Industry Watch


In recent months two offshore suppliers have set up shop in North America—a Pacific Rim press supplier and a European tool engineering firm.

Yuh Dak North America Inc., a subsidiary of Yuh-Dak Machinery Co. Ltd. of Taiwan, has established a sales, service, and demonstration facility in Aurora, ON. Its mission is to market what a company source calls its high-productivity, easily maintained, and very affordable line of vertical machines.

Gram Technology Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ is the U.S. office of the Danish mold engineering firm of the same name. Gram Technology’s specialty is its Spin Stack technology, which features rotating core/cavity segments within a stack mold.

This approach is said to double the output of more conventional rotating stack molds, while allowing any number of automated finishing operations to be performed prior to part ejection.
It licenses its technology. Nypro and The Tech Group reportedly have signed up. You can see them at K 2004 in the Tech Mold booth (Hall 1, Stand D29).—CK



U.S. automotive suppliers continue to shift their loyalties and their resources to Japanese customers, leaving the Big Three in the dust. That’s the big news in the annual OEM-Tier One Supplier Working Relations Study. It was conducted in July by Planning Perspectives Inc. (PPI; Birmingham, MI).

The study says U.S. automakers continue to hammer suppliers for price reductions and multimillion-dollar cash givebacks, while continuing to give their suppliers less support. The Big Three treat their suppliers more like adversaries than partners, and are lousy communicators (see Table 1).

Here’s what the report says is going on:

  • Toyota, Honda, and Nissan supplier working relationships are rapidly outpacing those with Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.
  • Suppliers are shifting their capital and R&D expenditures, service, and support to the Japanese Big Three, while reducing the same for the domestic Big Three.
  • Suppliers are increasing product quality at a greater rate for Japanese OEMs, but merely maintaining quality levels for U.S. automakers.
    Want to hear more? Try these on for size:
  • Supplier trust of Ford and GM has never been lower, while trust for the Japanese OEMs has never been higher.
  • There’s a better chance of making acceptable returns with the “foreign domestics” than with the “domestic domestics.”
  • Suppliers overwhelmingly prefer working with Toyota or Honda.

Overall results of the annual surveys are summarized in PPI’s OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index. Japanese automakers continue to climb the quality partnering scale, while U.S. automakers remain stuck at the bottom (see Table 2).

The 2004 survey involved responses from 223 Tier Ones, including 36 of the top 50, and was based on 852 different possible buying situations. PPI sources say the suppliers participating in the survey have combined sales representing 48% of the OEMs’ annual component purchases.
To get a copy of the survey, call PPI at (248) 644-7690.—CK

Micromolding is an advanced technology focus in the Nypro Precision Lab. It houses micropresses from Nissei, Sumitomo, and Milacron Fanuc. You can see them next May, when UMass Lowell celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Nick Rosato.


Are you planning to attend the SPE Antec in Boston, MA next year (May 1-5, 2005)? If so, you’re in for an extra-special treat.

Buses departing from Antec Boston on the morning of May 2 will whisk you away to Lowell, MA. The Dept. of Plastics Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell is celebrating its 50th anniversary during Antec week and you’re all invited to tour its brand-new labs.

You’ll be shuttled back to Boston just in time for those Antec presentations and, later that evening, an alumni reception, dinner, and speaker program hosted by UMass Lowell.

What you’ll see when you tour its 30,000-sq-ft laboratory facility are the results of a five-year master plan engineered by UMass Lowell and its industry sponsors.

The labs have been equipped with some $710 million worth of leading-edge manufacturing technologies and computer system upgrades, with 90% of the financing coming from corporate support. All of the equipment is there on consignment, and none of the equipment is, or ever will be, more than three years old.

Robert A. Malloy, chairman of the department, says the plan is to ensure the future existence of the department while creating an ever-evolving environment for training the type of engineering specialists the industry will need over the next 50 years.

Malloy invited IMM to a preview. We were joined by the department’s IM corporate allies, each a sponsor of the newest molding labs—the Milacron Injection Molding Lab, the Nypro Precision Injection Molding Lab, and the Moldflow Process Simulations Lab.

Joining us were Angelo F. Sabatalo, corporate director of organizational development and training at Nypro Inc. (Clinton, MA); A. Roland Thomas, president and CEO of Moldflow Corp. (Wayland, MA); and Fred Charpentier, director of North American sales at Milacron Inc. (Batavia, OH).

It’s just another beginning at UMass Lowell. Malloy says an optical media cleanroom is nearing completion and the University has its sights set on nanomanufacturing.

You can find more information on the anniversary celebration at http://plastics
, or by calling Gail Sheehy at (978) 934-4000.—CK

In tribute to his undying legacy of contributions to industry, the name of a new departmental library now under development at UMass Lowell will be The Dominick V. Rosato Memorial Library.
Plans reportedly were already under way for the library to bear his name before he died this summer at his home in Chatham, MA.

Nick Rosato, as he was more popularly known, was a 60-year industry veteran, an inventor, editor, entrepreneur, and the author of the first Injection Molding Handbook as well as more than two dozen other books, and a member of the Plastics Hall of Fame. He was 83 years old.—CK


  • Titan–ETI (Zhuhai, China) is the name of a trans-Pacific joint venture recently formed to supply low-cost parts for inclusion in components sold in China and North America. Titan Plastics Group (Portage, MI), the $200 million custom manufacturer of automotive and appliance products, entered into the agreement with $200 million Elec-Tech International of Zhuhai, which reportedly is one of the largest producers of small appliances in the world.
  • Foboha GmbH Formenbau (Haslach, Germany) sources report the shipment of its 100th horizontally rotating stack-turn mold. Stack-turns reportedly account for 25% of Foboha’s annual sales these days. The 100th is a 4x8 designed to produce automotive air vents.
  • A leading automotive moldmaker and product development firm has changed hands . . . sort of. Richard Hecker, president of Eifel Inc. (Fraser, MI), has bought out his dad, Josef P. Hecker, Eifel’s founder. Eifel, which reportedly handles more than 200 custom jobs each year, has been evolving since it was started in 1973.
  • Mold Craft Inc. (Willernie, MN) recently celebrated its 40-year anniversary. It specializes in supplying close-tolerance, multicavity tooling.
  • Husky IMS Ltd. (Bolton, ON) has inked an exclusive deal with Cold Jet Inc. (Loveland, OH) to supply its complete line of dry-ice mold cleaning systems for its PET molding systems.
  • DVT Corp. (Duluth, GA) has acquired MTI Machine Vision LLC (Providence, RI), including rights to MTI’s machine vision software products, intellectual property, and other related assets.
  • Concentrate supplier Accel Corp. (North Ridgeville, OH) has completed the expansion of its Ontario, CA operation by opening a new 27,000-sq-ft color and additive compounding facility.
  • Want to benchmark how you’re doing? The SPI’s 2003 Custom Injection Molders “Niche” market Survey of Plastics processors is available (SPI catalog number BA-172). It contains financial data from 65 U.S. custom injection molding operations participating in the survey. Financial details are broken out into sales, volumes, and profitability. Prices are $100 for SPI members and $200 for nonmembers, plus postage. Details are at—CK

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