Chinese press maker Ningbo Haitian Group Ltd. plans to start assembling injection molding machines in India with its local partner, Electronica Machine Tools Ltd.
The two companies are ready to start assembling Haitian's Saturn model of injection molding machines up to 300 tons at Electronica's facility in Pune, India.
The move gives China's largest press maker its first Indian manufacturing setup. Ningbo-based Haitian joins several other foreign press makers that have launched assembly in India. The firm also is the world's largest press maker in terms of number of machines.
Haitian first said in 2007 that it was eyeing manufacturing in India. Haitian and Electronica executives were interviewed at PlastIndia, held Feb. 4-9 in New Delhi.
Everything is finished, said Haitian Executive Vice President Helmar Franz. We are ready now. The technical things have been solved and training has been done.
Foreign press makers have succeeded in capturing more of India's growing market because of their overall versatility with the technology and the price, the price to performance ratio, said Milind Agnihotry, associate vice president of molding solutions for Pune-based Electronica.
Some 37 percent of the injection presses sold in India in 2008 were imported, up from 11 percent in 2002. More than half of the imports are from China, Agnihotry said.
The Indian injection press market has grown from about 1,560 units in 2002, to just over 3,100 in 2007, before dipping to about 2,700 machines in 2008, Agnihotry said.
Agnihotry said the Indian market for molding machines is projected to top 8,000 units in five years. Sales have slowed recently, and he expects business to improve later this year.
After October, we expect some turnaround, he said.
The rise in imported machine sales has prompted some trade tensions between Indian and China. Another Indian press maker, L&T Demag Plastics Machinery Ltd., filed a trade complaint in July asking the Indian government to investigate whether Chinese-made machines were being dumped into the local market. The status of that investigation is not clear.
L&T Demag officials at PlastIndia declined to comment. L&T's head of all-India plastic processing machinery marketing, Girish Handigol, simply said, time will tell.
Agnihotry said there is no sign from the government that the complaint has moved ahead.
Logically, with anti-dumping issues and procedures therein, by now the government should have already started the inquiry, he said.
Electronica's director, P.K. Ratnaparkhi, said the Indian government and authorities have not worked to set up schools or institutions to develop the local injection press industry, unlike the local machine tool industry, where government help has been strong.
While Indian engineering is very good, the country's press makers are stuck competing with lower-cost, high-volume Chinese presses, as well as higher-technology machines from developed markets, according to Franz.
We want to let our Indian partners participate in the cost-effective production in China on the simple machines, he said. Chinese press makers can manufacture 50,000 machines a year, he added.