Cresstale Ltd., a British cosmetics product firm, is investing $10 million to start an injection molding plant in Franklin, Va.
The plant, which will serve Cresstale's biggest U.S.-owned multinational customers, could rival the molder's English plant in size within five years, according to Managing Director Peter Minto.
The 18-year-old family-run company, based in Thornaby-on-Tees in northeastern England, signed a contract at the K'98 show in Dusseldorf, Germany, for nine Battenfeld injection presses with 110-165 tons of clamping force.
The machines, with associated automation, are destined for the 60,000-square-foot U.S. molding shop. They are all due to be delivered by the end of January, when the plant will be operating, Minto said.
The order is part of Cresstale's planned three-year, $10 million investment at the new plant.
Prior to K'98, Cresstale, had inked a deal with Battenfeld for five injection presses, including four with pick-and-place robots. Those machines also are destined for the Franklin plant, Minto said.
Cresstale has purchased 106 presses from Battenfeld in the last five years.
With new business still rolling in from North America, Minto said the company may decide soon to further expand capacity at the new Franklin facility. The company also is examining other expansion projects elsewhere in the world, including the possibility of setting up a plant in continental Europe.
The molder manufactures more than 20 million components weekly at its 120,000-square-foot Thornaby facility. Most of the products are lipstick containers and compact cases.
The company's three plants in England have about 100 presses, ranging from 55-200 tons. Some 60 percent of its output is destined for export, Minto said.
``We are operating in a global market,'' Minto said. ``Our major customers include multinational U.S.-owned companies including Avon, Procter & Gamble Co. and Revlon. We need to make sure when American customers develop new products we get our share for the U.S. as well as in the U.K.'' he said.
His company, which employs 460 in Britain and has annual sales of nearly $30 million, already has attracted work in the United States worth more than $6 million, including major orders from Avon.
According to Minto, the molder has achieved growth of about 25 percent a year every year since its formation. It now exports widely to Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Latin America and parts of Asia.
Cresstale made a dramatic recovery after a disastrous fire at its British site in 1995 destroyed its key molding shop, wrecking 22 of its Battenfeld presses.
The blaze cost Cresstale about $7.4 million. But Minto said the firm was up and running again with a new plant in less than a year and increased sales by 80 percent in the following two years.