At the press conference for K-2022, Dr Thorsten Thümen, Senior Director Technology, outlined the company’s evolving strategic focus. He also gave guests a clear indication of the upcoming product innovations that will feature as exhibits at the world’s leading trade fair, drawing upon the successes of the company’s all-electric injection moulding machine portfolio.
"We are focusing on the global expansion of the IntElect platform, which will open up additional fields of application," explained Dr Thümen. For example, a "multi" version for the efficient production of multi- components, as well as a high performance IntElect S. Both new additions will cover the medium clamp force range. Additionally, standardised process engineering equipment packages for LSR and physical foaming (MuCell) will be available.
Indicative of the importance of the packaging market at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, Dr Thümen announced a corresponding expansion in this area. Based upon the El-Exis SP platform, this includes future delivery of a “servo” variant equipped with servo pumps in the medium and high clamping force range to further enhance energy-efficiency, as well as additional supplementation of process engineering equipment packages.
The most exciting development for the packaging market will be the global unveiling of a new high speed machine series at K 2022. Named PAC-E and initially targeted at packaging applications requiring a medium clamp force, Dr Thümen briefly described PAC-E as a fusion of features from the El-Exis platform and IntElect series. Yet with a brand new injection unit specifically developed for high speed packaging applications.
Accelerating automation plans
The company continues to drive forward its in-house development of automation solutions. The SAM (Sumitomo (SHI) Demag. Automation. Machine.) robotics concept first unveiled last year comprised the SAM-C. A linear 4-axis robot with cartesian kinematics for standard applications to complement the longstanding cooperation with Sepro and its linear 4-axis SDR.
A new addition is an innovative variant of the SAM robot. Designed for more complex requirements, it combines the linear axis system with other technologies. “The SAM models are our proprietary automation products. The design, software and servo motor technology comes from our company," emphasised the Senior Director Technology.
Overall, the company’s automation strategy comprises three pillars: ‘Easy Automation’ is the standardised production solution, encompassing an injection moulding machine and robot. Designed for handle&place and handle&box applications, it offers users a compact production unit footprint, extensive handling functions, with fully integrated robot control. ‘Industry Solutions’ blends automation concepts developed specifically for the automotive, consumer and electronic industries with automation solutions created by partners for special packaging and medical applications. Lastly, ‘Customized Automation’ that is based on concepts developed by regional experts located across automation competence centres spanning Europe, Asia and America.
Setting the sustainability example
The company’s web-based software solution ‘myConnect’ plays a central role in presenting critical data and decision making information in real time. “Looking to the future, all new machines will be equipped with this central platform, which offers a wide range of fully networked support services. It’s now been extended to also include condition monitoring. Additionally, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is driving the digitisation and implementation of AI-supported systems through to an IoT platform that combines all functions," states Dr Thümen.
In his presentation at the K-Preview, the Senior Director Technology presented the individual exhibits, highlighting special technological features and disclosed more application-specific information. More details were promised to the public in the run up to the international trade show.
Venturing to sum up the strategic outlook, notwithstanding the aggregate effects of global economic uncertainties, Dr Thümen announced: "Our strategic ambition is to be an international system provider respected for our industry-oriented application expertise, with a European focus." The company’s global positioning and associated strength should provide the basis for this. Drawing upon the synergies between the individual plants in Germany (Schwaig/Wiehe), China (Ningbo) and Japan (Chiba).
He used the hydraulic series Systec XL to put this into context. Citing that delivery times in Europe should drastically reduce, customers in Asia get access to previously unavailable machines and market penetration in South America increases.
With the all-electric IntElect series, the strategic direction remains steadfast. Standard applications will continue to have orders fulfilled in Chiba. For industry orientated and customised solutions, the IntElect machines will be manufactured in Germany.