TPlas: Foreign exhibitors show confidence in Asia

The recently concluded TPlas show, held from 26-29 August in Bangkok, co-located with Pack Print International, welcomed around 500 exhibitors from more than 20 countries, including national pavilions and country groups from Austria, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Though two bombs went off in Bangkok a week before the show, organiser Messe Düsseldorf Asia reported that exhibitors showed up nevertheless. Meanwhile, Atchaka Sribunruang, Thailand’s Minister of Industry who opened the show, said that industry players would be able to tap on the burgeoning market opportunities in Thailand.

The show has been rebranded from Tiprex that was previously held in 2013, boasting about 20% more international exhibitors, according to Gernot Ringling, Managing Director, Messe Düsseldorf Asia.

Arburg sells first Freeformer in Asia to Singapore moulder

German injection moulding machine maker Arburg has been all agog since its Freeformer additive manufacturing machine made its debut at the K show in 2013. Since then the company has shown the machine at Chinaplas in Guangzhou and in Thailand for the first time at the TPlas for the Southeast Asian market. Already a Freeformer has been sold to Singapore-based moulder Tempco Manufacturing that will be using it for prototyping. “Tempco has 99 Arburg machines now and has ordered the 100th machine that will be arriving sometime in October. The first Freeformer for the Asian market was delivered to Tempco in late June,” said David Chan, Managing Director, Arburg Singapore.

Using the Arburg Plastic Freeforming process, the system additively manufactures design and functional samples from standard plastics based on 3D CAD data, without the need for a mould. At TPlas, the Freeformer combined a standard ABS granulate with a special support material. The supporting structures used during the additive manufacturing of the gear cards and spray heads for cosmetics containers can be subsequently removed in a water bath.

The Freeformer shown at TPlas will make its way to Indonesia, for another exhibition at the year end, said David.

Tempco utilises its injection/compression machines to produce parts for the electric/electronics market, including companies like GE, Schneider and Hager. Besides the traditional moulding, it undertakes thermoset compression/injection moulding, insert/SMC moulding and TPE overmoulding.

Wittmann beefs up resources in Thailand

Austrian machinery maker Wittmann Group that had two stands at the show, with a robot showcase and an injection moulding machine moulding medical parts, has been present in Thailand since 2004. Company President Werner Wittmann who was at TPlas says Wittmann Thailand is now moving to a newer level, with the appointment of a country manager, effective 1 September. “We see the potential growth of the Asian market for our business. It is now time for us to expand further,” he said, adding that he attended the show specially to appoint the manager, though he did not name him. “Thailand will now be exclusively managed with a local person and report directly to the headquarters in Austria rather than through our Singapore office.” Wittmann also added that the Singapore office would be focusing on moving ahead in the Indonesian market, which was also growing for Wittmann’s business and products.

Engel to set up a subsidiary in Vietnam

Another Austrian firm Engel, which is the world’s largest injection moulding machine maker based on sales, is taking its expansion in Asia seriously. This is because last year its sales boost of 7% growth came from its expanding Asian markets. “We will set up in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, this year,” said Robert Bodingbauer, President, Engel Machinery Korea. “The company is being set up now and will be functioning by December this year.” The office will be manned by its Singapore branch, until someone is found to manage it.

Bodingbauer also said that production is shifting from China and Thailand to Vietnam, adding that South Korean companies like Samsung were investing in the country. It is also for this reason that Engel is setting up a base in Vietnam. “In Hanoi, the production of mobile phones and tablets have started; and in Ho Chi Minh city there is a new factory being set up for printers so Samsung needs sales and sub-suppliers, and we need to be there to provide sales/service.” He also added that Engel has two service technicians in Hanoi and two in Ho Chi Minh to service the numerous machines supplied to Vietnam. He added, “So there is no problem for turnover, for financing the office, but we also need to provide our customers local service.”

In Thailand, Engel has had its own sales office in Bangkok since 2010 and opened a subsidiary there in 2013.

The privately owned company is the only European injection moulding machine manufacturer with three production plants in Asia: two in China and one in South Korea. “This guarantees short delivery times, flexible adaptation of its products and turnkey solutions to meet local requirements, and fast service on-site,” added Bodingbauer. Engel achieved a global turnover of EUR1 billion in the 2014/2015 financial year.


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