Truesdell Enterprises has opened a plant in Newtown, Wales, to get closer to its European customers. The Auburn Hills, Mich., tubing and profile extruder will invest $5.5 million in the project, said Thomas Carey, president and chief executive officer.
Last week Truesdell began producing convoluted and straight tubing on a Davis-Standard extruder and a Corma corrugator at the 20,000-square-foot plant in Newtown. Another line is ``in the water,'' making the trip across the Atlantic, he said in a telephone interview June 13.
Two more lines will come from Corma and Davis-Standard exhibits at K'95 International Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, Germany, saving Truesdell import duties and shipping, Carey said.
By October, four lines will make tubing in Wales for automotive customers in the United Kingdom and Europe, including Big Three automakers; United Technologies Corp., one of its biggest U.S. customers; and Lucas Industries Inc. For five years Truesdell's U.S. plants have supplied three of Lucas' U.K. operations, he said. Among Lucas' customers are Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Toyota, Honda and Nissan.
Although the plant initially will extrude tubing for covering wire harnesses, Carey said it eventually will branch out into all the markets Truesdell serves in the United States.
``We're looking to do $8 million in sales in three to fiveyears,'' he said.
Last year Truesdell recorded custom extruding sales of about $21 million.
A three-year site search, aided by the Welsh Development Agency, led Truesdell to Newtown. Truesdell is leasing the plant from WDA, which is one of Europe's biggest industrial landlords, said Jen Poston, vice president of WDA's international division, in Manitowik, Ontario. The nonprofit agency, based in Cardiff, Wales, is funded by the British government, she said.
``A small company thinking of taking this giant leap over the Atlantic ... it takes a great deal of courage,'' Poston said.
WDA does a complete follow-through for as long as any company requires the services that are offered, she said. Those services include helping to link Welsh companies with suppliers of raw materials, equipment and parts; and introducing them to both potential partners and customers through a Pan-European networking program.
Truesdell's six-year lease allows the company to relocate, within the same region, without penalty, Poston said. Carey said the firm expects to grow too big for the plant before the lease expires, and probably will expand to 60,000 square feet at another site in three to five years.
The Montgomeryshire District Council has committed an undisclosed grant to the plant, provided Truesdell meets its project goals, including hiring 65-70 within three years. That money will be used to buy equipment, Carey said. The Newtown plant, which employs six, will hire nine more by July, he said.
The 15-year-old private firm operates 45 lines at three U.S. plants. In Auburn Hills it extrudes profiles for the medical, automotive, construction and furniture markets. Automotive products include door protectors, interior trim, seals and air ducts. The El Paso, Texas, and Morgantown, Ky., plants mainly make convoluted tubing, of nylon or polypropylene, and straight PVC tubing.