Extrusion Dies Inc.'s new president and chief executive officer, Timothy C. Callahan, is focused on building quick-change dies, improving after-sales service and linking die designers more closely with customers.
The Chippewa Falls, Wis., maker of flat dies — which are used to make film and sheet — also has promoted several other executives to newly created executive management committees, to oversee North American and international operations.
Callahan replaces William W. Brown Jr., who had been EDI's president and chief executive officer since 1998. EDI and Brown both said that he resigned to pursue other business opportunities.
Callahan, 38, joined EDI in 1997 after spending 14 years at Johnson Controls Plastics Machinery Division in Manchester, Mich. He said he is not planning wholesale changes.
"We're building on the strength of what we have here," he said.
One key, he said, is helping customers become more flexible.
"We're directing our product [research and development] to focus on things like quick change, quick color change."
EDI also is sending its die designers out on the road, to talk with customers during early stages of product development.
Callahan said EDI also wants to improve service, especially outside North America. Half of EDI's sales come from outside the United States. The company already runs a European subsidiary, EDI Europe in Wiehl, Germany.
EDI builds more than 500 new dies and coextrusion feedblocks a year, and reconditions about 300 dies annually, Callahan said.
The firm employs about 200 people worldwide.
At NPE 2000, EDI announced it was making die systems much more quickly, thanks to a new five-axis, computer numerically controlled machining center in Chippewa Falls. Callahan said the machine can turn out a die half after just three or four setups. A typical die half takes 17 setups, he said.
EDI claims it controls about half of a $60 million U.S. market for flat dies and feedblocks — a claim disputed by EDI's arch rival, Cloeren Inc. in Orange, Texas. Peter Cloeren, president and chief executive officer, said the market is more like $70 million, and claims his company's sales account for $50 million of that.
EDI also hired Ronald Kuhnen to be chief financial officer and executive vice president of finance and announced the following promotions:
Christopher W. Curtin, from vice president of sales and marketing to executive vice president of sales and marketing.
J. Peter Muller to executive vice president of EDI Europe.
John A. Ulcej to executive vice president of engineering and technology. EDI also consolidated its engineering and technology departments under Ulcej.
Tim Kaiser to engineering manager.
Scott Smith to plant manager of the Wisconsin factory.