In addition to the much-discussed issue of productivity, one of the greatest future challenges for the processor regarding production processes is flexibility. Decreased product cycles, frequent mold changes, and the demand for maximum efficiency require that those responsible for production maintain a balance between productivity and flexibility. For example, a production cell that is tailored for a particular product may be highly productive, but when there is a facelift or a change in product, in most cases it can potentially no longer be applied in that manner and thus it is not very flexible. Yet efficiency cannot be allowed to suffer, because low machine-hour rates and exactly stipulated delivery deadlines are required of the processor. Numerous conversations with customers bear witness to this, including those with T1 suppliers from the automobile industry. Haitian International offers cost-efficient solutions to give the perfect balance between productivity and flexibility at best costs: injection molding machines with great flexibility and innovative “Technology to the Point”. Strong performance, ready for the future.
In order to be able to pave the way towards Industry 4.0, Haitian International as machine supplier sets itself the goal of guaranteeing the best possible integration into the environment of MES software solutions and cyber physical systems. Zhafir and Haitian machines come equipped with all available standard international interfaces as options, e.g. Euromap 77, ensure smart connection to modern manufacturing cells and production processes – tailor made to the concrete situation at customer site and in different regions of the world.
Modularity as an extra dimension in flexibility
In addition to “Technology to the Point”, technological flexibility in machines will also gain increasingly in importance. Haitian International is redefining modularity and is aligning its future generations of machines accordingly.
Today, processors using Haitian and Zhafir machines can already efficiently produce a broad range of parts within a product group of similar parameters. And, as always, the range of clamping force categories is being expanded continuously, with smaller clamping forces for electric models and larger ones for two-platen technology. In the future, modularity will offer the processor even more possibilities through more flexible, application-oriented “Technology to the Point”. Nonetheless, the construction of hybrid models should not be the primary goal of development. Rather, the established base technologies of the servo-hydraulic and electric models will continue to be optimized in the future so that their core components are combinable in modular fashion.
The reasonable path to Industry 4.0
Haitian International will also continue to pursue its path of further development from being purely a machine builder to being a provider of comprehensive smart solutions. Haitian Group engineers, systems developers, and IT specialists work together in intercontinental project groups where they pursue various approaches to solutions and objectives, by applying the innovation strategy described above.
This includes optimizing the new interfaces to the system environment so as to integrate highly standardized machines into automated processes with even greater flexibility – without forfeiting productivity. Prof. Helmar Franz, Board Member of Haitian International, says: “At Haitian International, we are placing great emphasis on the theme of “Industry 4.0” and are discussing it with our system partners and with many customers. How and when our machines can be integrated into an “intelligent” environment is decided in the final analysis by what benefits and added value there are for the customer. However, first there are still some general challenges to be overcome that cannot be solved one party only, the key items being data security, network accessibility, and internet stability. In addition, there is the question of what makes sense. Not everything that is already technologically feasible today necessarily makes economic sense for the individual plastics processor. Here also it’s a matter of finding the “most cost-efficient path”: the perfect balance between flexibility and productivity at best costs.”
To meet the global challenges as a machine manufacturer and grow efficiently in doing so, Haitian’s engineering team of course keeps an eye on the regional specificities in different markets.
Measures for achieving efficient growth
Besides the open-ended questions emerging from the digitization and with regard to the new automation on the horizon, the key issues of modern machine manufacturing remain our central focus, so as to future-proof the injection molding technology. Prof. Helmar Franz adds: “With all these developments with regard to Industry 4.0, we should not forget the machine itself. Together with universities such as MIT, we are working on the issue of lightweight constructions in the injection molding machine. For new materials and corresponding new forms of plasticizing concepts that will be needed, we cooperate with the universities in Beijing and Guangzhou. Also under intense discussion at Haitian International is the integration of other processing methods, such as forming of platen and new business models for optimal use of resources inspired by the principles of “sharing economy”.
Worldwide expansion of value creation
Optimization of value-creation processes within the company – including outside China – will be given basic support through the modular product concept, for example by supplying subsidiaries with key technological components instead of complete machines. This way, Haitian International reinforces the focus on the customer on-site and at the same time creates for itself new possibilities for concentrating even better on local circumstances, in particular against the background of the increasing differentiation of demand both in highly developed and developing countries. “This is especially important for global processors who need different market-specific and socially fair solutions depending on the location of the subsidiary. This ranges from highly developed markets prepared for Industry 4.0 to developing countries with simple, basic needs,” says Prof. Franz. “Our objective is, as it always has been, to place technology at the service of customers by tailoring it as precisely as possible to their sectors and applications and to the needs of their customers. On the one hand, plastics processing with maximum possible efficiency and productivity, but on the other hand flexibility and cost efficiency in production − this is the clear goal we set for our machine technologies and solutions, a goal that we must continue to expand and improve. Worldwide, we are creating and developing competitive advantages for our customers, and this will continue to be our target for the future.”