DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Dec. 5, 10:45 a.m.) — A joint venture set up last year between thermoforming machinery suppliers Irwin Research & Development Inc. and OMV Group SpA has delayed construction of a U.S. plant, originally planned to operate this year.
The venture, Irwin OMV Technology Inc., planned to build complete extrusion, thermoforming, mold and product-handling systems at the 30,000-square-foot facility near Irwin's plant in Yakima, Wash. The emphasis would be on larger machinery for the North American market.
But the plan is now on the backburner, partly as a result of a backlog of work for both partners and more recently the effects of the U.S. economic recession, according to Roger Underwood, Irwin's sales and marketing director.
"In practice, [the alliance] has paid a penalty to a fairly busy schedule for both parties. The NPE [show] and the follow-up from that, the lead into this year and a little bit of economic slowdown has caused a number of issues for us in the United States.
"The partnership is there and strong, but we have not been able to go ahead with the building in the United States," Underwood said.
Meanwhile, Irwin is designing and building a downstream trim press for a 60-inch-wide forming machine for high impact polystyrene cups that OMV of Verona, Italy, is developing for a U.S. customer, Underwood said.
"It's just a strong, heavy, fast machine that will fit their [OMV's] former,” he said in an interview at K 2001 in Dusseldorf.
Depending on the length of the U.S. recession, the joint venture may begin to build and assemble the bigger lines in space at Irwin's existing Yakima facility.
"We are going to continue working together and will not lose sight of the long-term goal of manufacturing in Yakima,” he said.
Irwin has an extensive machine shop and could either handle the work itself or put it out to machine shops with spare capacity around Seattle, Spokane and Portland. Local job shops are available because of a business downturn at Chicago-based Boeing Co., which assembles aircraft in Seattle.