Wittmann Battenfeld, who set up an additional booth in the Industrial Automation Zone apart from its original stand at CHINAPLAS 2015, has been producing robots in China 10 years ago.
“Back then people questioned why we were doing it because it was a very advanced concept and the labor was so cheap,” Jonathan Ching, Managing Director of Wittmann Battenfeld (Shanghai) Co. Ltd, recalled. “It is a completely different scenario nowadays.”
One major advantage of robot is its consistence, a major element in maintaining product quality in the plastics processing industry.
“Accuracy is very important for injection molding. Manual operation can never achieve the same high standard as robots,” he explained. “Moreover, workers can get bored, or distracted, while robots work if there is electricity.”
Mr Ching noted that the demand for automation technology has grown significantly in especially the last two years. “The whole manufacturing sector is calling for automation, with automotive and electronics industries in particular interested in it.”
In the Industrial Automation Zone, Wittmann demonstrated an automation cell with robots playing basketball. The team of three consists of a W832, a W833 and a W853 with various additional axes and upgrades.
“With such complex movements it gives the audience a glimpse of the possibility robots can offer,” Mr Ching said. “Shooting the ball for eight straight hours without missing showed the consistency and accuracy of our products.”
The wave of automation bear fruit for Wittmann, as its Chinese business has been growing by 30% for consecutive years since 2012. As a result, the company is looking to optimize its Kunshan factory’s production line to increase capacity.
“We are working with a German company to streamline the whole production process. Our aim is to double the capacity without extra workers and floor space,” he revealed.