Dip molding equipment maker ACC Automation Co. now has a sales and service arm in the United Kingdom.
Effective Nov. 19, the Akron-based firm has established ACC Moulding Systems Ltd. in Middlesex, England, President Bill Howe said. The branch is a wholly owned subsidiary of ACC Automation.
``We for years have sold some of our equipment into the European market,'' Howe said. ``We found that it's needed to have a firm presence. At the present time, we'll service the European market from the [manufacturing] business here, but as the business grows, our intent is to set up a manufacturing base and possibly engineering in the U.K.''
ACC operates one manufacturing facility in Stow, Ohio, and runs its engineering and administration from the Akron office.
The new branch will target the medical market, the one segment some manufacturers are relying upon for stability in uncertain economic times. The U.S. glove industry has deteriorated during the last few years as production has rapidly moved to Asia, Howe said, so ACC is seeking ways to build upon its core technology.
``This seems like a logical move for us, looking at Europe more seriously. Our strength is there,'' Howe said. ``The European Union rides on the coattails of the U.S. when it comes to the medical marketplace. And we see equal potential for our equipment in Europe as we do in the U.S. Up until now, we haven't been able to truly capitalize on that because of the perceived distance between the two continents. We don't feel we're really tapping the potential by doing it across the Atlantic.''
Howe would not disclose details, but he said European sales currently account for 10 percent of ACC's total.
``The last six months have been sluggish in domestic sales, but it really pays, in our view, to be aggressive in the down times to open up new opportunities and new marketplaces. We're hoping next year it will boost our current sales base by about 20 percent. We feel that's a reasonable target at least for the first year,'' he said.
Peter Blake-Davies, who was named managing director, will staff the U.K. venture. Blake-Davies has about 30 years' experience in the dip molding industry, Howe said.
Blake-Davies served as the sales and marketing director with Plastic Moulding Ltd., based in Ayrshire, Scotland, according to the Applegate Directory Ltd., an engineering and technology directory for the United Kingdom and Ireland.