Dutch injection press maker Stork Plastics Machinery BV is targeting the U.S. and Canada, as the company moves to expand beyond its home market in Europe.
Stork has set up a U.S. unit, SPM USA, in Shirley, Mass. The new sales manager is Tony Thompson, who was a 25-year veteran of Netstal Machinery Inc. His last position was customer service manager for North America for Netstal in Devens, Mass.
Why has Stork decided to play in the difficult U.S. market? ``We feel there's some growth for Stork,'' Thompson said.
Stork will not try to market its broad line of machines. Instead, Thompson said, the company will focus on its high-speed packaging machines, in clamping forces up to 1,500 tons. Stork is touting its track record for building machines for in-mold labeling and two-component molding.
Historically, the move brings Stork full circle. Stork dates to 1868 in Hengelo, the Netherlands, where the Stork family founded a machine works. In the late 1960s, Stork entered the injection molding press business, building machines under license from Reed Corp., then a major U.S. press maker. The firm later began making machines from its own designs.
Thompson said this is the first time Stork has launched a formal sales effort in North America.
``A few machines have come as direct import, but nothing much,'' he said. The goal is to sell 10 presses a year here, he added.
Thompson said about 20-25 Stork machines already are running in the United States and Canada.
Stork builds between 120 and 140 injection presses a year. In late 2006, Stork moved into a new 108,000-square-foot building on the outskirts of Hengelo and left its original building downtown.
Thompson said Stork plans to add spare parts to its North American operation once the company gets a larger machine base here.