Japan Steel Works Ltd. has opened a facility in Indiana, launching direct U.S. sales and service of its twin-screw compounding extruders.
The move comes three years after JSW's licensing deal expired with Davis-Standard Corp.
JSW has built twin-screw compounding lines since 1979. The company has more than 1,100 machines installed throughout the world, said Michael Millsaps, sales and marketing manager of the new JSW technical center in Edinburgh, Ind.
Under the prior agreement, which ended in 2000, Davis-Standard was building the JSW compounding extruders. Now all the machines come from JSW's factory in Hiroshima, Japan.
The 10,000-square-foot JSW technical center opened in April. Millsaps called the facility ``our spearhead into the U.S. market.'' Since the Davis-Standard licensing deal expired, he said, JSW has kept in touch with customers and planned its return.
``We are now behind this 100 percent,'' Millsaps said. ``We have total control of this product from the United States.''
For now, the Indiana center has just two employees: Millsaps and Jun Kakizaki, the top process engineer from JSW's headquarters in Hiroshima. Kakizaki will supervise customer trials and consult on processing questions.
For the effort to sell compounding extruders to U.S. and Canadian customers, JSW is partnering with Marubeni Corp., a large, Tokyo-based trading company. JSW and Marubeni have partnered in other parts of other world, Millsaps said. Marubeni also brings years of experience selling products in the United States, he said.
The U.S. market for plastics machinery is in a slump right now, but Millsaps said that actually could help his company because customers have time to evaluate their machinery closely.
``This is a good time for JSW to enter the market, even though we understand that extruder manufacturers are treading water now. It's a slow time. But we feel it's a great time for JSW,'' he said.
In addition to twin-screw extruders, JSW manufactures its own feeders, pelletizers, control equipment and flow-analysis software. The company builds both strand and underwater pelletizers. JSW makes everything in house, from the steel to machined castings and assembly. The Japanese company also makes its own screws and barrels.
At NPE, JSW will show the same extruder housed in Indiana - an iTEX model 44 alpha II with a screw diameter of 47 millimeters. The full range of JSW's TEX series runs from 30-400mm. The length-to-diameter ratio tops out at 120-1. Millsaps said JSW's compounding equipment branch was not able to get its own NPE booth, so the extrusion people will share the booth of the injection-press side, JSW Plastics Machinery Inc.
JSW compounding extruders also runs a sales and service center in Houston and a New York sales office.