Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is celebrating 15 years of German-Japanese partnership this year. This occasion was acknowledged by Gerd Liebig, CEO, during the press conference at the beginning of Fakuma 2023. Over the past one and a half decades, significant synergies have been developed to enhance efficiency and increase market activities. “The integration of the development, quality, and customer service departments between Japan and Germany has now been successfully implemented,” said Liebig.
Another milestone in the 15-year partnership is the significant increase in market share for all-electric machines. “It has more than doubled worldwide,” stated the CEO, announcing further growth in this strategic focus in Europe: “With the introduction of the IntElect S and PAC-E, we expect an additional increase in market share in the next two to three years.”
Liebig also elaborated on Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s product strategy, which is based on different platforms. For instance, a platform for all-electric injection molding machines was established, enabling the production of the small IntElect in Germany, Japan, and from 2024 in China. The second platform concerns hydraulic injection molding machines with high closing force classes. The Systec platform for machines with a clamping force between 800 t and 1500 t for the automotive industry in Germany and China, is set to launch later this month.
“To increase the number of Systec machines between 500 t and 1500 t by 70 until 2024 and eventually build 100 machines in China, we invested 3.5 million euros and generously expanded the workshop, which was newly built in 2015,” explained the CEO. “This allows us to meet the increased demand from new, strong automotive manufacturers in China for large machines and significantly reduce delivery times for this platform through integration between Germany and China. The opening of the expanded facility took place on October 13, 2023, in Ningbo.”
During the press conference, Liebig also addressed the current challenging economic situation characterized by high inflation, high interest rates, and particularly in Germany compared to other European countries, very high energy prices. Additionally, the market volume for injection molding machines in the European automotive industry has significantly decreased as German manufacturers increasingly focus on premium vehicles. Sumitomo (SHI) Demag expects a substantial revenue decline of around 20 percent for 2023.
“The demand for injection molding machines in Europe is affected by the embargo on Russia, making exports from the EU to Russia impossible since September 2023,” he explained. There is hope in the packaging industry: “Another defining factor will be the sharply rising demand for pharmaceutical packaging and closure caps, which will significantly boost the high-performance applications segment. Furthermore, the general demand for all-electric machines, which has seen significant growth in the packaging sector, will now also play an increasingly significant role in the consumer and automotive segments,” predicted Liebig.
The current market situation is characterized by a very weak consumer sector. “Additionally, demand in the electronics industry has also dropped significantly due to its dependency on the automotive and construction industries,” the CEO explained. Sumitomo (SHI) Demag expects a consistently high revenue level in the medical technology sector and significantly increased investments in the packaging industry. “Our market share for all-electric machines has more than doubled in the last ten years and is currently close to 30 percent for Europe.”
Based on a market study conducted by Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, international customers’ decision criteria were surveyed and recorded. Unchanged, the importance of machine parameters and the competence, speed, and availability of customer service are at the forefront. In recent years, the weighting of decision criteria has seen a significant increase in “Total Cost of Ownership” and “Energy Consumption,” according to Liebig.
Efforts towards greater sustainability, summarized by Sumitomo (SHI) Demag under the slogan “Act! Sustainably,” are being further strengthened and, according to Liebig, are showing results: In October 2023, after winning a bronze medal the previous year, the company was awarded the EcoVadis Silver Medal for sustainable business practices. The renowned platform software assesses the sustainability of companies, scrutinizing the entire supply chain. Simultaneously, the sustainability report was published, presenting the corresponding strategy and the diverse activities of Sumitomo (SHI) Demag in terms of ecological footprint and resource conservation.
To learn more, visit www.sumitomo-shi-demag.eu.