CLEVELAND - Thermwood Corp. is close to completing a distribution deal to sell its machines in Europe. The Dale, Ind., company also is negotiating for distribution in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.
Clifton E. Crawford, marketing manager for the publicly held company, which makes five- and three-axis routers for plastic trimming and woodworking applications, said no distributor has been named yet for Europe, but he expects an announcement soon.
Crawford, who attended the June 13-15 Plastics Fair Cleveland, where the company exhibited its machines, has targeted European plastics markets because of growing demand there for the routers in thermoforming and molding applications.
``Our five-axis machines are mostly used in cutting and trimming plastic items,'' he said. ``They are available in sizes which include a 30-inch by 30-inch table, up to a 10-foot by 15-foot table.''
In all, the company has seven router product lines, and it provides tooling and software for control systems.
He said negotiations for a Latin American distribution deal are not as far advanced as those for Europe.
Thermwood makes the machines in its 75,000-square-foot plant in Dale, and had 1994 total sales of about $12 million. It has a research and development and design facility in Seattle.
The firm has no plans to locate any manufacturing capability outside the United States, Crawford said. However, the company might look at expansion if demand remains strong.
``We have about $1.5 million in machinery back-ordered,'' Crawford said. ``We are telling our customers 10-12 weeks.''
Thermwood's interest in European markets was stimulated by the belief that the company could gain a cost advantage on competitors there, and that margins could be better.
``We can be very cost-competitive,'' he said. ``We are in a position to secure a significant portion of the market.''