CHICAGO — A company that procures offshore molds, Sunbo Corp., wants to boost U.S. sales of Chen Hsong injection molding machines made in Taiwan.
Asian Plastic Machinery Co. Ltd., a unit of Chen Hsong Holdings Ltd., manufactures the presses in Taiwan. They are selling in the United States under the Sunbo name.
``This machine is U.S.-quality at Taiwan prices,'' said Sunbo President Troy Lewis.
Bellevue, Wash.-based Sunbo has been selling the machines on the West Coast for two years, but Lewis said the campaign has gone national, starting with NPE.
Lewis said Asian Plastic Machinery has modified its high-end presses, the SM series, for the U.S. market by converting the machines to U.S. safety standards and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. approval. The machines also carry the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Communication Protocol.
Chen Hsong assembles injection molding machines in its Hong Kong headquarters, and at factories in Taiwan and China.
Lewis said Taiwan-made presses from Asian Plastic Machinery meet U.S. quality standards.
``They're the best in Asia, and that means Taiwan, China and Hong Kong,'' he said.
The machines come in clamping forces of 55-3,300 tons. From 55-500 tons, the presses have a toggle clamp. At 600 tons and larger they come with a hydromechanical clamp.
As a founder of Sunbo, a major importer of molds from Taiwan and China, Lewis is used to overcoming skepticism.
``When we started doing molds 12 years ago, people laughed at us because Taiwan has a reputation for low-quality products,'' he said.
Lewis advocates caution when picking a supplier from Taiwan's 300 injection press makers. But he said quality machines are available.
About the Sunbo machines, he said: ``They're a basic machine and they're very reliable. Our target is someone who doesn't want the bells and whistles. We are [priced] 25-35 percent less on just about everything we've seen.''
At NPE in Chicago, Lewis said Sunbo is negotiating on an Ohio location for a sales and service center. The company plans another center somewhere in the northeastern United States.
Chen Hsong claims to sell a huge number of injection molding machines — 9,000 a year — but relatively few of them go to the United States. At its own NPE booth, run by New Pacific Machinery Inc. of Trenton, Tenn., Chen Hsong was targeting Mexico and Brazil. The firm sold 100 machines to South America in 1996 and expects to double that figure this year, according to Chen Chiang, Chen Hsong chairman and managing director.