A leading U.S. custom injection molder, Nypro Inc., and a large German maker of laboratory equipment, Eppendorf-Netheler & Hinz GmbH, said Feb. 26 they are forming a joint venture in Germany to tap European medical and other markets.
The equally owned joint venture is starting with about 10 molding machines with clamping forces as large as 150 tons in an existing Eppendorf building near its plant in Oldenburg, Germany. It will grow to 30 or 40 machines by 2000, said Detmer Ammermann, head of the finance department for Hamburg-based Eppendorf.
The German venture, Nypro Kunststofftechnik GmbH, is expected to be the basis for future ventures between the two companies in other parts of the world, but Nypro spokesman Al Cotton said the companies still are developing plans for that. It began operating in early January, Ammermann said.
The venture initially will focus on making plastic components for Eppendorf's laboratory and medical business, but will seek business from multinational companies and will grow quickly, Cotton said. The companies also want to add a clean room, assembly and mold making, according to a Nypro news release.
The facility is Nypro's first in central Europe, and will become its 23rd molding plant, and 24th facility, worldwide, Cotton said.
Neither company would disclose investment in the operation.
An Eppendorf official said it will remain a small part of the company's roughly $200 million in annual sales. Nypro, based in Clinton, Mass., had $430 million in sales last year, and ranked 10th on Plastics News' 1997 survey of North American injection molders, with relevant sales of $332 million.
Cotton said Eppendorf had been a Nypro customer for decades, manufacturing pipettes and other products. But the venture into custom molding is something of a new area for the German company. More than 90 percent of its plastic molding to date has been in-house, Ammermann said.
Nypro has 14 plants in the Americas, four in the Asia-Pacific region and five in Europe, including the German venture, which will start with about 20 employees, Cotton said.