Düsseldorf, Germany — Toshiba Machine Co. Ltd. is introducing its new identity to the plastics industry at K 2019.
The Japanese injection molding machinery maker is changing its name to Shibaura Machine Co. Ltd., effective April 1.
"We're actually going back to our original name, believe it or not," said Chuck Gorman, national sales manager for the United States and Canada at Toshiba Machine Co. America, the Elk Grove, Ill.-based subsidiary.
The company was founded in 1938 as Shibaura Machine Tool Co., but decades later merged with Tokyo Electric Co. to form Toshiba Machine.
The name change also follows previous steps to achieve independence from Toshiba Corp., the machinery maker's former parent company and top shareholder.
"The Toshiba Corporation itself is having some financial difficulties," said Michael Werner, Toshiba Machine's project sales manager.
The 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck the coast of Japan also packed a financial punch to Toshiba Corp., which had "a lot invested" in the now-disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, he explained.
"That caused them to be heavily in debt and, as a corporation, they are facing financial hardships," Werner said.
Toshiba Machine bought back stock owned by Toshiba Corp. in March 2017, enabling a split from the parent company.
"Part of that agreement and deal was that we would no longer use the Toshiba name after April 1 of next year," Gorman said of the share repurchase.
Toshiba Machine presses will carry the dual name of Toshiba and Shibaura until April 1, he said.
Gorman added: "Other than the name, our company remains exactly the same as it was."
At K 2019, the company is focusing on two applications: One is a clear, optical liquid silicone part for an automotive LED headlamp application. The part is molded in under two minutes on a 50-metric-ton EC-SXIII machine. The all-electric press is equipped with a robot that takes the part out, inspects it and places it on the conveyor.
The second machine — a 100-tonne EC-SXIII — is molding tiny plastic scissors made from a nylon base with metal flake, giving them a metallic aesthetic. The parts are laser-marked with a QR code for part traceability and molding data. The cycle time is about 32 seconds.
"The purpose of this, especially in the automotive line, is that you don't have to repaint the part after the product is made," Werner said.
This also reduces pollution, he explained, specifically the volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from solvent-based paint spraying operations.
"Here, you can do door handles, you can do other things. Make it look metallic and have that look, yet it never has to be a painted product," Werner said, adding that it's a "huge time-saver, huge money-saver."