NAFELS, SWITZERLAND - Swiss injection molding machine maker Netstal-Maschinen Ltd. of Nafels is adding two machine systems to its product line and trying to take advantage of changes in the market at the same time. In April, the firm introduced its Discjet 600, a specialized machine designed to make compact discs for the CD-ROM and audio markets.
The machine, now available in North America, partially replaces Netstal's Series 60 injection molder. It has a much smaller footprint than the previous machine, and is specialized for CD production only.
``We are ready to meet the future with this,'' said Hans Lenzinger, sales manager for Netstal, who was interviewed in his Nafels office. ``The growth in demand for CDs of all types has been phenomenal and will continue, we feel.''
The Discjet 600 is Netstal's first specialized, one-task molding machine, and features 60 tons of clamping force with an analog laser control, and a state-of-the-art in-machine robot arm that decreases cycle times to less than 4 seconds.
``Not only is the CD market growing, but we see the market for video discs, recordable discs, and two-sided discs as expanding quickly,'' Lensinger said. ``In two to three years we expect the video disc market to be as big as the audio CD market.''
Lenzinger said that the production schedule for Discjets was filled through mid-1996, with the first North American delivery scheduled for June this year.
According to Lenzinger and Thomas Landolt, director of marketing planning and communications for Netstal, the company expects the markets for specialized, one-purpose machines like the Discjet to become more popular in injection molding.
```In the last 20 years, I think the industry has advanced to the point where operating times have been optimized,'' Lenzinger said. ``Everyone has good computerized control, and I think we are at the level where we can't go any faster.''
After a difficult year in 1994, Landolt said the company had seen a boost in sales in the last quarter, continuing into this year. Some increased sales have been made to Latin American customers in selected markets. Not only has the Discjet production been sold out, but the company anticipates introducing a new general-purpose machine line in July.
Neither official would comment on the new ``Synergies,'' line, except to say it will continue the company's tradition of precision machines.