NATIONAL CITY, CALIF. — Advance Plastics plans a quick transition this fall to injection presses made by Nan Rong Mechanical Co. Ltd — in the equipment maker's first significant sale in the United States.
Advance Plastics owner Bruce Browne plans to install 15 Taiwan-made hydraulic units with clamping forces of 120-610, or perhaps 715, tons. The company also will sell 21 existing presses at a Sept. 21 auction.
``Most of our work is getting up to 400-ton and 500-ton'' requirements, Browne said during an interview at company headquarters in National City. ``Our smaller machines sit around and do nothing.''
Browne said his key motivation is return on investment. He also expects that Sempra Energy, parent of local utility San Diego Gas & Electric Co., may finance the whole package.
The deal with Nan Rong of Taipei, Taiwan, includes seven sizes of presses, spare parts and training and service arrangements.
``The price is right, [and] they want a U.S. presence,'' he said. He would not disclose the cost.
Privately owned Nan Rong opened in 1981. The company manufactures 50-70 presses per month of 110-3,300 tons in T'ai-nan, Taiwan, and had 1998 sales of US$65 million.
Nan Rong marketed in the United States as Continental in the mid-1980s, Advanced Injection Machinery at NPE '91 and Alliance in the early 1990s. Nan Rong plans to exhibit under its own name at NPE 2000.
A standard, 150-ton Nan Rong on a Long Beach, Calif., shipping dock lists for $48,200, about 50 percent of the price for an equivalent major brand, said Neal Smith, a manufacturers' representative in Ontario, Calif.
In addition to Nan Rong, Smith and Art Como, president of AC Plastics Machinery in Paramount, Calif., represent a maker of injection and stretch blow molding machines and two manufacturers of auxiliary systems.
``In my 24 years in the used machinery business, I have never heard of anyone changing every machine in a factory,'' Como said.
Actually, Advance Plastics plans to retain three machines: a 143-ton Nan Rong floor model from the 1998 Western Plastics Expo, a 605-ton Nan Rong acquired in December and a 50-ton vertical press for a custom requirement.
Advance Plastics, officially B&P Plastics Inc., has a history going back to 1978. Most of its work is custom, but proprietary jobs accounted for more than 5 percent of Advance's 1998 sales of $5 million.
Advance Plastics employs 80 at a 35,000-square-foot plant on 21/2 acres.
Joint venture Advance Plastics International opened in March 1998 in Shenzhen, China. It employs 60 and has made 90 molds using computer numerically controlled equipment.
The venture has 14 injection molding machines of 55-550 tons, mostly Chen Hsongs, and had sales of $1.5 million in its first 12 months.
Browne's partner in the China operation is Frank Barone, who previously oversaw a now-closed molding and mold-making maquiladora, B&B Plastics SA de CV in Tijuana, Mexico.
B&B was co-owned with a Mexican businessman and, at one time, had more than 30 injection molding presses.
``I have never done anything but lose money in Mexico,'' Browne said.
The mold-making facility shut down in early 1998.
Browne and industrial auction firm Tauber-Arons Inc. signed an agreement June 21 for the sale of the National City presses and other equipment. The departing machines have eight different nameplates and a range of 55-500 tons. Most are mid-1990s models, Browne said.