INJECTION MOLDING MACHINES, OVERSEAS, OR OVERSEAS?
China has become the largest manufacturer of injection molding machinery reaching 25.5 billion RMB or equal to $4.1 billion in 2013 with projections to reach 30 billion RMB or $4.8 billion by 2016. This coupled with the fact that they export nearly 30% of these machines equates to an export value over $1 billion.
Many manufacturers of these injection molding machines have been developing and building all-electric, electric-hydraulic, and two-platen machines to fit the energy and environmental demands of recent years. Three major Chinese manufacturers have all developed two-platen, ultra-large injection molding machines with clamping forces of 6,500 tons and above.
The largest manufacturer of injection molding machines in the world Haitian International Holdings, was responsible for 27,000 total machines in 2013, which accounts for over 30% of China’s total output.
The number two manufacturer in China, Chen Hsong Holdings, a company focused primarily on large and medium sized injection molding machines released a 4,500 ton two-platen machine in 2013 and was developing a 6,500 ton machine through 2014.
These developments, coupled with other companies that maintain Chinese manufacturing facilities, point to the country keeping the crown of injection molding machine production for the foreseeable future. (PR Newswire, 2015)
In the US at NPE 2015 this year, Plastics News caught up with representatives from Arburg GmbH & Co. KG to discuss exciting news on the injection mold front.
The company will be holding an opening ceremony for their new, 27,000-square-foot North American headquarters located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut on June 16th. This facility will employ 40 and house a showroom large enough to hold seven Arburg Allrounder injection presses for demonstration and testing.
The Arburg representative stated that the United States is by far Arburg’s largest export market with approximately 12,000 presses in North America. This was the reason given for the decision to continue to invest in America.
The company generated record sales in 2014, racking up over 575 million USD, up from 501 million USD in 2013 and the previous record of 520 million USD in 2012. Representatives reported that incoming orders had increased by 15% in that time frame.
Arburg reportedly exports more than 70% of its machinery from its manufacturing facilities in Germany and currently offers injection presses with clamping forces ranging from 14 to 550 tons.
At NPE 2015, the company demonstrated various offerings from their product line including; long-fiber direct injection molding, where glass fibers go directly into the injection press, a 440-ton Allrounder 820S press molding a lever for an automotive pedal, and a 260-ton Allrounder 630H producing polypropylene parts with in-mold-labeling at a cycle of 3.5 seconds, just to name a few.
Arburg looks to really wow the US with the introduction of their new Freeformer 3-D printer. This technology is also on display at NPE 2015 where one of their machines is turning out key chains for event goers. The product, which has a built in ball joint with a flexible bellows, manufactured out of thermoplastic polyurethane, is reportedly the first for additive manufacturing. (Bregar, 2015)
It seems regardless of China’s “juggernaut” like command of the injection mold machine market, many are still willing to invest technology and capital in the United States' injection mold industry, even if the bulk of the machinery is no longer being produced domestically.
Bregar, B. (2015). Arburg Investing for Continued US Growth http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20150326/NEWS/150329771/arburg-investing-for-continued-us-growth
Orlando: Plastics News.
PR Newswire. (2015). Global and China Injection Molding Machine Industry Report, 2014-2016 http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-and-china-injection-molding-machine-industry-report-2014-2016-300055915.html
Dublin: A UMB plc company.