New brand, new machine, new strategy for Engel in Asia
Engel’s Asian market share has grown more than five times larger over the last decade, but to keep that pace, and perhaps accelerate it, the company decided a new strategy, and brand, would be needed.
Peter Neumann, CEO of the Schwertberg, Austria based injection molding machine and automation supplier, noted that Engel’s global market share from 2004 to 2013 nearly doubled from 9% to 17%, exploding from 2% to 11% in Asia, but in its largest market, Europe, a saturation point may be nearing, with Engel’s share at 35%.
“In Europe, further growth will be very difficult,” Neumann said, speaking at a pre-Chinaplas press conference held by show organizer, Adsale. “In Asia, there is still huge potential for us, and that's why we've created the following strategy.”
Saying that Engel is known as a high-end high-technology supplier for the injection molding industry, with established brands like the duo, victory, e-motion, and e-mac, the company is launching a commodity brand—Wintec—which will offer the t-win line of 2-platen injection molding machines.
“Wintec will focus on commodity applications, short delivery times, and high performance compared to Korean and Taiwanese competitors,” Neumann said, adding that standardizing options will help Engel keep costs lower. “There is still a huge market for standardized solutions, especially here in Asia; there is huge demand on such machines, therefore we created a new line of machines.”
Wintec will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Engel from a new production site in Changzhou. Annual machine capacity will be for 300 units, with one shift and about 100 employees. The new site will have 17,000-m2 of production space, with the building covering 22,000-m2. The factory sits on a 40,000-m2 plot, which could be extended to 48,000-m2.
The 2-platen machines feature frictionless movement in the clamping zone, with zero contact between the tiebars and platens, which ride on linear guides. In terms of speed, the 1000 m.t. press boasts a dry-cycle time of 4.4 seconds. The drive concept is a standardized servodriven hydraulic, which Engel noted already passed criteria for a China energy-saving certificate.
The t-win will come in six sizes, including 450, 650, 850, 1050, 1350, and 1750 m.t. Across those six clamp force sizes, there will be three injection units—3300, 7000, and 15,000. The machines will be marketed via regional representation, with six agents total, initially. The very first t-win machines are currently running trials at confidential customer locations, with sales formally starting at the show.
Engel expected the machine to have an operational lifespan of 15 to 20 years, with energy efficient operation in that time thanks to the use of servomotors and a variable displacement pump in the hydraulic system.
Peter Auinger, presdient of Wintec and most recently working for Engel in Mexico, said the company will focus on three major application areas: white goods; automotive; large-part technical molding. Christoph Steger, Engel CSO, said the company plans to sell Wintec’s outside of China, saying the machine is designed for the needs of commodity molders, and Engel has already planned to roll out the t-win in surrounding countries of China and, eventually, the whole of Asia.
Engel wouldn’t speak specifically to the price difference between a Wintec machine and its own offerings, noting the amount of customization on its presses makes such comparisons difficult. “In this new segment where we are entering, we have standardized options,” Neumann said. “That way we can offer a very competitive price for a high-end machine. We are entering a segment where we are competing against Asian machines and not against Western machines, and this is the big difference. The price-value relation has to show the customer that it’s worth it for him to invest in a high technology machine but that price is in relation to what he bought from local supplier although with better quality, service, and performance.”