Methods Machine Tools Inc. stopped selling Shinwa Seiki injection molding machines in February — abruptly ending a 10-year run that saw the Massachusetts distributor sell about 700 Shinwa presses. The machines are made in Japan by Shinwa Seiki Co. Ltd.
Bryon Deysher, senior vice president of Methods, said the company will continue to support the plastics machines.
"We are no longer going to be importing the Shinwa Seiki machine. We are going to service and support our existing customers. We've liquidated the inventory," he said. "We are continuing the service and parts supply for the foreseeable future."
Methods Machine has pulled out of NPE 2000.
Methods, in Sudbury, Mass., will focus entirely on its main business of selling imported machine tools, which is much larger than its injection press business. "We wanted to reallocate our resources into the more-profitable business operations," Deysher said, referring to the metal-cutting equipment.
Methods Machine sold its final inventory of injection presses to Plastic Asset Solutions of Guilford, Conn.
President Robert Risbridger said Plastic Asset Solutions sold 37 presses in a three-week period, from Feb. 15 to March 1.
Many of the buyers were companies that already owned Shinwa Seiki machines, he said during an interview March 30 at the Plasti/Conn 2000 show in Hartford, Conn.
Meanwhile, some U.S. Shinwa Seiki customers, and a former head of injection press sales at Methods, are questioning the way Methods Machine handled the decision.
Contacted by Plastics News on March 31, officials at four Shinwa-owning molders said Methods Machine never has directly contacted them about dropping the line of injection presses.
"It was pretty badly handled," said Alton Seavey, president of Plastech Corp. in Branford, Conn. The company owns five Shinwa Seiki presses.
Seavey said he first learned that Methods was exiting the injection press business not from the company, but when Risbridger called to tell him about the liquidation. "To this day, I haven't received anything" from Methods, he said.
People from three other molders, who did not want to be identified, said they first heard the news by word of mouth. They said Methods has never contacted them.
However, an official at another customer said that Methods Machine did keep him informed through the process.
Hunter R. Kissam Jr., who was the director of sales and marketing for Methods Plastics Machinery Division, was critical of the company.
"I just do not like the way it was handled by Methods," Kissam said. "To date, not one Shinwa Seiki customer has received a letter saying they're getting out of the business."
Asked about that, Deysher said the company did formally notify its sales representatives, and had Plastic Asset Solutions notify customers that it was selling the remaining new Shinwa presses.
Kissam said he turned in his resignation on Jan. 24, and left the company in mid-February. "I saw the writing on the wall, and I got out," he said.
Kissam, of Grafton, Mass., said he now is the Northeast regional manager for MHI Injection Molding Machinery Inc., which sells Mitsubishi injection presses.
Officials of Shinwa Seiki in Japan could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, for at least one customer, the news is a moot point. Seavey said he recently sold the assets of Plastech to Putnam Precision Molding Inc. in Putnam, Conn.
Since Putnam did not want to buy the machinery, Seavey said he is selling all 10 presses, including five Shinwas, on his own.