Ningbo, China-based Haitian International Holdings Ltd. highlighted its third-generation Zhafir electric injection molding machines with smaller, more efficient motors at NPE2018 in Orlando, Fla.
The company, which is the world's largest maker of injection presses measured by number of machines, exhibited through its local agent, Absolute Haitian Corp.
"The third generation will be shown for the first time at NPE," said Haitian board member Helmar Franz before the event started.
Customer-driven enhancements will deliver greater efficiency at an attractive price point, he said.
"Servo motors have undergone tremendous development in the past five years," Franz said. "Now we have servo motors that can be overloaded briefly [to five or six times the power]."
The injection process requires high peak powers, Franz said.
"Older motors could only be loaded to [two times the power]. So, you needed a big motor, but this extra power is only needed very briefly in the clamping process," Franz said in an interview at the publicly traded company's shareholder meeting in Hong Kong in March. "You had to install a big motor for just this two seconds in the cycle."
The smaller motor uses less electricity and also costs less, he said.
Other improvements in the Zhafir Venus III series include a bigger mold space and a more compact injection structure. Venus III comes in clamping forces from 400-6,500 kN.
Franz also talked up "modularity," or assembling a Venus machine with the components best suited for the product being manufactured. For example, very different configurations might be needed when making medical parts, as to making consumer products with in-mold labeling.
Medical parts often require very precise injection but do not require highly exacting clamping.
"Why does the clamp unit need to be very precise?" he asked rhetorically. "[The clamp] just opens and the part falls down into a box."
With in-mold labeling, on the other hand, the plasticizing and injection unit can be very simple, but "the robot placing the label inside the mold requires absolute precision."
"The very difficult thing is to open the mold and stop the machine precisely," he said. "This is the real challenge."
At NPE2018, the company also showed its third-generation Mars machine. The servo-hydraulic machine has been a mainstay of Haitian's global growth in the last decade, and the company previewed an MA1700 III model running a housewares mold.
The company also showed a machine in its Zhafir Jenius series, a JE6500 molding an automotive grille.
Last year, Haitian sold 2,255 Zhafir electric machines, a 19.1 percent jump from 2016. Worldwide, Haitian sold a record 35,768 injection molding machines last year, up 21.1 percent from the previous year.
Looking to the future, Franz said Haitian is bullish on the North American market.
"The United States, in 2017, was the largest single market for us for the first time," he said.
While some Chinese rivals rely on homegrown sales talent, the 52-year-old company has long been shy of top-down sales management. Haitian International does not have a single employee in North America, Franz said. Instead, sales and service for the USA and Canada are handled by independently owned Absolute Haitian Corp., founded in 2006 and headquartered in Worchester, Mass.
"It is not a good time for people who have not diversified their sales force," Franz said.