For roughly half of its 41 years of existence, Gammaflux LP focused much of its efforts on making hot-runner temperature control systems that bore another company's name. Ever since that private-label manufacturing agreement ended this summer, the Sterling, Va.-based firm is faced with the new challenge of re-establishing its brand and identity, especially in the booming Asian market.
So Gammaflux flew its own flag on its own booth at K 2007, Oct. 24-31 in Dusseldorf, and touted both a recent technology alliance with Schaffhausen, Switzerland-based Priamus System Technologies AG and a new, extended warranty on its controllers.
Rene Bertschi, managing director of Gammaflux Europe GmbH in Wiesbaden, Germany, elaborated on these developments in an interview at the show. Bertschi used to work for Bolton, Ontario-based Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. and says he introduced Husky, the Canadian injection press and hot-runner giant, to Gammaflux. In 1991 Bertschi moved from North America to Germany, and six years later he left Husky to set up and run Gammaflux Europe.
The relationship continued to work well, with Gammaflux making and servicing Husky's hot-runner temperature controllers under private label - until Husky this past June paid $7 million to buy Moldflow Corp.'s Manufacturing Solutions Division. That acquisition included the former MSI brand of hot-runner temperature controllers and effectively brought production of such equipment in-house at Husky.
``It was a challenge to educate people, especially in Asia,'' Bertschi said of trying to get Husky customers to understand that the temperature controllers they'd been using actually were made by Gammaflux.
The Virginia firm opened a Far East office in 2000 to establish a direct presence in Asia and in 2001 contracted with Pearly Machineries Ltd. of Hong Kong to serve as its sales representative across China. That relationship continues. But Bertschi said Gammaflux's stronger presence in the U.S. and Europe meant that markets in those areas had a better sense of this relationship, but Asians generally were less aware, since he said ``we rode into Asia on Husky.''
Gammaflux is stepping up its marketing and outreach efforts worldwide, while also aiming to fine-tune its product portfolio. To the latter end, the firm has formed an alliance with Priamus System Technologies that integrates its TTC family of hot-runner temperature controllers with Priamus' Fill & Cool system to help ensure a more balanced fill in multicavity hot-runner molds.
Mike Brostedt, director of market development for Gammaflux in Sterling, explained that by mounting the Priamus unit onto his firm's controllers, the user not only saves floor space but has the convenience of an integrated interface on a single display screen. Priamus developed the software interface.
``The link between our two products is changing the [temperature] set point and accepting the set-point change, without over- or undershooting,'' Brostedt said.
Bertschi pointed out that Gammflux has worked with Priamus for years, but the firms always sold their products separately. Gammaflux announced the ``new, team approach'' at K show.
Finally, Gammaflux also used K to announce a new, expanded, five-year warranty program for its LEC- and TTC-model hot-runner temperature controllers.
The new warranty began Sept. 1 for all such models sold after that date. The warranty does not include the touch-screen interface, which continues to have a two-year warranty, Brostedt noted.