Thai floods inflict damage on local plastics processors
Flooding in Thailand appears to have done major damage to some of the country’s plastics processors, according to reports emerging from machinery suppliers with sizable business there. Tokyo-based Toshiba Machine, for example, estimated that potentially 500 of the 700 of its injection moulding machines in factories in Thailand are damaged from the flooding, which has made its way to the capital Bangkok in recent days. And Sumitomo Heavy Industries said 40-50% of its machines in the country could be damaged from flood waters, with potentially 300 machines having severe damage, said Yuji Takaishi, executive vice president and general manager of the plastics machinery division of Chiba, Japan-based SHI. Thailand is a major production centre for Japanese firms, including for vehicles, cameras, digital electronics and computer hard disk drives. Several big Japanese car makers closed their factories there last week because of the flooding, which has killed more than 300 people since July. Toshiba said it is receiving orders from customers for replacement moulding machines, and needs to get into those factories to assess the damage but may not be able to until later in November or early December, said Koji Egashira, a group manager of the injection moulding machine sales department.