CHICAGO — Netstal-Machinery Inc. is delivering equipment within four months after finding ways to pre-assemble some elements.
``We were at three months [delivery time] in early 1997'' and had lead times ``up to 12 months'' last year, said Werner Christinger, president of the Devens, Mass.-based unit of Netstal-Maschinen AG in of NÃ¤fels, Switzerland.
``Everyone wants short [time for] deliveries,'' he said, noting Netstal has a ``better handle'' on European requirements but faces a tendency among U.S. customers to ``hold off until the last minute.''
As a result, Netstal ``must organize manufacturing to cope with that situation,'' Christinger said. The challenges of dealing with ``special applications'' and coping with ``bottleneck'' remain, he said. Netstal machines are made in NÃ¤fels.
Netstal's main lines are SynErgy standard presses, Discjet systems to mold optical data carriers and PET preform production systems.
``We push PET [equipment] as a strong secondary business line.''
Netstal touts the PET preform molding systems for their speed and efficiency. With a cycle of 14-15 seconds, the PET machine competes with those made by industry leader Husky Injection Molding Systems.
At NPE, Netstal produced two-component moldings for the auto industry on a SynErgy 2C machine.
``The 2C processes remove several downstream assembly steps and costs,'' making it most suitable for mass-produced items requiring assembly, said Dan Morris, Netstal director of sales and market development.
The 2C can use over-molding, co-injection and bi-injection processes with simultaneous, time-delayed or sequential injection and costs about 11/2 times more than a single-stage machine, he said. Netstal also showed its 330-ton SynErgy 3000 system for simultaneous production of eight petri dish bases and lids in 5-second cycles.
SchÃ¶ttli Formenbau AG of Diessenhofen, Switzerland, built the tool, and Hekuma Herbst Maschinenbau GmbH of Eching, Germany, made the take-out device, assembly and stacking system.
Netstal Group reported profit of $15.6 million on 1996 sales of $154.3 million, including worldwide machinery sales of $121.1 million.
Combined 1996 sales for Netstal's two U.S. units, Netstal-Machinery Inc. and First Light Technology Inc. of Saco, Maine, were $35 million.