According to Zhang Jianming, CEO of Haitian International Holdings Ltd., the leading position of Haitian International as a manufacturer of injection-molding machines is attributable in part to the open dialogue regarding requirements and experience with processors: “The development of innovative design and key technologies is only possible when there is a thorough understanding of plastics processing in its respective markets. New solutions have to address and take into account the needs of plastics processors as well as current developments and tomorrow’s demands. Our customers play an important role in our joint success.” Based on the most recent discussions with customers and business partners in all important markets of this business sector, Zhang Jianming and Professor h. c. Dipl.-Ing. Helmar Franz, Chief Strategy Officer and member of the board of Haitian International, together with their teams, have identified four current trends: 1) Energy-efficient drives will become standard 2) Rising demands in mass production will pave the way for full electric machines 3) Lean economy versions are increasingly of interest to processors 4) Standard machines will establish themselves as efficient elements in high-tech production cells and in complex automation processes.
1. Trend: Energy-efficient drives
According to a worldwide Haitian’s customer survey, energy-efficient drives will prevail across all manufacturers; the market will therefore no longer accept surcharges on them. For some time now, energy-efficient drives have been a standard feature of all Zhafir and Haitian Series, “and at a standard price, quite intentionally”, Professor Franz emphasizes. “Saving energy should be a matter of course, and to demand a surcharge for such future technology would be not conductive for further market penetration.” The Ningbo Haitian Drive Systems Co. Ltd. is responsible for the development and manufacture of the motor. Here, servo-controlled and electric motors from 7.5 to 110 kW power are produced. “Our motors are energy-efficient because they are developed especially for each individual series”, explained Mr. Fu Nanhong, Chief Engineer of Haitian International. “A motor for the Mars or Jupiter Series has to meet requirements that are quite different from those for the motors for our electric series.” Nearly 85,000 of the servo-hydraulic Mars Series have been sold since their introduction to the market in 2007. The Haitian patent for is based on the design combination of servo motor and gear pump. From the very beginning, sales figures for the Zhafir Venus Series, with its fully electric drive technology, have doubled each year; so far a total of around 2,500 units have been sold.
2. Trend: Rising demands in mass production will pave the way for full electric machines
The pressure of competition, which is increasing internationally, particularly for the consumer goods, but also in the packaging and the medical sector, will promote a growing demand for fully electric machines for mass production. “The plastics processing industry demands higher precision, high-speed processes, and – consequently – shorter cycle times. Fully electric machine technology is the only way to increase productivity significantly. We are concentrating on providing exactly what the customer needs by zeroing in on technology. In this way, the processor can supply his markets with high-value components in large volumes and at attractive unit costs” says Professor Franz, alluding to the highly precise injection unit of the fully electric Venus II Series with injection speeds up to 350 mm/s. The Zhafir Mercury Series makes high precision possible even with complex moldings, separating the injection phase from the plasticising phase.
3. Trend: Lean eco versions
Increasingly, plastics processors want to operate more flexibly and with greater cost-effectiveness. This trend can be observed most particularly in fluctuating and saturated markets. Currently, Haitian, with its Mars II eco Series, offers a version especially developed for the European market. Moreover, Haitian will evaluate economy versions for all machine series in order to meet the demands of regional markets with greater economic flexibility, both in the top and the bottom segments of the molding market.
4. Trend: Standard machines in high-tech processes
Standard machines that effectively handle the core functions of the injection molding process will become established as an efficient process element in complex applications and in automated processes. “The injection-molded part of a complex high-tech plastic part joining different materials is not always high-tech. There is a tendency sometimes to veer towards over-engineering too readily.” says Professor Franz, and he gives a current customer example: “An automotive supplier, with headquarters in Japan that ranks among the world’s top 50 companies, produces plastic components on a total of seven, highly automated production cells. Each is equipped with a Haitian Mars machine. The principal requirements for the machines are high uptime, energy savings, and – above all – rapid tool exchange, including a smooth integration of all the peripheral equipment, since the customer runs a zero stock-level strategy. The injection molding process per se can be accomplished by the medium high-tech segment of the molding machine market; thus it is very precisely appropriate for the Mars Series. Our machines have been integrated into upstream and downstream automation applications – all of them around 3,000 tons – have now been doing their job reliably and solidly for two years.
Expansion of the world wide communication network
In the opinion of Haitian’s management team, the expansion of the global network of information and communication figures among the most pressing issues to ensure a sustainable leadership. To further intensify the global spread of knowledge across sectors and markets, materials and applications, and expenditure and profit. According to Professor Franz, “We will support even more strongly the exchange of inspiration and information between all market partners, because we want to participate even more actively in product design and in process optimization. We want to learn not only, obviously, the wishes of the customer, but also important trends and perspectives.” In the future, modern communication tools should facilitate the identification of requirements and research into trends. They should make it possible for employees, partners, customers and universities to evaluate ideas and information even more effectively.