Since 2002, with China’s reform and opening-up policy, its economy rapidly grew and there was a strong demand for rubber and plastic machinery and equipment from different industries. The Chinese manufacturing industry’s knowledge and technical skills in the rubber and plastic machinery industry was well behind other foreign countries’, causing local domestic manufacturing companies to be dependent on imported machines. European and American equipments were more advanced, but they were expensive. Shipments were also slow and after-sales services were mostly unresponsive. If the machines or components were damaged when received and required re-ordering, the lead-time usually took at least one or two months for another shipment. This greatly hindered China’s rapidly growing manufacturing industry.
Some European manufacturers realized the opportunity for business development in China, and decided to invest and set up factories in China. Only a few of them were successful in setting up their manufacturing facilities and developing their own brands in China, most of them were unable to take any market shares in the Chinese market due to a lack of understanding of Chinese law, culture, the market, etc.
2. Awakening of the industry
There are always pioneers in the market.Some of these ‘pioneers’ of the local rubber and plastics machinery industries invested a vast sum to buy blueprints from European companies hoping to gain some breakthroughs.Some of them chose to produce the machinery strictly according to the blueprint, but the products were way below the acceptable standards when comparing to the imported ones.While other pioneers chose to use the blueprints as a reference which ended up making products which were just similar to those they produced locally.A number of pioneers even tried the reverse-engineering upon purchasing of those overseas machinery, tools and products, aiming to integrate others’ advance technologies into their production but in vain. The essence of materials, engineering and techniques were not captured.3. Journey to Germany technology
Amid the industry’s development, we questioned if a machine with high performance and reasonable production cost was really impossible, and whether high-end rubber machines can only be used in niche markets.
For several years, the core management team of Cosmos Machinery Enterprises Ltd. (Cosmos) had been searching for solutions.
Cosmos is a Hong Kong listed company with more than 40 years of experience in machine manufacturing, industrial product trading, and manufacturing of plastic products. Cosmos has been one of the market leaders in machine manufacturing in China Mainland, with an ample source of quality customers and suppliers. Our strong sense of brand awareness and quality control have demonstrated asuccessful model more capable than our mainland counterparts. In addition, Cosmos has an advanced and extensive capacity forproducing and processing rubber machinery as well as the rich experiences in collaborating with some international partners. More importantly, the core team in Cosmos could communicate well and exchange ideas with Europe counterparts, which would help us understand and develop necessary knowledge and skills in advancing our technology.
With Cosmos recognizing the importance of manufacturing its rubber machineries on its own, it then built a machining center in the 1990s, which has possessed a strong processing and production capacity.
In order to enhance the competitiveness of China’s rubber and plastics machinery and equipment industry, and reduce the dependency on imported equipments, it was important to develop the ability to build our own high-end equipments, that is why Cosmos’ executives have conceived a uniquesolution.
DEKUMA GmbH Deutsche Kunststoff Maschinen
At the beginning of 2002, Cosmos leaders formed a small team of experts in Germany with knowledge of Chinese cultures and the machine industry.With mutual understanding among the team members, they dedicated themselves to establish along-term collaborating relationship aiming to develop state-of-the-arttechnologies in the machine manufacturing industries in the Chinese market. Hence, this team in Europe founded “Dekuma GMBH” (“Dekuma” is short for German plastic machinery), a small tech company.They rapidly started designing and producing their first Dekuma rubber equipment. It is worthwhile to mention that Cosmos leaders did not relocate the team back to China as they recognized the importance of having an independent R&D team in Germany, where it could enjoy a strong and positive atmosphere in technological research, and thus allowing its designs to carry German’s attributes.4. The foundation of extraordinary quality“Dekuma GMBH” had the European team working in different components in R&D. Such as creating the design, digital application, equipment optimization, etc. Their design was then manufactured in China Mainland, with the European team completing the testing for the equipments to ensure strict quality control. Dekuma’s first generation of rubber machines were repeatedly designed, tested and amended. After 2 years or so, they were able to find a perfect balance between ‘Made in China’ and ‘Designed in Germany’, and the German-designed products at Cosmos at that time was produced and its quality and performance was also recognized by German experts.After the success of having the first-generation equipment, the entire Dekuma GMBH team officially brought their research results to China in 2004, and jointly established “Dekuma Rubber & Plastic Technology (Dongguan) Co.,Ltd.” with Cosmos in a way that Dekuma GMBH was investing their technological expertise to this Joint Venture.Since the integration of the German team into the company, workers in Cosmos frequently heard the word ‘rubbish’ from their German counterparts (the quality standards between countries were different backthen). Germans are extremely strict with manufacturing qualities, down to the smallest step of using the specific tool for a specific part. For example, during installation, each screw should be screwed in with it’s specific screwdriver, each bolt must be marked and tightened a second time, slits must be measured with a specific measuring tool, all equipments’ corefunctions must undergo a 24 hour no-fail checkup (all must be redone if thetest fails at the last second).It is precisely because of the strict requirements of the German team that Dekuma can gradually grow through their constant guidance. Subsequently we understood the importance of precision in each of the workflow in their production plants, many starproducts such as the first pipe extrusion production line, China’s largest 2800-ton horizontal rubber injection machine, and a full-section rubber track forming machine were continuously produced in Dekuma and could be exported internationally with positive response. Since then, the soul of German engineering has been integrated into Dekuma’s DNA.5. Towards the niche market
With the continuous competitive environment across all industries, the competitive edge of Dekuma’s standard was being challenged, and more importantly, both domestic and foreign customers urgently needed customized equipment to enhance their competitiveness.
In order to satisfy the upgrading needs of customers, Dekuma turned its attention to the niche market segments in 2012 and began actively paying attention to theirneeds by continuing the technological innovation and continuous research and development.
Although there was still a gap between Dekuma’s equipment and imported equipment, the gap was narrowing rapidly. Comparing with foreign branded equipment, some of Dekuma’s most significant competitive edges are rapid response, effective technical exchanges in early stages, timely equipment delivery, equipment installation and optimization, and quick solutions to problems encountered by customers… These characteristics could be the real solution for problems of efficiency encountered during the rapid development of all Chinese manufacturers.
Among different niche market application, Dekuma has been highly recognized by our users such as from automobile nylon tubing, rubber track, the microduct cables, hydraulic press for brake pad sectors thanks to our strong R&D, perseverance and our willingness to customize products for our clients.
6. China’s smart manufacturing journey
Germany’s “Industry 4.0” strategy is the fourth industrial revolution led by smart manufacturing, using the “Internet+” approach to push traditional manufacturing towards smart manufacturing, especially in the fields of equipment manufacturing, drive and electrical engineering.For example, structural designs, material used, craftsmanship and precision are some of the factors that made superb mechanical parts of the plastic equipments, the truly determining component has to be the drive and motion control system, it decides the equipment operation, coordination of the machine processing, compatibility and specifications.Relying on Cosmos’ technology in digital engineering and automation, Dekuma has become a leading manufacturer in the industry by transforming the term ‘Made in China’ into ‘Smart manufacturing in China’. Dekuma has a strong R&D team in drive and motion control. The quality control algorithm for each equipment produced by the company is continuously optimized by the team according to their deep understanding of users’ procedures, product conditions, etc. This program is also a core technology in Dekuma. Compared with the general control algorithms, self-developed algorithms can greatly improve the overall performance of the equipment.
With the continuous investment in research and development in smart manufacturing and automation, Dekuma’s “Smart manufacturing result” has been highly recognized by customers, industries and even awarded by the nation.Dekuma was subsequently awarded with the “Top 30 Comprehensive Strength Enterprises of China Plastics Machinery Manufacturing Industry”, “Chinese National Science and Technology Progress Award”, “Guangdong Province new Specialized Enterprise”, “First (set) key technical equipment certification”and other honors.Most of Dekuma’s customers are high-end users in the industry, and its products are exported around the globe such as the United States, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and are used in different fields including auto parts, building materials, energy transmission, and electronic communications. This helps the technological innovation and facilitates “smart manufacturing” of various industries.With continuous innovation, state-of-the-art technology and strict quality control, Dekuma is advancing in the high-end plastics and rubber machinery industry as a visionary market leader locally and internationally in the future to come.