Officials of Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery GmbH the combination Japanese/German injection press maker spelled out their strategies for Europe, the Americas and Asia at the Fakuma show.
The main difference between the regions centers on all-electric machines: the Japanese-developed Sumitomo electrics will be promoted in the Americas and Asia, while DPG's German-made IntElect machine will go to European customers. Sumitomo Demag will not sell the IntElect in the Americas or Asia, unless customers specifically request it.
In March, Japanese injection press maker Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. bought Schwaig, Germany-based Demag Plastics Group from Chicago investment firm Madison Capital Partners.
Fakuma, held Oct. 14-18 in Friedrichshafen, marked the first joint trade show booth for the new company, Sumitomo Demag.
``This is the official start of Sumitomo Demag today,'' said marketing director Raik FlÃ¤mig.
He said company leaders plan to have a unified, global machinery line by 2011.
Sumitomo Demag employs 3,000 and generates sales of about 600 million euros ($750 million). The new company has about 100,000 installed machines around the world, a number that includes Van Dorn machines in the U.S., FlÃ¤mig said during an Oct. 14 news conference.
Sumitomo Demag has an advantage in all-electric technology, FlÃ¤mig said Tokyo-based Sumitomo Heavy Industries builds its own electric drives in Japan. Sumitomo also is a leading company for direct-drive systems, which are highly energy efficient, he said.
Sumitomo has a market share of about 26 percent in Japan, said Tetsuya Okamura, chief executive officer of Sumitomo Demag.
FlÃ¤mig and Okamura discussed the blending of Japanese and German cultures. FlÃ¤mig said the Japanese have a much longer time frame than executives from Germany, the United States and private equity owners.
``We're quite happy where we are,'' FlÃ¤mig said. ``Somebody asked me yesterday, `Where do you want to be in the next five years?' Before, we needed to ask where we would be in the next five months,'' he quipped. ``It's a great working atmosphere and it's very different than the way it was done before.''
FlÃ¤mig said DPG employees ``were euphoric'' after hearing Sumitomo would buy their company. ``It's been a totally, 100 percent positive experience.''
Okamura said Japanese decision-making typically moves patiently, as leaders seek lots of opinions and try to come to a consensus. But sometimes that takes a very long time, and he said Japanese executives can learn from the Germans to move faster.
But FlÃ¤mig said that, when it comes to machinery, the cultures are not really that different. ``When you sit down together and have a beer at the end of the day, we find that we have the same mentality,'' he said.