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Earthquake should give a boost to injection machine investment in Japan

May 23/2011

(Plastics Today) -- The Great East Japan Earthquake should give a boost to injection machine investment in Japan but this will take time to manifest itself given persisting supply chain disruptions, noted Koichi Kasamatsu, global sales manager at injection molding machine manufacturer Sumitomo Heavy Industries (Tokyo, Japan). "Many plastics processors are ready to invest and restart operations but their customers in the auto industry are not, so they are holding off."

Kasamatsu says the Japanese automotive industry is unlikely to start ramping up production until October, and full production levels are expected to return only in December. However, some observers are also of the view that some export-oriented car production might eventually be permanently relocated overseas to countries such as the U.S. and Thailand, throwing further uncertainty over domestic processors' machine investment.

Kasamatsu also noted that while the Chinese economy remains strong, there has been a dip in imports there of Japanese machinery. "We are seeing increasing numbers of Chinese all-electric machines in the market and eventually we will have to compete with them," he explained during the Chinaplas show (May 17-20 in Guangzhou).

Sumitomo is looking at introducing lower cost all-electrics that do not compromise on performance, according to Kasamatsu. "Value engineering and value analysis will play a key part in this development effort to lower costs."

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