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Filling in the outlines.

A closer look at unfamiliar import brands.

While putting together our first-ever injection-machine quality survey for last November's cover story, we learned some interesting things. We learned that North American molders have purchased at least 61 different brands of presses since 1987, including some we had never heard of. Second, we learned that small numbers of at least 11 brands of machines were imported in that time period from Asian countries besides Japan--Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea. We also learned that, taken as a group, those "Other Asian" machines and suppliers have not established the same reputation for quality and service that the Japanese have built up over the last decade or so. And we learned one more thing: generalizations can be dangerous.

I got a call from a West Coast machinery distributor who complained that very real differences between brands were disguised by our lumping together molders' quality ratings for all "Other Asian" machines. He would have me know that he sold a very fine Taiwanese press, the equal of any domestic, though he allowed as how he'd had "some problems" with another Far Eastern machine he no longer handled. But how could one tell the difference, he asked, from the single average rating that we had published?

He had a point, and his criticism helped convince me that we should take a closer editorial look at 14 or more relatively unfamiliar injection-machine nameplates that have arrived here from overseas--mostly from Far Eastern countries besides Japan.

That's just what our cover story will do next month: we'll present some comparative data on those newer and less-familiar arrivals, intended to give you an idea of what sort of features they have to offer, and at what price. We'll also gather some background information on the companies that build them and that distribute them here. How many machines do they build in a year? How many have they sold in North America? Do they have spare parts in stock locally? And what about service technicians? Or demonstration machines?

And that's not all. Later this spring, readers will receive questionnaires for our second injection machine quality survey. We learned from the first go-round to honor the cardinal rule of surveys: Keep It Short. This survey will be greatly simplified, mainly because we'll focus on just one category of presses--those under 100-ton clamp force. With everyone's cooperation, we'll get the several thousand responses we need to be able to report the ratings by actual brand name. Then you will see exactly what the users of "Brand X" machines think about them. Who should know better than they do?
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Title Annotation:imported plastics machineries
Author:Naitove, Matt
Publication:Plastics Technology
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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