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        IMA

Machinery/Technology at Chinaplas 2018

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Arburg provides all-round highlights at Chinaplas

Injection moulding machine maker Arburg has reason to celebrate – it achieved a higher turnover of EUR698 million last year, compared to EUR636 million the previous year. “We have an ambitious plan to grow and will fulfill it,” said Gerhard Böhm, Managing Director Sales. In Asia, sales are now 15% of the total turnover, which is an “improvement over the previous year,” said Böhm, adding that packaging is a strong field in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and China.

Gerhard Böhm of Arburg

At the recently concluded Chinaplas show in Shanghai, Arburg showcased Industry 4.0, highlighting its over 30 years of experience in digitally networked machines As a central component of Industry 4.0, Arburg offers for the Smart Factory and the “Made in China 2025” state-sponsored industrial development, components that can be individually combined. These include, for example, industrial Ethernet, as well as online process control, data acquisition, detailed planning and status monitoring, as well as individualisation of high-volume parts as single-unit batches by combining injection moulding and additive manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Böhm says there is a clear trend towards all-electrics, not only in the automotive and 3C sectors but also in the medical field. Thus, it demonstrated an Allrounder 370E Golden Electric to prove that the entry-level electric series is also suitable for precision medical parts. It was displayed with a twocavity mould from Wellmei producing Y connectors for intravenous drip therapy. The PC parts were removed and set down by a Multilift Select linear robotic system.

For lightweight parts for the automotive sector, Arburg presented the ProFoam physical foaming technology in China for the first time, on a hybrid Allrounder 570H with a size 800 injection unit, shown producing a 30% glass fibre-reinforced PA66 passenger car engine compartment part. With its fine cell structures, the ProFoam part is characterised by low weight, few sink holes, uniform shrinkage and reduced distortion. A granulate lock ensured a continuous feed of material and gaseous blowing agent.

“Arburg is a pioneer in the processing of liquid silicone (LSR),” said Böhm. An Allrounder 420C Golden was producing flexible LSR cases for the iPhone 8. The mould was provided by Prover, while the LSR dosing unit was from 2 KM.

Having launched additive manufacturing on its Freeformer in 2013, Arburg has since then continuously followed up with improvements on the technical end and product quality, said Böhm. He also said that the company had “an impressive project list and a nice number of Freeformers sold, not just to injection moulders,” though China is still in its infancy stage for the prototyping solution.

“It is related to R&D of new products and we are positive with what we have seen so far. There are good applications in the medical sector, for “human spare parts”, and this is being developed in Germany at the moment,” he revealed.

At Chinaplas, a Freeformer demonstrated that is not only suitable for prototyping but also for the industrial additive manufacturing of functional components. It was processing standard PP and the water-soluble support material Armat12 to produce functional cable clips. “One great advantage of our open system process is that it can be adapted to the requirements at hand, with customers qualifying their own original material and optimising the freely programmable process parameters specifically to the relevant application,” said Böhm. In addition to amorphous standard granulates such as ABS, PA and PC, materials qualified by Arburg include, for example TPE, medical grade PLLA, PC approved for the aerospace industry; and semi-crystalline PP.

Engel/Wintec make inroads into China/Asia

Austrian machine maker Engel has upped its sales in Asia by 20%, with 90% of machines sold made at its Asian plants in Shanghai, China, and Pyongtaek, South Korea. For the fourth time in a row, Engel also ended the year with an increase in revenue. Its revenue for 2017/18 was EUR1.51 billion, up by 11% than the previous year.

Engel is pouring substantial investments

In Shanghai, where Engel builds its Duo dualplaten series, targeted at the automotive sector, it is pouring substantial investments into the plant, said Gero Willmeroth, President, Sales and Service at Engel Shanghai. The plant was expanded in 2017 with land area now fully occupied. Phase 4 of expansion added 1,500 sq m of space and the installation of a ten-axis machining centre capable of handling weights of 160 tonnes.

As Willmeroth stressed, Engel has grown tremendously in the automotive sector in China and the rest of Asia, with the company claiming a 60% market share, amongst its European compatriots.

He also said that clients are boosting their investments into innovative process technologies. An example of this is Optimelt, a patented multi-layer process for the manufacturing of thick-walled LED lenses, with external cooling installed to reduce cycle times.

For lightweighting, until now, the focus of Chinese processors has been on substituting glass on one hand and foam injection moulding on the other; now the sector is looking towards composites technology. Willmeroth added, “China is setting the direction and that is why we are introducing series-ready technologies for the economical production of composite components.”

In addition to automotive, Engel has increased its sales in the medical area, with healthcare and diagnostics being the main growth drivers. “In the medical area, we are seeing a trend for multi-cavity moulds, which require larger machines to increase throughput,” reported Willmeroth.

Meanwhile, Engel’s subsidiary, Changzhou-based Wintec is investing EUR10 million to double production capacity in response to expected demand growth for its machines in China as well as to support the marketing of its machinery in the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

The new capacity of 300 machines/year will come on stream in 2019 at the plant, which was set up four years ago to build standard machines. It will not only double the size of the site from its current 18,500-sq m area but also up production workforce by 60%. “We plan a further expansion within the next three to four years, subject to demand,” according to Michael Feltes, President, Sales and Service, Wintec.

Currently, 72% of Wintec’s sales are targeted at the automotive sector, 23% for white goods applications and 5% for technical moulding and others. Wintec also lends support to Engel’s Shanghai plant through the machining of platens and machine frames.

Demag’s showcase suitable for Chinese market

Carl-Ke

Ningbo-located Demag Plastics Machinery (Ningbo), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese/German firm Sumitomo SHI Demag, has sold over 8,000 machines in China and these are being utilised in the automotive, packaging, medical and precision parts production, said Carl Ke, Marketing Manager.

At Chinaplas, Demag presented the SE50EV-A-SHR high-speed machine for thinwall moulding; two models under the SE100EV-A series for LSR moulding and thickwall parts; Systec 100 for a LSR lens application; Systec 280 for an IML application, and El-Exis SP 200 for caps production.

Ke explained that Demag’s focus is on packaging, automotive and electronic parts and that the machines for these sectors should meet the requirements for high-speed operations. “China retains its significant position as the biggest market for our two production plants in China, which produce hybrid and all-electric machines. The products are also intended for export to other countries, especially in Southeast Asia,” he countered.

Italian auxiliary equipment for China

Moretto

Italy’s Moretto is sealing its position in the Asian market with the opening of a branch in China, specifically dedicated to sales and customer support, said Paolo Gasparotto, Vice President for Sales. “We have expanded our activities globally with the opening of three new branches. One is in China, and the other two in India and Russia.”

According to Gasparotto, China is a market at the core of the global plastics industry with growing needs for automation and improved production processes. With a dedicated office in China, he says Moretto will be able to respond faster to the urgent needs of customers in Asia for sales, after-sales and technical support.

Moretto’s solutions comprise a range of auxiliary equipment and automation systems for feeding and conveying, dosing, drying, storage, grinding, thermoregulation, refrigeration and supervising systems.

Kraiburg to expand capacity in Asia; focus on automotive/E&E sectors

TPE maker Kraiburg, which has its regional headquarters in Malaysia, expects to boost production capacity by a further 35% at its Malaysian plant, said Managing Director Roland Ritter, adding that a new line will start up by September this year.

“In 2008, we started with 160 tonnes and ten years later, we will overshoot our capacity to 10,000 tonnes,” said an elated Roland, adding that the company is growing rapidly and has prepared for its growth in advance with new machinery line-up.

“We have also recently expanded the office building and warehouse in Malaysia, to meet increasing market demands in the Asia Pacific region,” he said, adding that further enhancements are expected to the sales network in Hanoi, Vietnam, and Chengdu, China, to build better brand presence.

China is an important market for the company, as is Asia. “Asia accounts for a market share of 15% and China, 30%.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese market for TPEs has been growing, especially the automotive sector. “Applications are gaining traction not only in China but the rest of the world. Increasing consumer spending on cars with aesthetic features and high quality and innovative automotive parts is likely to stimulate future TPE product demand, especially for E-mobility and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.”

Roland

Roland also said, “In China, we offer a wide range of products to fit all applications as well as precision engineering and tailor-made solutions thanks to our years of experience and expertise. Furthermore, we have already established ourselves in China since 2004 and this has given us ample time to anticipate, identify and understand our customers in China.”

At Chinaplas, the company introduced a new EPDM adhesion series for automotive exterior parts, which

provides optimal adhesion to EPDM. Targeted at window encapsulation, door sills and glass run channels, the series affords short cooling times, low coefficient of friction, heat resistance up to 90°C, easy flow and processing.

Apart from the automotive market, the consumer electronics industry is also a focus. “Consumer electronic and electrical devices industries are increasing the use of TPE materials. Such applications include soft straps, smartphone cases and VR headsets,” explained Roland. Materials solutions offered for these industries include Copec, Thermolast and For Tec E, thanks to their attributes, such as comfort, easy colourability, silky soft touch, irritation-free and good adhesion properties.

Meanwhile, the company expects better results in 2018. “Globally speaking, our performance was very encouraging in 2017, especially within China and Asia on the macro level. We are confident of achieving even better results in 2018 and beyond, given that our global sales revenue increased by 6.6% (2017 vs 2016),” said Roland.

“We are focused on providing quality and service and not just selling our products based on pricing. This allows us to stay ahead of our competition,” Roland shared, when asked about the company’s secret to success.

(IMA)


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