It all starts with China. Davy Kong, head of the new department, and Ian Wang are the mould managers advising ENGEL customers in China on mould projects while developing mould solutions precisely tailored to products and manufacturing processes in partnership with a mould producing partner. “Injection mould technology calls for a great deal of coordination and close cooperation between ourselves, as the system solutions provider, and the plastics processors. That’s why it is so important to establish mould technology expertise close to our clients and have contact persons who speak their language,” says Dr. Christoph Steger, CSO of the Engel Group. “These two factors simplify project management and speed up the start-up of a new manufacturing solution.”
Greater productivity, more stable processes, higher qualityThe two mould managers at ENGEL Machinery Shanghai underwent intensive training at the headquarters in Austria. They now work closely with other mould technology staff in Austria as well as the business units and application technology departments in Austria and Asia. “If we precisely coordinate all the components in a manufacturing cell from the outset - by which I mean the injection moulding machine, the mould and the automation – the result is higher productivity and component quality as well as more stable processes,” explains Udo Stahlschmidt, who heads the ENGEL mould technology department. Experience and expertise gained from projects around the world is pooled in his department. Many times, the Engel mould technology division is also called upon to act as a consultant on the development of particularly complex new products, mould design and undertake feasibility studies.
For many customers, Engel's extensive and wide-ranging experience of mould technology is critical in the decision to appoint the company as general contractor for complete manufacturing cells, inclusive of the mould. In its capacity as general contractor, Engel takes on overall responsibility, even where other companies are involved in a project. Since Engel coordinates between system partners, customers have one central point of contact for project engineering, start-up and after sales.
Local mould expertise for Asia and North AmericaAround the world, Engel has built up a strong network of system partners who are also leading suppliers in their respective fields. Engel's mould manufacturing partners cover a broad spectrum, from simple moulds for standard injection moulding to complex, high performance precision moulds. In its systems business, Engel proposes the most suitable mould manufacturer for a specific project and advises customers on their choice of partner; once again, proximity is often the decisive factor.
Engel will continue to strengthen ts mould technology division in Shanghai in order to be able to offer its services from Shanghai to customers in other Asian countries in the future. Within the next year, mould managers will also be deployed to the production plant in York, PA in the USA serving the North American markets.
Developing customised injection moulding solutions presupposes a thorough understanding of available technologies and product specifications as well as sector-specific requirements and regional characteristics. As production solutions become ever more complex in the face of advancing process integration, for example, these aspects will become all the more important. Over the past four years, Engel has been continually expanding a decentralised network of specialist experts in its sales regions in order to keep pace with this trend. The first step was to establish its own automation centres in America and Asia while introducing a business unit structure. In establishing further teams for mould technology, Engel has reorganised another strategically important area on a global scale.