COLUMBUS, OHIO — PH Group Inc., maker of Trueblood injection presses, is developing an all-electric vertical machine for medical and electrical insert molding, the company said in its third-quarter earnings report.
PH Group expects to spend more than $100,000 during the next 18 months to develop the all-electric machine, according to a letter to shareholders from Charles T. Sherman, chairman, president and chief executive officer.
PH Group would be the first vertical-press manufacturer to introduce an all-electric machine, Sherman said.
Using electricity instead of hydraulics can provide contamination-free molding.
Sherman said PH Group has reached a preliminary agreement with a major medical molder to help develop the electric press. The molder, which is not identified, has agreed to buy two machines in the fourth quarter of 1999, Sherman said.
The Columbus-based machinery maker was projecting 1998 sales of $14 million.
Through the first nine months of 1998, sales were $10.5 million, an 11.4 percent increase over the year-earlier figure of $9.4 million. Despite the bright sales picture, PH Group experienced a difficult third quarter, losing $287,737.
Sherman also said the company expects a loss for the year.
Sherman said the problem was caused by low gross margins on its metal-stamping machines.
Also, some orders for the firm's St. Lawrence compression molding line were ``quoted with understated material and labor costs.''
To increase the accuracy of quotes, the company has created a special press group to handle quoting, material purchasing and supervise assembly of St. Lawrence machines.
Sherman also said PH Group is strengthening its management team and processes, to change from an entrepreneurial company to a professionally managed company.