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At Sumitomo Demag’s Fakuma breakfast press conference, the mood was upbeat. The German-Japanese injection molding machine manufacturer announced that this year, its 50th anniversary in injection molding, profitability would break all records to reach the highest level ever achieved.

Karen Laird

October 14, 2015

3 Min Read
Sumitomo Demag reports profitability to reach highest level ever this year

Overall, growth is up 7% worldwide. According to Dr. Tetsuya Okamura (CEO) this could be broken down as follows: in Asia, not counting China, sales rose, mainly driven by the company’s excellent position in Japan. China, however, considerable depressed the region’s performance as a whole. By contrast, the European market also showed excellent growth, propelled by the increase in the German market, and, somewhat unexpectedly, Spain and Italy. Sales in Scandinavia are stable, as are those in North America, but Russia declined by 30%. The brand-new subsidiary in Hungary will further expand the business in Central and Eastern Europe; a new hub will be developed in Turkey.

Sumitomo Demag has made a number of strategic choices as regards market focus and geography: in Germany, the emphasis is on the packaging, automotive, consumer and precision sector, while in Japan, the company is targeting the electronics and telecom sector. In China, the focus is divided among various applications, the most important of which is the automotive industry. The company is building electric, fast-cycling machines at the sites in Germany; the hydraulic presses are manufactured in China.

‘Our core expertise is electric,” said Gerd Liebig, CSO. “Our all-electric IntElect machine is German-made, based on Japanese technology, with integrated experience and expertise from Sumitomo, and proprietary electric drive from Sumitomo.”

At the booth, the company was showcasing a number of options that are now available on its machines. A hybrid El-Exis SP 200, arguably the fastest exhibit at the show, was producing four 125ml polypropylene gourmet containers and completing their removal by a special handling robot in less than two seconds. This machine was equipped with an “activeAdjust” system, that allows machine operators to select the most suitable control characteristic. Individual machine movements, as well as acceleration and deceleration ramps can be optimized to suit the requirements of the product currently processed. This includes metering, the dynamics of the switchover from injection to holding pressure, mold opening and ejector movements. As a result, cycle times can be reduced by between 3% and 5%, compared with those achieved with standard settings.

Also, an IntElect 100-340 with a clamping force of 1,000 kN and an SDR 11S linear robot was molding a cover for couplings to an AdBlue feed pipe made from PA66-GF15. While it looked deceptively simple, the complex structures at the end of the flow path meant that it was very susceptible to flashes. SumitomoDemag’s “activeFlowBalance” module considerably reduces this problem: the forward movement of the screw is stopped, allowing the melt to decompress, and then the switchover to holding pressure occurs.  Hence, the filling quality is improved, while the stability of the production process and the quality of the molded part is optimized. Immediately after production, the robot removes the sprues and passes the products on to the downstream inspection stations, where optical measuring and temperature distribution monitoring by means of an IR camera ensure 100% quality control.

Other production efficiency modules options developed for the IntElect machines include the “activeLock” adjustable non-return valve, which actively closes prior to the injection process, ensuring s a constant closing behavior during each cycle; the “active” active mold protection module and the new “activeMouldWater” module for electronic cavity temperature and flow rate monitoring.

The specially developed “activeDynamics” module, an all-electric drive concept, ensures the smooth interaction of all drive train components: motors, frequency-converters and control system are perfectly attuned to each other, which reduces axis control scan rates to a minimum and ensures high dynamics, precision and repeatability.

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