Although Prent Corp. of Janesville, Wis., was named Wisconsin's Manufacturer of the Year for 1997, the thermoforming firm has set its sights beyond the domestic market.
The company entered into a joint venture in Malaysia with Jurong, Singapore-based Broadway Industrial Group Ltd., and will begin production in George Town and Johor Bahru, Malaysia, by July. The Prent-Broadway Pte. Ltd. plants will serve the medical, electronic and consumer products markets.
``This is a great way for us to address doing business globally,'' James O'Dierno, Prent's senior vice president of sales, said in a telephone interview. ``We will have production capability outside the United States for global sourcing.''
Prent makes thermoformed packages for the medical and electronics industries. Broadway is a regional manufacturer of vacuum formed, foam and molded-fiber packaging for the electronics and consumer industries.
Prent will bring higher-end pressure forming technology and equipment for the medical and electrical markets to the venture, as well as complete clean room manufacturing capability. The venture will use PVC, glycol-modified PET and static-dissipative and conductive materials.
``Our new Malaysian plant will give us central Asian-Pacific manufacturing locations close to the region's rapidly expanding medical, electronic and consumer markets,'' O'Dierno said in a news release.
The venture offers the overseas divisions of Prent's U.S. customers the advantage of reduced shipping costs, faster response from Malaysian-based sales representatives and faster overseas customer service.
Prent plans to pattern the Malaysian sites after its 25,000-square-foot Flagstaff, Ariz., satellite facility. That plant is designed for 75-100 employees and a maximum of eight thermoforming machines.
Prent President Joe Pregont accepted the Wisconsin award Feb. 26 in Milwaukee. Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson praised Prent for being an entrepreneur, attracting new business and jobs, and for its exporting initiatives, which send products around the world.
``This is an exciting time for our company, especially in the field of technology,'' Pregont said.