Two years later, shortly after the global financial crisis, the Japanese-German manufacturer of injection moulding machines, headquartered in Schwaig near Nuremberg, is pleased to report exceptionally positive developments at the Wiehe factory.
“The Sumitomo Group recognised the signs of the times in 2009, and decided to make the Wiehe factory the European centre of competence for electric machines,” explains Frank Stengel, who has managed the Wiehe location since 2006. “Expanding our factory as the central production location for the Sumitomo Group’s electric injection moulding machines for Europe and North and South America - despite the financial crisis – was exactly the right step.”
Today, the factory for injection moulding machines, founded in 1950 and owned by Demag since 1990, greatly benefits from the trend toward more electric drive technology in plastics processing. The sales percentage of all-electric injection moulding machines increased disproportionately and currently accounts for 60% of the location’s total production. In light of this technological development, the Wiehe factory promises to be a key success factor in the long term – not only for Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, but also for the injection moulding machine segment of the entire Sumitomo Group.
For two years now, the factory in the German state of Thuringia has focused on developing and manufacturing all-electric injection moulding machines. With the IntElect and SE model series, featuring a clamping force range of 500 to 4500 kN, the factory supplies all of Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s electric models for the European and North and South American markets. The all-electric IntElect model series was launched 2003; the fourth generation is now in production.
For K 2010, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag enlarged the IntElect range with four models in the clamping force range of 2200 to 4500 kN, and now offers the all-electric series in eight sizes from 500 to 4500 kN. The factory in Thuringia builds the all-electric Sumitomo models SE DU und SE HD, designed in Japan, with clamping forces between 500 and 4500 kN. Currently, the engineers in Wiehe are focusing their development work on providing technology packages for a wide variety of applications, such as multi-component injection moulding, precision injection moulding, micro injection moulding, and additional high-performance applications using the all-electric systems.
Traditionally, the Wiehe factory is known for its small machines. In addition, it manufactures hydraulic Systec injection moulding machines – offered by Sumitomo (SHI) Demag from 350 to 20000 kN – with clamping forces of up to 1200 kN. When markets recover, the demand for smaller injection moulding machines develops very early on and is particularly high – another reason why the Thuringian factory experienced a surge in orders this year. A special highlight in 2011: geobra Brandstätter’s large order of 80 Systec machines for the production of its Playmobil toys.
At the end of August, the Wiehe factory reported a 65% increase in small machine orders year over year. The boom in orders is due to requests from emerging markets such as China, Mexico and Turkey, as well as activities in the established North and South American, Southeast Asian and European markets.
At the Wiehe location, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag employs approximately 280 people. The factory’s production capacity will be expanded further by the end of 2011.