Demag Plastics Group will produce the first European-branded, all-electric injection molding machine that is made in China, at its Ningbo plant, in the first half of 2007. The German press supplier also is expanding its production and product line in China.
``Right now in China, we sell all-electric machines that are made in Germany,'' Gerhard Massfelder, chief executive officer of Demag Plastics Machinery (Ningbo) Co. Ltd., said in a recent interview in Shanghai.
``They are not selling very well, because the German price is too high. That is the reason we want to produce here in China.''
He said the first Demag all-electric machine in China was sold in 2004. ``Now all-electric machines have become a fashion in China.''
Meantime, Demag plans to open a new, 100,000-square-foot plant, according to Stephan Greif, vice president of China operations.
``We are looking for a new production area,'' he said at Chinaplas. ``We are likely to stay in Ningbo, but it is not certain. The decision will be made by the end of this year.''
Greif said the new plant will make machines with clamping forces of 250-350 tons.
There also will be an extension to the current product line in the existing Ningbo plant, which includes 50-, 100-, 150-, 200- and 250-ton machines. ``We will start making machines with clamping force up to 350 tons in the second half of the year.''
Demag's current capacity in China is 600 machines annually, and the actual production is 400-450 presses a year. In the next two to three years, Greif said, the company plans to add 200 jobs and reach 1,000 presses in annual production.
The Ningbo plant started with an annual capacity of 100 presses in 1999, as a joint venture of Demag and Haitian Group Co. Ltd.
Greif said automotive is the largest end market, representing about 30 percent of sales in China, followed by electronics, which represents 25-30 percent of sales, and technical parts. The share of special applications like packaging and medical will increase in the next three to five years. Demag has delivered machines as large as 2,000 tons to Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co.