Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

A few years back I walked into a machine shop to see first hand all of the machinery and equipment needed for a typical machine shop to crank out a multitude of products.

This picture above is a summary of my visit.

One can readily see the tremendous investment in equipment as listed on the left needed to machine the displayed parts and components quite common to many industrial applications. One can also imagine all of the time consuming operations necessary to machine just one part from a block of metal: drilling, tapping, milling, routing, mitering, deburring, sandblasting and other finishing. In some cases, hours per piece can be consumed to yield a finished product.

One can see by the text in the middle just how many marketing areas there are for a machine shop, and this list is hardly exhaustive.

Now, look at the picture without the machine and equipment list on the left. Instead, envision one liquidmetal die casting or injection molding machine instead.

Then, look at all the parts pictured, a second time. All of them may be net-cast with liquidmetal in minutes. Double click on the picture to enlarge it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

John Kang, Resigns upon Jury Finding

The Board of Directors of Liquidmetal Technologies has announced the resignation of John Ho Kang as Chairman of the Board and Director. Several years ago he was forced to step down as President and C.E.O due to his indictment for fraud in the inflation of the value of sales for Medical Manager just prior to its IPO. It is for this he was found gulty by a jury of his peers in Federal District Court in the Beaufort Division, South Carolina.

Inspite of his being found guilty by the jury, the Board of Directors failed to take swift action to terminate his services and replace him with a competent COB and CEO at the time of his indictment five years ago. Resultantly, the Company has languished and has lost its stock value once at $22.00 and now at 8 cents per share.

Incredibly, the Board of Directors is maintaining Kang on the Company roster. They have been in complete denial as they have let him move virtually all of the productive assets out of the control of Liquidmetal and into the hands of his brother, James Kang, who operates a company called Grace Metals in China.

The Company maintains a plant in Korea which is utilizing a fraction of its floorspace for a greatly downsized operation. Two new members of the Board, real estate magnates from Iran, have yet unload this property and use the proceeds to pay down the Company debt built up by the Kang Brothers over the years.

Friday, March 28, 2008

CORRECTED - UPDATE 2-Jabil says economy dampens forecast

Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:46pm EDT

(Corrects decline in share price for Flextronics)

(Recasts, adds executive comment)

By Scott Hillis

SAN FRANCISCO, March 25 (Reuters) - Contract electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit Inc (JBL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) gave a profit forecast below Wall Street estimates, saying an economic "air pocket" was hurting demand for products like mobile phones and televisions, and its shares fell as much as 13 percent.

Jabil, which makes products for companies such as network gear supplier Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research), mobile phone giant Nokia (NOK1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research) and personal computer company Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), said revenue fell in the quarter ended last month from the previous quarter, but said business could bounce back as early as late summer.

"This is clearly a sign of the softening macroeconomic environment ... not market-share loss," Chief Executive Timothy Main told a conference call. The company's rivals include Flextronics International Ltd (FLEX.O: Quote, Profile, Research).

"We are hitting a pretty significant macroceconomic air pocket and I don't think anybody is immune to that," Main said.

Jabil said that revenue from its mobility segment fell 31 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter, while display revenue fell 40 percent.

Main said previous slowdowns lasted a quarter or two before customers resumed ordering. He said a slowing economy also tended to prompt companies to turn more to outsourcing, and pushed weaker players out of the market.

"We might be in a bottoming period right now and we might see a nice bounce-back in late summer, early fall," Main said when asked how long the economic downturn would last.

Jabil said that for its current fiscal quarter it expected to post revenue of $3.05 billion to $3.15 billion, below the $3.25 billion that was the average analyst forecast on Reuters Estimates.

The company said it expected a net profit of 9 cents to 13 cents per share and core earnings of 18 cents to 22 cents per share.

Analysts had been looking for Jabil to show a net profit of 20 cents per share and a profit excluding items such as stock-based compensation and amortization of intangibles of 34 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Jabil shares fell to $9.91 in extended trading, down 12.9 percent from their close of $11.38 on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have fallen 49 percent over the past year, compared to a 9 percent decline in Flextronics' share price over the same time.

Flextronics shares were unchanged after Jabil's report at $10.21.

Jabil also posted a net loss for its second fiscal quarter ended Feb. 29 of $24 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a net profit of $13.9 million, or 7 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue was $3.06 billion, up 4 percent from $2.93 billion a year earlier.

The company said the loss was due mainly to restructuring charges that were $41 million higher than a year earlier.

The $24 million loss compared with Wall Street's expectation of a $7 million net profit, according to Reuters Estimates. (Reporting by Scott Hillis, editing by Phil Berlowitz, Gary Hill)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

BuhlerPrince sells QPC; plans to grow in Holland

BuhlerPrince sells QPC; plans to grow in Holland

By Joe Boomgaard | MiBiz

HOLLAND — BuhlerPrince Inc., a die casting company, has sold its Quality Process Control Systems to the division’s general manager, Craig Nelson.

Buhler AG, a Swiss company, bought IdraPrince, formerly Prince Machine, in August 2006 because the Holland company had about 50 percent of the North American die-casting machinery business. After the purchase, the company began to transition some of the manufacturing from Switzerland to Holland.

According to BuhlerPrince President and CEO Mark Los, the company is adding about $1.5 million in additional milling equipment to the Holland facility in 2008.

"The focus for BuhlerPrince is mostly on the large, die casting machines, primarily (for the) automotive (industry)," Los said. "As we add additional capacity and additional investment, the focus is on really big pieces."

BuhlerPrince manufactures machines weighing from 100,000-500,000 pounds, whereas QPC manufactures much smaller machines in the 100- 1,000-pound range.

"It’s a completely different manufacturing strategy," Los said. "We continue to use products from QPC integrated into our machines. But from an overall manufacturing perspective, we wanted to focus on the really big pieces and buy from other companies the smaller pieces. We want to focus on the die-cast machinery side and not the small auxiliary pieces of equipment."

Therefore, BuhlerPrince decided to sell QPC to Nelson, who originally joined the company in 1999. QPC designs and builds water and oil circulating temperature control units, chillers, plant water recirculating systems and cooling tower cells.

QPC, founded in 1991, was purchased by Prince Machine in 1998 as the company looked to be more of a vertically integrated company, a one-stop shop for people buying die casting equipment, according to Nelson.

In essence, the company makes liquid circulating temperature control systems for BuhlerPrince’s die casting operation, but has other opportunities in the plastic injection molding and chemical and food processing industries.

"Die casting is 25 percent of (QPC’s) market. Our channel has been focused on that relatively narrow niche for the products at QPC," Los said. "What Craig’s got the opportunity to do now is to expand beyond this little slice that (BuhlerPrince) has and get into (other industries)."

Nelson, who started as a sales engineer seven years ago, is excited about the prospects of owning the company.

"I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak," Nelson told MiBiz. "I’ve been dreaming about having my own business. Finally the opportunity arose, and I was in a position where I could make a purchase."

QPC contracts with BuhlerPrince for all manpower and business support systems, allowing Nelson to get launched at a low cost.

"We think it’s a great opportunity to have this business incubated within our walls," Los said. "There are a lot of things that we’re going to continue to share just to make sure QPC gets a running start. It helps him get launched and not have to have the commitment to full-time employees on his payroll. He gets some real talented people on an as-needed basis."

Nelson said he’d like to see a 20-percent per year growth rate for QPC.

"Rather than start a new business from scratch, the opportunity to take something private that I’ve been working at for the last seven years and have put a significant amount of myself into, it just felt like it was a natural progression. It’s a good fit for me at this time," Nelson said.

Los said 2007 was a tough year for BuhlerPrince, but the 120-man shop continues to maintain its market share and believes it is well positioned for some future automotive projects stressing lighter weight vehicles and automotive parts.