Friedrichshafen, Germany — Schwaig, Germany-based Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery GmbH is accelerating its strategic plan to roll out all-electric presses to every market.
The company launched the IntElect S earlier this year and gave it a European debut at Fakuma 2023.
The IntElect platform, produced in Germany, China and Japan, has options available for every segment, including packaging, medical, automotive, electronics and consumer goods.
After its 80,000th IntElect installation in 2022, application fields were added, such as a multicomponent LSR version and the IntElect S for thin-wall packaging in the medium clamp force range.
At Fakuma 2023, an IntElect S 220 produced container lids with in-mold labels from Bornewables-brand polypropylene.
Packaging and automotive are two markets where CEO Gerd Liebig told Plastics News he is optimistic the company will pick up sales next year after a challenging 2023.
This year, sales are down about 128 million euros ($134.7 million) compared with 2022, when the third-largest injection molding machine builder in the world reported sales of 778 million euros ($819 million).
Sales for 2023 are expected to be around 650 million euros ($684.3 million) with high interest rates, inflation and energy prices prompting plastics processors to pull back on investments.
For 2024, Liebig expects sales to climb back up to 720 million ($758 million) to 730 million euros ($768.5 million) with increased demand for medical packaging and the trend toward tethered caps for beverages as well as replacement demand for machinery in the automotive market leading the way.
Fakuma 2023 in Friedrichshafen was the first time Sumitomo (SHI) Demag went all in on all-electric presses in its exhibition history. All machines incorporated automation to increase part quality, expedite production runs and support workforce safety.
Even though all-electric presses cost more, the price gap isn't what it used to be, according to Tony Marchelletta, national sales manager for the United States.
"There's definitely a slight premium, but on the small tonnage, it's almost even," he said. "Anything 300-400 tons and down, by the time you option up a hydraulic machine to the same performance levels as all-electric, they're on par with each other. And if you start factoring in the lower operating cost, energy efficiency and a lot less maintenance on them, they quickly bridge the gap — sometimes as soon as six months."
Still, there are some solutions that can't be covered with all-electric, Liebig acknowledged, pointing to the need for high injection speeds that can be achieved by the company's hybrid machines.
Company officials expect that in the coming year many more of the machines built in Europe will be fully electric in response to rising energy prices. The return on investment for almost all applications will not only make the presses more affordable but also is expected to help future-proof the business.
Sumitomo (SHI) Demag products were featured at eight exhibits, including four at the company's booth.