A late-comer to the world's largest auto market, French carmaker Renault SA is currently building its first factory in China.
The 50-50 joint venture plant, located in central China's booming motor city Wuhan, won't officially start assembling passenger cars until next year, but it has already begun making plastic parts on an integrated injection molding system supplied by Haitian Plastics Machinery Group Co.
The JU33000II system completed testing and began production on March 24, and Haitian CEO Zhang Jianfeng celebrated the milestone by holding a ceremony in Wuhan, according the Ningbo-based machinery giant.
Haitian custom-built the automated production line for automotive trim based on the needs of Dongfeng Renault Automotive Co. It consists of injection molding, part removal, automatic mold change, material handling, automatic preheat, robots and other systems, Haitian said in a statement.
Using twin screws, the system can process different resins for different products such as bumpers, back doors and fenders. Its switchable double injection unit structure offers adaptability, enabling “mixed line” production of multiple products and fast changes. The system also is highly automated.
The 3,300-ton, two-platen press is the first injection molding system that Dongfeng-Renault procured, according to Haitian.
The integrated system is the first of its kind in China, Haitian said, and the largest in the world in terms of clamping force.
Haitian spent nine months developing and manufacturing the system, working closely with the customer.
Dongfeng and Renault formed the joint venture last year. It is investing 7.8 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) to build the Wuhan factory on 5,000 mu (823.7 acre) parcel, with initial annual capacity of 150,000 passenger cars.