CHUNXIAO, CHINA — With fireworks, confetti and a bevy of guests flown in from around the world, Ningbo, China-based injection molding machine maker Haitian International Holdings Ltd. christened a massive new facility for its high-end Zhafir Plastics Machinery Co. Ltd. subsidiary.
The 120,000-square-meter facility — bigger than 22 football fields — in Chunxiao, about 30 minutes drive from downtown Ningbo, and took 15 months to build. When production is fully ramped up, it will produce as many as 5,000 all-electric injection presses every year.
Haitian plans to eventually add about 180,000 square meters of factory space on two adjoining parcels for a maximum capacity of 10,000 machines per year.
The new facility includes departments for machine assembly, painting and testing; metal and sheet-metal processing; technology and applications; research and development; and sales and administration. The facility has about 400 employees, including about 50 R&D staff and 250 manufacturing staff.
Zhafir also has an R&D team in Germany.
The new factory is designed for state-of-the-art workflow principles, including multiple storage areas, rather than one big centralized warehouse. 3-D measurement equipment will keep a careful record of individual parts, said Helmar Franz, Haitian's executive director and chief strategy officer.
By placing machine parts on pallets that can be shuttled from one assembly area to the next, Haitian will realize savings in labor and energy and gains in quality. Eventually, “the heart” of the factory will be a conveyor belt, Franz said.
The modular approach means that the shop floor can be reorganized to meet new needs. “Everything is married together,” Franz said.
Production at the facility will first focus on Zhafir's Venus and Zeres series.
Also at the event, Haitian announced its new Zhafir Venus II series, with clamping force of 650 metric tons. A 1,000-tonne Venus is expected to ship by the end of the year. These machines are targeted for automotive-components production, where ever-quickening product lifecycles make it “the most innovative industry,” Franz said.