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Chinaplas 2008: Show marks major step in Demag-Sumitomo integration

Shanghai—The Chinaplas trade show held here last week marked the first major public step on the road to the operational integration of Sumitomo Heavy Industries (Tokyo) and Demag Plastics Group (Schwaig, Germany) since their merger became official on March 3, 2008. Since then, teams in North America, Europe, and Asia have started work on sales and service integration, and the two companies exhibited at adjacent stands at Chinaplas.
In an interview with MPW at the show, newly appointed Demag CEO Tetsuya Okamura said that Sumitomo and Demag would continue to offer their current product lines through parallel channels in Asia. “Sumitomo has a strong presence in Asia, selling 2000 out of its 4000-unit annual production in China alone,” noted Okamura. Demag also manufactures 600 to 700 hydraulic machines annually in Ningbo, China, with those marketed under the Dragon ET Series.
Meanwhile, integration of sales and service will progress rapidly in Europe and North America. Both companies have a strong presence in North America: Demag, for example, claims an installed base there of 17,000 machines, while Sumitomo has an assembly operation in Norcross, GA. In Europe, Sumitomo has a limited presence.
Demag will continue to offer its German-made IntElect all-electric machine as a high-end solution in Europe, but now with the added advantage of incorporation of core Sumitomo technology, including Sumitomo servomotors, said Okamura. To serve the mass market, meanwhile, Sumitomo and Demag plan to develop a common all-electric machine platform for processors. “Every option is currently on the table,” he added.
Demag currently produces 1300 machines annually at two sites in Germany. All-electric machine production at its Wiehe plant is currently at the level of around 130 machines per annum, but Okamura expects the merger to significantly increase all-electric production and market penetration in Europe, and he said the Wiehe site has sufficient capacity to meet this demand surge. “In 3 to 5 years, we expect 50% of the European market for injection machines to be all-electric, versus 10% now,” he said. The recently announced Krauss Maffei-Toshiba alliance should also provide impetus to this trend, he said.
Japanese suppliers have traditionally found it difficult to penetrate the European market for injection machines, due to the requirement to offer complete, highly automated packages as well as a highly entrenched service network. “Demag’s strength is total solutions, and we will be able to combine this with our high-performance all-electric machine technology,” said Okamura.—[email protected]
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