine without an extra “half-platen” to support the tie-bars. Haitian has delivered 60,000 Mars machines since it debuted five years ago. It has also sold 750 units of its all-electric Venus series that is manufactured by sister company Zhafir Plastics Machinery in Germany. Haitian will boost production capacity from 85 units/month to 140 units/month at its German plant. “Once we reach the 1,000 machines/year level, we will be considered a serious player and enter the phalanx of the Japanese big five,” says Franz, adding that demand will be mainly driven by the automotive and handheld device segments. In terms of overall sales, Franz said the company has sold more than 60,000 machines in the past five years and claims a market share of more than 40% for all injection machines in China’s domestic market and up to 70% market share in the 1,000-tonne plus range. Meanwhile, another company that figures largely on the injection press scene in China is Hong Kong-based Chen Hsong that sold about 15,000 machines last year, with a majority sold in China, said Executive Director Stephen Chung. At Chinaplas, the firm launched a new line of dual-platen machinery, which it is manufacturing under license from Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Plastic Technology. The MMX series, for sale in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong only, is targeted at the automotive sector. “By manufacturing in China, we are offering a better price-performance ratio,” said Chung. Another firm touting a two-platen machine at the show was Borch Machinery. “This is targeted at the home appliances, automotive, and logistics industries,” said a spokesperson. Established eight years ago, Borch has two production and research centres in Guangzhou and Hangzhou. The firm claims its combined 180,000 sq m facilities are able to produce 15,000 machines/year. Apart from the two-platen machine, the firm was also showing a machine with five separate injection units for multicolour moulding. But its not just large machines that are gaining a foothold in China and surprises do come in small packages as seen for Guangdong Yizumi Precision Machinery. The company’s injection moulding division realised 30% sales growth, mostly from the sale of small and medium machines, which accounted for 87% and 65%, respectively, of the turnover. Last year was also “a year full of surprises,” as described by Deputy General Manager Li Donghai. “We attained milestones in 2011.” Yizumi was transformed into a company limited by shares and is now preparing for an IPO. Plus, the firm purchased the intellectual property of US-based press maker HPM. In the production aspect, the company has started 6 J U N E / J U LY
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IMA June-July 2012 Features-Machinery