By: Rebecca Kanthor
PLASTICS NEWS CORRESPONDENT
May 5, 2014
SHANGHAI — It seems even the newest line of 3DK cooling equipment can’t stop Frigel Firenze SpA’s from heating up, especially in Southeast Asia and South America, where the company is investing heavily. The company has nearly quadrupled its business in Asia between 2011-2013 and expects at least 50 percent growth this year.
The Florence, Italy-based equipment manufacturer is in the midst of a rapid and vast expansion plan in Thailand and Brazil. The company’s facility will expand within half a year from an existing 1,000-square-meter Asia-Pacific plant to a new 8,000-square-meter facility that will be just a bit smaller than the company’s headquarters factory.
“We’re opening it with the absolute intent of bolstering our manufacturing capabilities in Asia,” said Benjamin Sutch, president of sales and service for Frigel Asia Pacific, adding that the company hopes the region will make up a 33 to 40 percent of the company’s business in the future.
Currently Asia Pacific makes up about 19 percent of the company’s total sales.
The new plant will help the company deliver product to customers faster.
“To remain competitive as we continue to grow we have to meet that demand quickly. At present we have to split manufacturing between Bangkok and Florence. This has stretched out lead times,” he said.
The move is a part of a larger global strategy for Frigel.
“There’s something to be said about building a building, hiring staff and making a home in the markets that you serve,” he said.
He told Plastics News in an interview at Chinaplas in Shanghai that the Bangkok factory will be fully functional by the end of the year and that the current staff of 35 would be increased around 50 percent over the next few years. Frigel’s product range of portable chillers, and flow and temperature controllers will be produced there.
He added that the company’s São Paulo plant will be slightly smaller and will also serve the local and international market in Brazil.