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AKRON, OHIO — Since signing an agreement at K'95 to build Toshiba Machine Co. Ltd. compounding extruders, Pennsylvania-based Welding Engineers Inc. has sold seven of the twin-screw machines, according to a company official.

James Schak, director of marketing and sales at Welding Engineers, said four of the machines are production-size and three are laboratory-size.

The production machines include three with 75-millimeter-diameter screws and one 104mm extruder. He declined to identify customers who have purchased the extruders.

Schak, in an interview in Akron, also disclosed a new clamshell-design Toshiba extruder that will be shown at NPE 1997 in June.

Schak said both companies are happy with the results from the year-old agreement. Welding Engineers builds the machines, including screws, at its Blue Bell, Pa., headquarters plant.

Toshiba Machine, while well-known in North America for its injection molding machines, is a new name there for extruders. Toshiba makes its extruders in Numazu City, Japan. The machines are co-rotating, twin-screw extruders.

Every detail was negotiated and spelled out before the deal was signed.The companies continue to use the Internet to transfer documents back and forth.

Welding Engineers also makes some components for its Japanese partner.

``Depending on the exchange rate, we sell screw elements and shafts back to Toshiba,'' Schak said.

At NPE, Schak said the companies will show a new Toshiba extruder with a clamshell-design barrel section.

``It opens up so you can get full access'' for cleaning and maintenance, he said. ``If you're dealing with colors, this is a tremendous problem for cleanout.''

The clamshell will be an option on machines with screw diameters of 48, 58 and 75mm.