The strong yen/weak dollar relationship that forced Japanese plastics machinery makers to raise prices the past several years is changing, said officials of Toshiba Machine Co. America. As a result, Toshiba is lowering its prices. Toshiba officials visited Plastics Fair Dallas.
The yen's all-time low against the dollar was 79 yen to $1, said Tim Glassburn, vice president of Toshiba's Plastic Machinery Division. But recently the yen has stayed above 100, hitting 107 yen to $1, he said.
The price cuts cover the entire line of Toshiba injection molding machines. Glassburn declined to say specifically what percent price decline has been set.
But the yen/dollar relationship clearly has eased.
``It's put us back at a cost of purchasing machines [from Japan] like we had a year ago. Therefore, we've been able to roll back our prices to late '94,'' Glassburn said.
Tomen offers new warranty on presses
Tomen America Inc., which sells Kawaguchi injection molding machines in the United States, has announced a new warranty on its presses.
The warranty, available on newly purchased KM-B2 Kawaguchi machines, covers the machine frame and hydraulic and electrical systems, for four years on parts and two years on labor, said Paul Lavoie, assistant national sales manager at Tomen America. Excluded are ``wear components'' such as screws and barrels.
Lavoie said the warranty is more generous that the old one for Kawaguchi. It also is written in simpler language.
Kawaguchi machines are made in Shizuoka, Japan, by Kawaguchi Ltd. Tomen America is based in Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Prototyping, toolmaking hot in Texas
The Texas market is ripe for rapid prototyping and toolmaking, according to the president of Global Tool & Engineering Inc., which opened a facility in Carrollton, Texas, last fall.
``It's tremendous, because everybody's rushing to get products to market,'' said President Bradley Berkley.
Global Tool & Engineering mirrors its founders and employees: young and aggressive. Berkley, 26, and Scott Wahl, 29, founded the company in October 1994. Global Tool has grown from two employees to 22 today. The average age is 27, Berkley said.
The company specializes in quick product design, rapid prototyping, tooling and low-volume injection molding. Just a month ago, the firm bought a St. Paul, Minn., mold maker, RKO Tool Corp. That facility can build a mold in two or three weeks.
The Carrolton plant, in a leased building, does rapid prototyping on two SLS Selective Laser Sintering machines, supplied by DTM Corp. of Austin, Texas. Laser sintering uses a laser to build three-dimensional prototypes from powdered materials.
Also in Carrollton, Global Tool & Engineering runs two Toyo injection presses with clamping forces of 110 and 300 tons.
Seaway Mold expanding Florida pland
Seaway Mold & Engineering Inc. is adding 11,000 square feet of space to its Port Richey, Fla., plant to improve work flow and free space for possibly expansion.
Seaway has 12 presses, all Van Dorn Demags, with 55-450 tons of clamping force. The private firm specializes in quick-turnaround projects using aluminum molds, and small-volume production, said Henry Smith, engineering manager. Seaway has 18 mold makers and employs 100.