MIAMI — Lung-Meng Machinery (USA) Inc. did not display its new, inexpensive PET preform injection press at Plasticos de las Americas. But visitors to the Miami trade fair, held April 15-17, showed more interest in the press than other equipment that the Miami-based machinery sales representative had on display.
Almost all inquires the second day of the show were about the PET press, said Frank C.S. Cheng, marketing manager for the new product.
FCS Fu Chun Shin Machinery Manufacture Co. Ltd., based in Bay-Tow Village, Taiwan, took two years to design the PET Preform Injection Molder. The Taiwanese government supported the project with a grant, but the amount spent on the project was not available.
Although Cheng and Lung-Meng General Manager Allen Tsai were reluctant to talk about price, they admitted that was a big incentive. They said the press was as much as 50 percent cheaper than preform presses from the United States, Europe or Japan.
Another advantage of the Taiwanese equipment is that processors can buy only the injection press portion, or they can add a stretch blow molding line. The equipment is available in four- to 16-cavity versions.
Cheng is temporarily with Lung-Meng as part of a joint venture with FCS. In Taiwan, the new PET technology was launched in March, Cheng added.
``We are No. 1 in plastic injection molding machines in Taiwan,'' he said, but local molders have had to import almost 90 percent of PET resin because of the high costs.
Tsai was ``very happy'' that business was brisk for all of Lung-Meng's products at the show.
``Over 20 groups of customers from Pl sticos went to our Miami showroom on the last day of the show, and I had to send two sales representatives back from the exposition to our showroom,'' he said.
Lung-Meng has a 25,000-square-foot showroom near the Miami airport, with more than 30 machines on display and another 10-15 in stock. At Plasticos, the firm displayed an injection press, a blow molding machine and an extruder.
``We had four concrete sales during the show, and another two customers still [are] negotiating,'' Tsai said on the last day. ``There weren't that many people, but we had a pretty good hit among those attending.''
Sales from 1996-97 were stable, but the firm had expected an 8-10 percent increase. Officials did not provide sales figures.
``It could be said that was due to the Asian crisis, but we don't use excuses. We could have done better,'' Tsai added.
Currently, 30 percent of Lung-Meng sales go to the United States, with the remainder to Latin America. The goal is to increase U.S. sales. The firm also has an office in Toronto. The Miami offices have Spanish-speaking technicians and sales representatives.