German automotive parts maker Seeber Corp. plans to invest $10 million in an injection molding plant in South Carolina to supply BMW AG's new assembly plant.
Seeber of Mannheim, Germany, will mold under-the-hood and interior trim parts near Spartanburg, S.C. Seeber USA Inc. President Bernd Konrad said the plant could begin molding as early as February.
Ralph Losem, Seeber corporate controller, said in a telephone interview that his firm will begin with four or five injection presses with clamping forces up to 1,600 tons. Most of the new presses will be Engel machines, including a two-component press to mold soft and hard parts. Seeber USA also will install a 1,000-ton sheet molding compound press.
Seeber USA will mold polypropylene, ABS, ABS/polycarbonate alloy and thermoplastic elastomers for BMW's new plant, which is to begin operating next year in Spartanburg.
State officials said the BMW project has attracted about $1.2 billion in investment. About 20 suppliers decided to locate or expand in South Carolina.
Seeber, a privately held firm, supplies German original equipment manufacturers with interior trim, under-the-hood components and wheel-well covers. It is a Tier 1 supplier to BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Opel and other OEMs.
Losem said the South Carolina facility will be expandable. Long-term plans are to supply other automotive OEMs in North America and to boost sales to three or four times the size of the BMW contract.
The South Carolina facility will be the company's first in North America. Seeber's total sales are about $500 million per year.
Seeber USA will start with about 30 employees. It will train workers through the state's SC Special Schools Program through Spartanburg Technical College.