Chinese labor costs continue to skyrocket so it came as no surprise to see machinery vendors aggressively promoting automation solutions at the recent Chinaplas.
Demag Ningbo is one injection machine supplier that wants to make sure it is in a position to get a piece of the action. “In the next five years we will see new levels of automation in China, which is why we are setting up an automation department this September in Ningbo, China, in partnership with Sepro (La Roche-sur-Yon) for high-end, turnkey solutions and Max Robot (Yuyao, China) for medium-range solutions,” says company CEO Stephan Grief.
Another Sumitomo-Demag group company concurs with Grief. “Rising labor costs are forcing processors to either adopt automation, shift west, or escape from China and we are mainly seeing the first two,” notes Shoji Yonezawa, general manager of SHI Plastics Machinery (Shanghai) Co. He does concede that there are other challenges faced by local processors. “The main issue faced by [many processors] is that they cannot find good management staff,” he notes....