AKRON, OHIO — Gammaflux LP, a Sterling, Va., maker of hot-runner temperature control systems, is expanding its reach geographically and with new products.
The company, coming off a record year that saw 1997 sales jump 30 percent to about $11 million, recently signed sales and service agents in Italy, Spain, Hong Kong and Taiwan. And it plans to add, before the K'98 trade show in October, agents in France, England, Denmark, Portugal, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, President David W. Huntting said in a June 17 interview in Akron. The 85-employee firm in January 1997 created the four-person Gammaflux Europe GmbH to serve as its European headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany.
The company also has broadened its product range and plans to introduce its newest, lower-end controllers officially at the K show in Dusseldorf, Germany, where it will exhibit for the first time and unveil a new corporate logo. Gammaflux is striving to establish its own identity in Europe, after supplying private-brand controllers for many years to Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., which it still counts among its customers.
Gammaflux has determined that roughly 80 percent of the demand for hot-runner temperature control units is for less-sophisticated, lower-priced products than it has been offering. Therefore, it is bringing out the GLC 2K model, which will cost roughly 20 percent less than the 900 Series, currently its lowest-priced model, according to Lee P. Jones, sales and marketing director.
The GLC control system supports as many as 12 zones, though it is expandable to 24 or 36 zones.
The firm will make the GLC in Sterling, but Huntting noted, ``If we have any success at all in Europe, very early on we'll be building it over there.''
Adequate plant space adjacent to Gammaflux Europe's offices will become available in the next 12 months, he said.
Though Gammaflux will introduce and start marketing the GLC in Europe, where, Huntting said, there is a ``crying need'' for such a product, it plans to offer it worldwide soon afterward.
Rene A. Bertschi, managing director of Gammaflux Europe, said the company already has developed an even more stripped-down model, dubbed the CC100, that will be sold only in Europe for now. That model will cost at least 50 percent less than the 900 Series, Jones said. It offers dedicated, closed-loop controls, but virtually no data production or analysis capabilities, and will support a maximum of 12 zones with temperature sampling of just four times per second.
Gammaflux's highest-end 9500 Series controllers can support 256 zones, sample temperatures 80 times per second and offer extensive data production capabilities, he said.
Gammaflux remains bullish on Asia, even though Huntting said its business activity now in that recession-racked region is about one-fifth what it was during a very strong 1997.
``Europe is showing growth and robustness,'' he added, while the North American market is ``gathering its breath now, after two years of unbelievable growth.''