Successful subsidiary reflects on a successful first year with launch of a new technical training facility, networked service solution to optimise machine uptime and unveils its automation roll out plans.
Prague – March 2022. Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery Česko spol. s r.o., Prague (Czech Republic) is celebrating its first anniversary. Officially opened on 1 April 2021, the branch office in the Czech capital has achieved all of its initial business ambitions and maintained its unwavering service focus, with Managing Director David Svoboda declaring that “customer feedback has been extremely positive.” Highlighting the next process orientation phase aligned to the domestic growth strategy, Svoboda unveils the next customer-orientated milestone – the opening of a new technical centre in Prague to deliver on-site training, testing and tool validations.
Covering an expansive 450 square metres, the Technical Centre features a state-of-the-art showroom and offers a comprehensive combination of theory and practical learning experiences. Accommodating up to 15 people at a time for seminars, workshops and courses, delegates are exported into Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s advanced digitised technology world via an interactive 86-inch monitor. Cameras connected over LAN and WLAN facilitate a clear view of the very latest market development and research projects being undertaken within the Group’s Schwaig and Wiehe German plants. Explaining how this learning experience complements the extensive training that the team delivers when visiting customer’s own processing facilities, Svoboda notes: “Everyday work can regularly lead to distractions. Giving team members dedicated time to visit our new facility and enhance their skills without interruptions can be extremely productive.”
Adjacent to the tutorial facility is a fully-functional all-electric IntElect 130/520-560 injection moulding machine, comprising robotics and all the typical production peripheral conveyor, material dosing, drying, tool cooling and temperature control equipment. “This enables us to fully showcase the practical machine features and also demonstrate how the machine performs with specific applications. It’s a very hands-on learning experience,” emphasises the Managing Director.
The room is equipped with all the typical utilities, including compressed air, electricity and water. Additionally, a crane with a load capacity of five tonnes facilitates the safe handling of heavy equipment.
For Svoboda, one of the most valuable highlights is the full demonstration of the company’s new web-based software solution “myConnect”.
One of the first international subsidiaries to offer the “myConnect” service to its customers, the Czech Technical Centre illustrates the benefits of having direct access to a wide range of fully networked services using two touch screens – one operated by the service technician and one by the customer. “For productivity, “myConnect” is a big gamechanger helping to better manage inefficiencies, reduce costs, reduce total cost of ownership, troubleshoot errors and minimise machine downtime”, reports Svoboda.
With a workforce of 15 comprising two dedicated sales people and an efficient back office team, the Czech subsidiary operates a free weekday telephone support line (8am to 4.30pm). More than half of the team (eight) are service technicians ensuring full coverage throughout the Czech Republic and neighbouring Slovakia and guaranteeing customers a fast response time.
Joining the team soon will be SAM, the first proprietary robot series solution from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag. “In-house automation will be introduced in the Czech Republic during 2022,” announces Svoboda.
Offering fully-integrated deployment from a single supplier, the new SAM (Sumitomo. Automation. Machine.) robot series succeeds in delivering the smallest injection moulding footprint comprising robot and material handling technology. Already available in four payload sizes – three, five, ten and 20 kg – the two ‘handle & place’ SAM-C (Cartesian) robots are designed specifically for injection moulding machines with clamping force sizes between 50 and 500 tons, and for standard applications with cycle times of 10 seconds and higher. Further robot kinematics and functional elements will roll out in the next couple of years.
“Customers will soon benefit from process and system technology from a single supplier source, complete with hardware and software control integration of robot technology into the injection moulding unit and production-optimised robotic mechanics fully customised to Sumitomo (SHI) Demag machines. All at the best price to performance ratio,” explains the Managing Director.
With the company’s IO-Link communication system, intelligent sensors and actuators can be connected to the automation system. This means the SAM series fully meets future Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing requirements. Additionally, the robots all incorporate “myConnect”.
As a scalable solution, the SAM robot series fills an important gap offering a good return on investment through increased output, enhanced quality, repeatable precision and reduced waste.
Looking to the future, Svoboda affirms that the branch has ambitious plans to supply complex automations as soon as 2023. What is more, with its expansive and well organised warehouse, spare machine components can be rapidly supplied and technicians deployed to help customers optimise their injection machine parks. “One year in and we are in a very strong position to react flexibly to customers’ service and training needs,” adds Svoboda.
The growth opportunities are abundant claims the Managing Director, citing packaging and medical as the markets with the greatest market potential within the region. “Last year’s MSV trade exhibition in Brno provided an excellent benchmark for the future. We sold machines, made contacts and secured new customers. The response was overwhelming and as a result we plan to exhibit again between 4-7 October 2022.”
From zero to fully operational, it is easy to underestimate just how much the Czech Republic team has accomplished within 12 months. “From day one, our service hotline was assisting customers and efficiently troubleshooting and resolving issues. We hit the ground running and the speed in which we were able to resolve issues for customers was testament to our extensive processing knowledge and industry expertise,” reflects Svoboda. “This robust foundation combined with our extensive on-site resources, knowledge hub, showroom equipment and high all-electric IntElect market share (currently 80%) further demonstrates Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s responsiveness to the processing challenges of the moment, particularly escalating energy costs and the sustainability agenda,” ends Svoboda.