Sunwell Global Ltd., a U.S.-Asian joint venture manufacturer of thermoforming and extrusion equipment, wants to use NPE to make a serious push into North America.
The company is essentially a marketing and technology alliance between Union Gap, Wash.-based Thermoforming Systems LLC and Hong Kong-based Sunwell Machines Co. Ltd. Sunwell has not sold much of its equipment in North America, but plans to change that, according to James Naughton, TSL president and Sunwell Global's managing director.
At the show, Sunwell Global (Booth E9840) is showing a Taiwanese-made tandem foam extrusion line with a primary barrel diameter of 120 millimeters and a secondary diameter of 150mm, and the firm intends to push its capability to manufacture rigid sheet lines, Naughton said.
The company recently hired its first product manager for Sunwell Global products in the U.S. - known as Sunwell USA - bringing in Hayes Stripling as its vice president and general manager. Stripling formerly worked at Welex Inc. and Milacron Inc.
TSL makes large-bed thermoforming machines in Washington state, and formed the alliance with Sunwell Machines in 2004 as a way to broaden its product line to include extrusion systems and other thermoforming equipment, and to take advantage of cheaper labor at Sunwell's factory in Taipei, Taiwan.
The Taiwanese operation allows the firm to sell equipment that has comparable performance to North American or European systems, at about two-thirds the price, said Nick King, managing director of Sunwell UK.
TSL was able to use its expertise to make improvements in the Sunwell technology in both extrusion and thermoforming, Naughton said. He said that neither company has invested in the other, but the alliance gives them some advantages in the marketplace.
''We would rather build our own extruder than source it through a third party,'' Naughton said. ''The manufacturing costs are lower in Taiwan and we are very competitive ... with our pricing.''
The Sunwell side of TSL's business is growing rapidly, he said. Last year, TSL and Sunwell Global did a combined US$22 million in sales worldwide, with about $6 million of that coming from SG.
This year, he said, the Sunwell Global partnership is on track to hit at least $10 million in sales, reflecting marketplace desires for cheaper machines that perform well, he said.
TSL moved into a new facility in April in Union Gap, a $2.6 million, 50,000-square-foot plant that consolidated several smaller operations. TSL itself formed in 2002, after it bought the assets of International Thermoforming Systems, a Yakima, Wash., firm that went bankrupt and included several of the current TSL principals.
Naughton said neither TSL nor Sunwell Global has plans to make large-bed thermoforming equipment in Taiwan. The Taiwanese operation focuses on smaller-bed thermoforming equipment, generally less than 50 inches.
Sunwell Global makes extrusion machinery for expanded polystyrene foam sheet, EPS insulation board and rigid PS, polypropylene and PET sheet; high-volume thermoforming equipment and tooling for PS, PP and PET food packaging; and steam chest molding equipment for PS cups.