Injection molding press supplier Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery GmbH has launched an extensive investment program at its two production sites in Germany, as the company will no longer make hydraulic-clamp machines of 120 metric tons and smaller — switching them to all-electrics — and consolidates its product portfolio.
“The IntElect precision machine is our lead product of the future,” said Gerd Liebig, CEO of Sumitomo (SHI) Demag. “This consolidation of our product portfolio is a reaction to market requirements and will make us an even more reliable, stable partner for our customers,” he added.
The move does not apply to North American operations, the company said.
The company has made 65,000 all-electric injection molding machines, and develops electric drive components in-house.
Sumitomo Demag also said that it would continue working on and refining toggle technology in all its machine series. “In the areas of mold protection, reliability, precision, and energy efficiency, there is no better locking system than the toggle system – for all-electric, hydraulic, and hybrid fast cycling machine series,” according to Hideki Kuroiwa, chief technical officer.
The decision, announced July 1, comes in the wake of increasing demand for all-electric machines and a continued reduction in price difference between hydraulic and all-electric injection molding machinery.
According to Sumitomo Demag, the growth rate of its all-electric IntElect series is “outstripping all forecasts,” with almost half of all the company's machines sold in the past 12 months being from the IntElects.
To address the growing demand, the leading injection molding machinery supplier announced 1 July that it would be building a global competence center for electric injection presses at its plant in Wiehe, Germany, and cut delivery times. There, the company expects to improve output for its conveyor belt production lines by 30 percent.
Sumitomo Demag officials also expects to optimize its entire production flow and increase annual manufacturing capacity to 1,000 all electric machines at the Wiehe plant.
In Schwaig, Germany, the company will “almost double” its capacity for platen processing by the end of the year, thanks to its new processing centers.
“All-electric machines like the IntElect have become so technically mature, that after considering all the criteria, more and more customers are finding it attractive,” explained Liebig said.
Also contributing to the growing trend for all-electric machines are technological advantages such as dynamics, precision, repeatability, process stability, and energy efficiency.
“In Germany, we are replacing production of small fully hydraulic machines with our superior electric drive technology. From Fakuma 2018 on, our investment in the clamp force range up to 1,200kN (120 metric tons) will shift entirely to the IntElect series,” Liebig added.
The company is, at the same time, shifting the focus to hybrid drive technology for packaging machines and servo-hydraulic toggle technology for medium and large machines. Now in its fourth generation, the El-Exis SP series with its clamping force range of 150to 750 metric tons rounds off the portfolio for fast applications, while for universal applications, the modular Systec Servo remains available for the for 160 to 1,500 metric tons.
Sumitomo Demag employs more than 3,000 employees at four factories in Japan, Germany and China. building injection presses of clamping force between 18 and 2,000 metric tons.