Machinery manufacturer American Maplan Corp. for the first time is making and selling sheet extruders in North America.
Now under production at American Maplan's headquarters facility in McPherson, Kan., sheet extruders previously were available from Maplan only through its German sister company, Battenfeld Extrusions Technik GmbH.
Maplan officials will take a wait-and-see approach before deciding how many people to add to handle the new manufacturing and sales, said Chuck Szoke, product manager for sheet systems.
``We've just started this. We're trying to put the pieces into place here,'' he said. ``There are probably four or five major manufacturers. Right now, we're the new kid on the block.''
The McPherson plant employs about 80. American Maplan's manufacturing operations returned to Kansas in 2003 after a brief stint in Gloucester, Mass.
The machine maker will look south for new business opportunities as well, Szoke said.
``We will target North America specifically, but we'll probably go into Mexico and a little bit of South America as well,'' he said.
Sales director Paul Godwin said target end markets for the sheet systems include packaging and industrial applications like truck bedliners.
American Maplan and Battenfeld Extrusions Technik are subsidiaries of Dusseldorf, Germany-based SMS Plastics Technology.