ARRK Product Development Group, one of the world's largest plastics prototyping companies, has gone to Taiwan to buy a mold shop to serve the U.S. market. The company purchased a majority interest in Taipei, Taiwan-based Shangent Mold Engineering Co. on March 20, giving ARRK its first production tool shop in Asia, said David Salisbury, national marketing manager for ARRK.
The injection toolmaker allows ARRK to take a client from initial product design to production mold making, Salisbury said. The company will send design files electronically from its U.S. headquarters in San Diego to Taiwan, he said.
"We purchased this as a branch of our U.S. operations," Salisbury said. "The Taiwanese tooling community is one of the largest and most efficient in the world. Our customers won't have to deal with the headaches of currency conversion or language barriers."
Although ARRK's parent company is based in Osaka, Japan, the Taiwanese shop will serve North America. Shangent, more than 50 years old, was owned by Jimmy Chan, president of the Taiwanese Toolmakers Association.
Chan will stay with the company as general manager of ARRK Shangent Co.
ARRK also has made an acquisition in Europe. On April 7, the company purchased rapid product development company Styles RPD of Teesside, England. Styles is one of the largest rapid development companies in England and has 73 employees, Salisbury said.
The company specializes in rapid prototyping, advance reaction injection molded prototypes and rapid tooling, he said.
The acquisition continues ARRK's growth spree in Great Britain. In 1999, the company bought rapid-prototyping house Formation Ltd. of Gloucester, England.
With the acquisition, ARRK now has 150 employees in England. The company has more than 700 workers worldwide.
ARRK gradually has broadened its base as a rapid-prototyping provider to include prototype and bridge-to-production tooling. The company makes aluminum tooling and thermoset castings as part of its operations, he said.