SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Brazilian injection press maker Himaco Hidraulicos e Maquinas Ltda. has taken what it believes is a significant step in machinery development in the South American country — Brazil's first domestically made, all-electric machine.
The company introduced the Eletrica HE 1300 machine at Brasilplast, held March 5-10 in Sao Paulo, and made its first sale at the show, said Cristian Heinen, sales manager for the Novo Hamburgo-based firm.
The HE 1300 is a simpler machine than most all-electrics, Heinen said. But as befits a developing economy, it has one chief advantage — it is half the cost.
Other electrics may have a cycle time of two or three seconds, while Himaco's is six to seven seconds, he said. And it reduces energy consumption by 48 percent from hydraulics, compared with an 85 percent reduction on more sophisticated all-electric machines, Heinen said.
But that will improve, he said. The company wants to get the machine in the market to some key customers and do follow ups aimed at making improvements, he said. The machine has a clamping force of 130 tons, but the company is working on other models up to 220 tons.
"Probably a year from now it will be a lot better," he said.
For now, the company is focusing on selling the machine in Brazil and for markets that demand clean, oil-free molding, like food packaging, pharmaceutical packaging and cosmetics, he said.
Himaco feels it has some significant work convincing the Brazilian market that such a machine is needed, he said.
"The people of Brazil are totally convinced the hydraulic machine is the best way," he said. "We are trying to change the culture of the Brazilian people to accept this."
Then — perhaps in a year — Himaco will start to export, focusing on Canada, Mexico and the United States, he said.
The machine was designed by Himaco engineers, with help from a German firm in making the machine's motor. The company first thought about building an electric press in the early 1990s but only began work in earnest after one of its executives returned from the 1998 K show in Germany convinced that "electric machines are the future," Heinen said.
Still, Heinen said predicting the future of all-electric sales is tough. He expects to sell 15 a year initially, only a small fraction of the 500 machines Himaco sells each year.
Himaco employs 250 and had annual sales of about $15 million in 2000, he said.