DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - Current and promised business with U.S. multinational customers in Chi-na is driving growth for custom injection molder Nypro Shenzhen in Shenzhen, China, just across the straits from Hong Kong. The 170-employee, 19-press plant, which is wholly owned by Nypro Inc. of Clinton, Mass., today derives 90 percent of its business from two U.S. firms - Avery Dennison and Johnson & Johnson - but more work is imminent from other stateside concerns, according to Nelson Ngai, general manager of Nypro Shenzhen. He said his firm has been promised or expects contracts in the coming months from Motorola Inc., Duracell Inc. and Flextronics International Ltd.
Ngai, a 36-year-old, Hong Kong-born Chinese national, said in an interview at K'95 in Dusseldorf that he expects his firm's annual sales to soar from $2.5 million now to $6 million by next July, the end of its current fiscal year. He said he will need to add six or seven small presses, with clamping forces of 50-75 tons, to accommodate this expected surge in molding activity. The presses are likely to be Japanese-made JSW or Sumitomo machines.
The 54,000-square-foot Shenzhen plant, which currently processes about 396,800 pounds of resin per year, is large enough to handle this increased work, he said. But if Nypro's growth in China goes to plan, the company will need to add a plant there soon - most likely in Tianjin. With the necessary customer commitments, work on a second molding facility in China could begin by the end of this year, and it would be ready to go about 18 months later, he said. Down the road, Nypro also probably will want to site a plant in Shanghai, he said.
Ngai and a local partner started the Shenzhen in 1991, and equipped it with 35 injection presses, mostly JSWs. The globally minded Nypro bought a 20 percent stake in the facility two years ago and in April 1994 made it a wholly owned subsidiary, Ngai said. Under Nypro's direction he has downsized the plant to its current 19 presses.
For Avery Dennison, Nypro Shenzhen makes polypropylene fasteners for clothing price tags. For Johnson & Johnson, it makes PP toothbrushes for the Asian market. For the balance of its current work, the plant produces a range of custom moldings - ranging from screwdrivers to videocassette recorder panels - for local Chinese firms.
At the end of November, Nypro Shenzhen will begin work on what Ngai termed a multimillion-dollar contract for Motorola, molding the electromagnetic interference shielding components for cellular telephones. He said he also expects the plant to do an unknown amount of molding work for Motorola's pagers group. These jobs will involve running mostly polycarbonate and PC/ABS blends.
Duracell's China unit has given Nypro Shenzhen written notice, Ngai said, of its intention to award the plant a contract in the second quarter of 1996 to mold the nylon seal caps that prevent leakage in Duracell batteries.
Flextronics, meanwhile, is a publicly held, San Jose, Calif., assembler of electronic components for Microsoft Corp. Ngai said the Flextronics work will involve mostly ABS.
He said that working for Nypro is ``very demanding, long hours, but we like it - it's a very good challenge.''
Ngai said his biggest managerial concerns are training employees and corruption in government. Quality of materials and machinery is not a problem for him, since the global sourcing manager of Nypro Inc., a 20-plant, $245 million molder, helps coordinate the importation of necessary goods. And, it looks as if Nypro officials will be directing more of their attention toward China.
``Seeing business grow in China is just phenomenal,'' Ngai said. ``The domestic market is booming.''