Updated Nov. 17: Niigata Machine Techno Co. Ltd. has formed a joint venture in Japan with Haitian International Holdings Ltd., China's biggest manufacturer of injection molding equipment.
The separate company, Niigata Haitian Injection Molding Machine Co. Ltd., is equally owned by Japanese injection molding machinery maker Niigata and Ningbo-based Haitian and will “focus on the development of electric molding machine technology,” Peter Gardner, vice president of sales and general manager of Niigata's distribution operations in North America, said in a Nov. 2 email.
“[The joint venture] will enable Niigata to leverage Haitian Group's mass production technology and buying power for producing high-precision Japanese molding machines in Japan at a lower cost,” Gardner said.
Conversations on forming the joint venture started in spring 2016. Helmar Franz, non-executive director at Haitian International Holdings Ltd., said in a Nov. 17 email that “with cooperation and joint efforts in development,” Niigata can reach the target of reducing its cost of machined components by purchasing raw materials from Haitian.
“Both parties can further improve the quality of their products by learning from each other in terms of production technologies and quality control, etc.,” Franz said. “To make full use of their respective advantages and pursue common development is the core initiative for the cooperation.”
Niigata also will assist Haitian with design and production methods for Haitian's all-electric injection molding machines. The two companies will each maintain their own separate product lines.
Masaki Kakimoto, Niigata's managing director, will serve as president and CEO of Niigata Haitian Injection Molding Machine Co. Ltd.
“Niigata Machine Techno sources components and material through Haitian at a cheaper cost to lower the machine production cost,” Kakimoto said in a Nov. 13 email.
Kakimoto said Niigata will continue to make all of its machines in Japan. Final assembly, test runs and quality control will still be done at its Niigata City, Japan, factory, he added.
“Niigata Machine Techno maintains the same quality and capability as before,” Kakimoto said. “Low-cost models have been released already, and the quality is strictly controlled by Niigata to keep Japan quality.”
Haitian's spokesperson said both companies are not currently looking to expand production outside of Niigata's factory. But as the venture progresses, “further expansion will be evaluated according to the market demand of the new products.”
At the International Plastic Fair in Japan in October, Niigata introduced its new, low-cost CNS series all-electric machines, which are built at the company's Niigata City factory. Casting and other mechanical components are supplied by Haitian.
The CNS series machines will cost about 20 percent less than Niigata's standard MD series, Gardner said. The machines are available in clamping forces ranging from 50-100 tons.
In 2011, Plastics News reported that Haitian had opened a technical center in Tokyo to break into Japan's injection molding machinery market. Kakimoto said Haitian's technical center had no influence on the decision to form the joint venture.