Plastics News - Show Daily - October 19, 2022 - 6

6 * Plastics News, October 19, 2022
SHOW DAILY
CEO: Sales hit high; goodbye to tie
By Catherine Kavanaugh
Plastics News Staff
Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is presenting
its all-electric machine series
and an expansive automation
platform at K 2022 in the same
size booth at the same location as
past for the triennially held trade
show. However, visitors may notice
a subtle difference.
Some company offi cials are
saying bye to ties. CEO Gerd Liebig
didn't even pack one for the
eight-day trade fair.
Once a staple of professional
business attire, the piece of cloth
worn for decorative purposes
started out as knotted neckerchiefs
for Croatian mercenaries
serving in France during the 30
Years' War from 1618-48. The article
of clothing then
became a fashion
craze, fi rst in France,
then everywhere.
Three centuries later,
some consider it more
of a crazy fashion.
The neckwear
started going to the
wayside at Fakuma
2021, when plastics industry
colleagues convened for
the fi rst big international trade
event following the onset of the
COVID-19 pandemic in March
2020. After the spate of working
from home and Zoom meetings in
button-down shirts for the camera
and shorts or sweatpants for
comfort, the tie fell out of favor.
Liebig said there are many reasons
to bid a not-so-fond farewell
to the tie.
" Gone is the agony of tying you
properly; gone the tomato stains
with a tendency to form an inseparable
bond with the fabric; gone the
coordinated suit, tie, shirt selection
process that was usually reliant on
female support, " Liebig said.
" The tie's killer was [COVID], "
he added. " We breathe a sigh of
relief - without tie - and enjoy
the casual day, all week long. Solong
tie! "
In an email interview ahead
of the event, Gerd also gave an
overview about the company's
presence at K 2022.
Q: Fakuma 2021 was a success
in terms of everyone adapting to
COVID protocols and it marked
a return to major in-person plastics
trade shows. What are your
hopes for K 2022? What will
make it a successful event for
Sumitomo?
SUMITOMO
(SHI) DEMAG
Hall 15,
Booth D22
Liebig: The main
rationale behind the
lower order income
over the last weeks
can probably be attributed
to the fact
that K 2022 is fast
approaching. High
energy prices, the
challenging cashfl ow situation
and the war in the Ukraine all
contribute to an uncertain economic
situation.
That said, my main hope for
K 2022 and beyond is that by
focusing on the strong innovations
that support effi ciency and
reduce energy
consumption,
investments with molders will
continue to push ahead. Sumitomo
(SHI) Demag has focused
on all-electric machines now for
many years. Currently, 90 percent
of the machines produced
are all-electric, and production of
the all-electric series has moved
entirely to Wiehe [Germany].
With 80,000 all-electric machines
in the market, the trends confi rm
our long-term outlook and strategy.
So, I am very confi dent that K
2022 will be a success for us.
Q: How did the company do
in 2021? Were sales in line with
2018, which was a record year
of €800 million?
Liebig: In 2021, we achieved
€808 million, the all-time highest
turnover in our company's history.
This was slightly improved
upon 2018, with a lower market
volume. Meaning in 2021, our
overall market share increased.
Q: What has 2022 been like?
Where are you seeing growth?
Liebig: The market decreased
signifi cantly mainly due to high
energy prices, high material
costs and customers' subsequent
cash fl ow issues. I anticipate an
increase for the automotive industry
in the coming months. Although
not returning to levels of
investment in 2018, this growth
Demand is still historically high,
although in the last two years it has
slightly decreased. Fifteen years ago, the
medical machine market share in Europe
was 5 percent. It is currently 15 percent
and in the future is expected to fall
slightly to around 12 percent. "
Gerd Liebig
Sumitomo (SHI) Demag
could still be signifi cant.
However, the main growth is
likely to come from higher demand
overall for all-electric
machines. In electronics and
medical, the ratio for all-electric
investments is already very high.
Automotive, packaging and consumer
are all sectors where future
rises in demand for all-electric are
anticipated. The introduction of
high-performance machines like
PAC-E combined with a strong
trend in the consumer industry
of switching from hydraulic to
all-electric machines due to high
energy prices will further advance
our market leadership in
all-electric machinery.
Q: Has the move toward tethered
caps been creating new
demand from the packaging industry?
Liebig:
Most defi nitively. This
trend has been anticipated for
some time, and we address it this
year launching our new PAC-E
machine. Developed specifi cally
for the packaging, caps and closures
sector, it combines high
performance with very low energy
consumption.
Q: How are sales into the medical
market? Still strong from
manufacturers of pipette tips
for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations?
Or tapering off?
Liebig: Demand is still historically
high, although in the
last two years it has slightly decreased.
Fifteen years ago, the
medical machine market share
in Europe was 5 percent. It is
currently 15 percent and in the
future is expected to fall slightly
to around 12 percent.
Q: Are economic factors like
increasing interest rates and
higher energy costs hurting
sales? Are customers delaying
purchases because it costs more
to borrow? Is the repair business
growing? Or are customers
modernizing their fl eet to reduce
energy usage?
Liebig: We see three main effects;
high energy costs generally
leads to lower investments.
However, this also leads to more
new investments in all-electric
machines. Additionally, demand
See Liebig, Page 34
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Plastics News - Show Daily - October 19, 2022

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