Wisconsin's Penda Corp. is targeting Asia's burgeoning automobile industry from its recently established manufacturing plant in Melbourne, Australia. The Portage, Wis.-based company has been exporting polyethylene liners for truck beds to Australia for about a year, but early this year announced plans to establish a thermoforming facility in Australia.
Mark Owen, Penda's Australian quality manager, said the company recently opened its 19,900-square-foot thermoforming plant in Melbourne. The facility previously had been used to distribute products imported from Penda in North America, but the firm now makes all products on site.
Penda already has secured supply contracts with Australia's major automakers — Ford, Holden, and Toyota. Owen said the Melbourne plant also exports to customers in the Middle East and South America that had been supplied by Penda in North America. Penda's Melbourne plant now is pursuing Asian markets, he said.
Penda in Australia now imports PE sheet from its North American parent. The firm plans to expand its Melbourne plant within two years and eventually may extrude its own PE sheet when it becomes economical. He would not reveal current production volumes.