Japanese injection press maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Plastic Technology Co. Ltd. and Hong Kong's Chen Hsong Holdings Ltd. have agreed to jointly make large hydraulic machines, using Mitsubishi's technology but reducing costs by manufacturing in one of Chen Hsong's factories in China.
Tokyo-based Mitsubishi said that under the agreement it will design a low-cost, energy-saving, large-sized hydraulic injection molding machine called the MMX that will be optimized for market needs in the emerging economies, with production of that model by Chen Hsong.
However, the companies will each retain some separate control of marketing, with Mitsubishi saying it will market them under its own name, while Chen Hsong said it also will sell the same platform of machines under its own Chen Hsong brand.
Chen Hsong, though, said that under its license it has exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the two-platen hydraulic machines in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, with non-exclusive rights elsewhere.
Both companies put out separate statements March 29. They declined to say how long the agreement will last.
Mitsubishi said the two companies plan to launch the first OEM machines within the next six months, and to expand the lineups of both OEM and licensed machines progressively.
Chen Hsong said the deal will definitely enhance the group's capability, both from technology and manufacturing technique perspectives, in the development of large-size two-platen type machines.
According to Chen Hsong's website, the company already offers a line of two-platen presses made in China, called the Supermaster series.
Mitsubishi said the move will help it deal with a strong yen and cost demands in emerging markets.
Through collaboration with Chen Hsong, MHI-PT will produce its own brand MMX series in China, leveraging Chen Hsong's outstanding production capability and local supply chain, it said. The OEM initiative will enable MHI-PT to maintain and further strengthen its competitiveness even amidst the strong yen.
The Japanese firm said the major markets for injection presses today are China, Southeast Asia and India, and it said the bulk of demand in those regions will remain for hydraulic machines.
It described the agreement as a foothold in China that will let it expand market share in emerging markets.
Mitsubishi said the MMX series will replace its existing MMV line of hydraulic molding machines. It said the MMV series is the basis for the development of hybrid-electric machines.
Mitsubishi introduced the world's first hybrid-electric injection molding machine with 3,000 tons of clamping force in 2004. The company was also one of the first to introduce a two-platen injection molding machine generally.
Initially, Mitsubishi licensed two-platen technology from Natco Inc., a U.S. press maker. After Natco went out of business in 1990, Mitsubishi showed its own two-platen machine at the 1991 NPE show in Chicago.
A flood of two-platen machines came out at the 1995 K show in Germany, aimed at large-tonnage presses. Eliminating the third platen reduced manufacturing costs and made the machines much smaller.
The agreement between Mitsubishi and Chen Hsong follows the announcement in January that Mitsubishi will sell Engel's medium-sized multicomponent machines in Japan. Mitsubishi is handling sales, installation, service and spare parts for the Engel Duo Combi machines, with clamping forces of less than 1,000 tons.