IPSWICH, MASS. — Extruder maker Reifenhauser Inc. aims to capture a larger share of the U.S. market, officials said at the May 16-17 grand opening of its new North and South American headquarters and testing facility. "We are very close to the U.S. market. It is important to us and we are going after a growing market share," said Ulrich Reifenhauser, managing director of parent company Reifenhauser GmbH & Co. Maschinenfabrik of Troisdorf, Germany.
"To do so, we will have to make a special effort. We will have to be good, fast and competitive," he added.
The company moved from Lawrence, Mass., in January, spending $3 million to refurbish a 19,100-square-foot Ipswich building that had housed the town's newspaper. What had been the printing-press area now is a laboratory for the company's three-layer blown film line. Over the lab is a 45-foot raised roof.
In the United States, the company is concentrating on equipment for blown film, cast film and thermoforming sheet.
"Our five-year target is to triple what we have today [for sales in the Americas]," said Chris Nicholls, managing director of Reifenhauser Inc.
The company did not release sales in America, but overall sales at the parent firm are booming, according to Reinfenhauser. He said the latest figures indicate record sales for the past 12 months of about 450 million deutsche marks ($225 million), surpassing the record of DM370 million ($185 million) set two years ago.
The grand opening illustrates a change in strategy at the parent company.
"The major change — we sell lines, but we sell products, too," said Reifenhauser.
"We've always been seen as a system supplier. We still sell the systems, but we can do the components to support them. We can do just extruders or just dies or just winders," Nicholls said.
Extruders are built in Troisdorf, but final assembly is done at Ipswich. In Ipswich, for example, controllers, electronics and barrels designed for the Americas are added according to the customer's specifications.
Reifenhauser divided its world sales markets into three regions: Europe and South Africa, North and South America, and Asia.
"This lab duplicates what we have in Germany and in Asia," where the company has a local headquarters in Manila, Philippines, Nicholls said.
Worldwide, the firm has defined its core business as complete lines and components for blown film, cast film, thermoforming sheet, extrusion coating, nonwovens, strapping tapes, monofilaments and machine components such as extruders, dies and winders.
Reifenhauser pointed to the new market-driven approach with an example:
"We had one man develop a special hard coating for the barrel," he said.
The development led to the formation of a new company owned by Reinfenhauser, which now supplies 18,000 barrels in Europe to blow molders and injection molders.
In other news, Peter Deatherage was named Midwest sales manager for blown film and thermoforming sheet lines and components for Reinfenhauser Inc.
Deatherage has 22 years of industrial sales and engineering experience. He will report to John Wise, the unit's sales manager.