MUMBAI, INDIA (Dec. 12, 12:50 p.m. ET) — The Society of Plastics Engineers' first Antec conference in India was a success — and the association plans to come back in 2014.
“We found our India outing quite successful,” said Jim Griffing, SPE global president, in an interview with Plastics News at Antec 2012 in Mumbai.
The Dec. 6-7 event drew about 450 delegates, and 178 papers were presented. That compares to about 1,500-2,000 delegates and 600-700 papers at a typical Antec in the United States, Griffing said.
This is the first time that Antec traveled outside North America in its seven decades of existence.
Newtown, Conn.-based SPE, which has been working to recruit new members internationally, also provided an update on its plans for Antec, Eurotec and Topcon conferences around the world
SPE has an active chapter that typically organizes three or four Topcons, or topical conferences, annually.
“Last year, we organized four Topcons on automotive, PVC, masterbatches and clear polypropylene,” said Vijay Boolani, technical program chairman and SPE's president-elect for 2013-14. The chapter is planning three Topcons in 2014.
SPE will continue to hold Antec conferences in North America. The next one is scheduled for April 22-24 in Cincinnati.
But with an eye on expanding globally, SPE is planning three Antec conferences in 2014 — one in Dubai in January, one in Las Vegas from April 27-May 1, and one in India in December.
The next India venue is still to be determined.
“It could be New Delhi, Chennai or Mumbai, as all are key cities close to auto hubs and on our radar for the next Antec,” Griffing said. “We will decide in due course about the exact venue.”
The year the conference was held in Mumbai's Renaissance Convention Centre Hotel. Boolani said SPE is looking for a bigger venue that can accommodate a trade exposition component, with space for 70-80 stands.
He would also like to expand the event to three days.
About 20 companies from the United States, Europe and India had stands at the 2012 Antec in Mumbai. Plastics News correspondent Satnam Singh reported the following news briefs from some of the exhibitors:
Ohio firm develops equipment for India and China
Solon, Ohio based Plastics Machinery Group is working to develop cost-effective thermoforming equipment for price sensitive markets.
“We are working on something interesting on the thermoforming side specifically for markets of India and China in the next couple of months,” said Don Kruschke, president and CEO. “We see lot of growth on the thermoforming side in these market in the years to come.”
Geiss to double sales in India in two years
Sesslach, Germany-based Geiss AG has appointed a representative in India with office in Hyderabad. The company design and manufactures thermoforming machines, CNC trimming machines and tooling for tooling vacuum forming.
“We have already sold six thermoforming machines in the transport sector in India and our target is to deliver five machines in 2013. We are targeting to sell 10 machines annually in the next couple of years,” said Manfred Geiss, managing director.
The company expects significant growth in India sales due to the growing size of the automobile market.
“Traditional methods of fiber reinforced plastics and rotational molding are popular in India, but have longer cycle times. Thermoforming gives good quality and could produce bigger volumes in shorter cycle time,” he said.
In India, Geiss supplied five machines Mutual Industries Ltd. and one to Visteon Automotive.
The company, which has delivered 3,000 thermoforming machines globally, entered China eight years ago and has sold 25 machines there. The company has sold 12 machines in Russia in the past six years, he said.
Maac targets opportunities in India
Carol Stream, Ill.-based thermoforming machinery manufacturer Maac Corp. also is exploring the Indian market, targeting automotive suppliers and pallet makers. The company plans to sell three and four-station rotary machines in India.
“Indian companies are showing interest in our thermoforming machinery and the market is building for the thermoforming technology,” said sales manager Michael Alongi.
The company has already sold three machines in India.
“We have to develop the market for our product as Indian companies are more into fiberglass and injection molding,” Alongi said.
The company has sold equipment in China, Thailand, South Korea and Saudi Arabia in the last couple of years.
“We started exploring the China and India markets two years back. We have sold five three-station rotaries to China in the last two years,” Alongi said.
VitasheetGroup looking for opening in India
Vita Thermoplastic Sheet Ltd., Europe's largest maker of custom extruded sheet, plans to enter the Indian market.
Formerly the thermoplastic sheet division of British Vita plc, the London-based company has already appointed sales agent in India and now is keen to develop the market for its product range.
“We have observed there is a shift towards plastic parts from the metal components and we are targeting that market,” said Milan, Italy-based technical engineering manager Mauro Bonaventura.
VitaSheet has eight manufacturing plants in Europe and clients in 40 countries.
Senoplast finds foothold with electric car company
Senoplast Klepsch & Co. GmbH of Piesendorf, Austria is trying to get foothold in the Indian automobile market.
The sheet extruder is working with Indian electric car maker Mahindra Reva, supplying sheet for the NXR, a model that will be launched shortly, said sales director Kitty Beijer.
“We have supplied about 40 tons of ABS/acrylic sheet from our Piesendorf plant for trial production,” Beijer said.
The company believes that OEMs are searching for technologies that offer pre-colored surfaces that do not require painting.
Mahindra Reva has annual capacity of about 30,000 cars, which Beijer said is the “perfect capacity” for thermoforming, since higher-volume production typically would move to injection molding.
Senoplast has two plants in Austria plus one in Mexico.
OMV touts in-mold labels for food packaging
Verona, Italy-based thermoforming equipment maker OMV Machinery srl is gearing up supply the growing food packaging sector in India.
“We are projecting ourselves as one source supplier for turnkey projects in extrusion, thermoforming and in-mold labeling,” said Kent Johansson, president and CEO of the company's OMV USA Inc. unit in Elkhorn, Wis.
The company has a marginal presence in India now, but is keen to grow.
“We have few good contacts manufacturing containers by local machinery. Besides, we have some customers using OVM equipment and exporting on to North America,” he said. “We are expensive compared to domestic machinery suppliers. After all, we are not going to compete with makers of inexpensive drinking cups. We are targeting big companies in general food packaging.”
In-mold labeling, for example, requires higher technology, but offers customers design flexibility and productivity advantages compared to other decoration methods.
“We have to convince the Indian market about its benefits including multiple colors, effects and textures with single operation, long-lasting graphics, manufacturing productivity and systems cost reductions,” he said.
Johansson pointed out that the company has a larger presence in India than in China.
“We have not gone to China as copying is rampant there. We prefer to stick to the India market and hope to sell a few systems in in-mold labeling in 2013,” he said.
OMV has sold sizeable equipment to Far Eastern markets of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.