Any trade show exists for one primary reason: to link buyers and sellers. But as injection press patent disputes at K'95 proved, sellers also like to check out other sellers, too. The disputes center on injection molding machines with no tie bars. Once, that area was the sole domain of Austrian press builder Engel Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH, which introduced the technology at K'89. Engel said it has sold thousands of tie-barless machines. Engel now has plenty of company. At least five companies showed tie-barless machines at K'95 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Every three years, the K show acts as a magnet for thousands of top technical people from around the world. They crowd around new machines, soaking up information, asking questions.
So, all officials of Billion SA had to do was walk down to Arburg GmbH + Co.'s booth to see a prototype Arburg machine. Billion then made rumblings that the Arburg press may violate a patent to which Billion has acquired rights.
Engel, which has the most to lose, dispatched engineers to study competing machines. An Engel executive vowed the firm would protect its patents. Engel won an early victory over Hemscheidt Maschinentechnik Schwerin GmbH & Co., when Hem-scheidt, under legal pressure from Engel, redesigned its tie-barless machine. Engel and Hemscheidt's court battle continues, however. K show visitors saw Hemscheidt's new machine.
Although such conflicts over technological innovation are never pleasant, they are the inevitable result of a global-free market. Hemscheidt is an excellent example. Before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the company in Schwerin, Germany, made machines for Soviet-bloc countries. The government controlled production. Now, just six years later, upstart Hemscheidt is battling one of the world's largest plastics machinery makers over technology!
It was all on display at K'95. Bring together top engineers from suppliers and processors and things happen. It's part of the magic of the exhibition.
Few acts of philanthrophy may mean as much to medical research in this country as the $100 million industrialist Jon M. Huntsman of the Huntsman Group recently gave to the University of Utah to fight cancer.
In presenting the largest financial gift ever given for medical research, the 57-year-old Huntsman, a cancer survivor whose parents died from the disease, reiterated his family's commitment to ``help find a cure for cancer.''
It is passion well spent. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. death rate from cancer per 100,000 people has nearly tripled (from 67.7 to 203.1) since the turn of the century.
There are more than 100 types of cancer, which the Department of Health and Human Services rates as second only to cardiovascular diseases as a cause of death in this country. Huntsman's gift and the Huntsman Cancer Institute it helps fund at the university in Salt Lake City provides hope that a cure will be discovered for this terrible group of diseases.