SHL invests in injection facilities in Taiwan

David Eldridge
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: September 11, 2013 2:00 pm ET
Updated: September 11, 2013 2:03 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Medical, Injection Molding

Drug injector device maker SHL Group is investing $40 million this year at its injection molding facilities in Taiwan in response to new product launches by customers in the pharmaceutical sector.

SHL was set up in 1989 by two European entrepreneurs — Roger Samuelsson and Martin Jelf of Sweden — with its manufacturing wholly based in Asia.

"Five years ago I signed a letter of intent with the Taiwan government promising to invest $100 million here," said Samuelsson, CEO at SHL. "We kept our promise and even completed that investment early. Now we will spend another $40m for 2013."

SHL operates five pharma manufacturing facilities in Taoyuan and Nankan in Taiwan, and a healthcare manufacturing facility in Guangdong, China. It also has a final assembly plant in Florida, and design centers in Florida and Stockholm, Sweden. Its global staff level passed the 2,000 mark in 2012 and now stands at over 2,400 following this year's expansion in Taiwan.

The group's high volume products are auto injectors, pen injectors and inhalers, which it delivers in millions of units to European and North American pharma groups. It also makes beds, slings and other products for healthcare providers.

"The majority of our growth is being driven by disposable auto injectors," said Steven Kaufman, marketing director at SHL. He told European Plastics News that pharma groups are releasing a lot of their new drugs in an injector format.

The Molly auto injector, launched in 2010, is an example of SHL's innovation in drug delivery devices. It was designed as an intuitive and compact device, with a simplified two-step operation and a permanently hidden needle.

Lower operating costs make Asia an attractive manufacturing location for entrepreneurial companies, but SHL entrusts technology suppliers from Europe when it comes to the production platform critical to its success in the demanding pharma market.

SHL has purchased 10 KraussMaffei CX injection molding machines for its Taoyuan One plant as part of the $40 million investment this year. KraussMaffei has been SHL's preferred machinery partner for a number of years.

Samuelsson said: "With the CX series of machines, we have further enhanced reliability and continue to consistently produce high-quality components for the medical and healthcare industry worldwide. Our goal is zero error tolerance, a goal that our partners must share with us."

A key component of SHL's strategy is scaleability of its production. Kaufman said: "When we do an audit, we find we are always keen to have additional capacity."

This is particularly critical as customers launch new drugs and need the assurance that suppliers can ramp up production if demand takes off. This desire for risk mitigation is the rationale behind the investment in equipment and staff.

As well as new injection molding machines, SHL has expanded its materials handling capability to cope with this year's expansion and with future production growth too. Motan is SHL's main partner in materials handling.

Frank Isaksson, SHL's general manager, said: "We have worked closely with our suppliers to design each of our facilities for maximum scalability."

He said SHL's experience shows it needs to be prepared to expand further in its capacity for injection molding, materials handling, tooling, metrology and automation.

Kaufman said that while SHL does use some suppliers for robots (primarily Fanuc), the group has its own automation department that builds its own robots and end-of-arm tooling, such as grippers. The automation team also plays an important role with customers, as it has developed assembly equipment used at the facilities of its pharma customers or their fillers.

Growth in SHL's manufacturing operations looks likely to remain focused in Taiwan. The group's operations are located close to logistical hubs, an important factor in supplying its pharma customers' facilities around the world.

"Taiwan has one of the best infrastructures in the world for logistics," said Kaufman.

A clear indicator of SHL's commitment to Taiwan is the increasing number of skilled staff it has hired there. "We have so many experts here [in Taiwan], it would be really hard to change," he said.


Comments

SHL invests in injection facilities in Taiwan

David Eldridge
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: September 11, 2013 2:00 pm ET
Updated: September 11, 2013 2:03 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Medical manufacturer adds clean room, machinery

August 1, 2014 8:39 am ET

Medical component maker UFP Technologies Inc. expanded its Georgetown, Mass., operation with the addition of a clean room and high volume equipment.    More

Spain's ITC Packaging acquires Coveris rigids plant

July 31, 2014 9:59 am ET

International packaging group Coveris Holdings has sold its Spanish business Coveris Rigid Spain, including an injection molding plant, to the...    More

Image

Tessy investing $10 million in new plant, infrastructure

July 30, 2014 4:57 pm ET

Tessy Plastics Corp. continues to buy factory buildings in upstate New York — acquiring a 112,000-square-foot former Honeywell building in...    More

Image

One51 adding injection molder Straight to its bin molding portfolio

July 29, 2014 10:12 am ET

Dublin-based One51 plc has had its purchase of British trash bin maker Straight plc cleared by the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority.    More

Image

Two medical device makers add specialty products through acquisitions

July 28, 2014 3:02 pm ET

The medical merger mania continues this summer as two more medical device manufacturers are swallowed up by bigger competitors.    More

Market Reports

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events