Carclo Technical Plastics recently opened a new telecommunications/electronics molding plant in Shanghai, China, and is nearing completion of its first East European custom molding facility at Brno in the Czech Republic.
The 30,000-square-foot Czech plant is being built in an industrial park established by contract manufacturer Flextronics International Ltd. The Carclo operation will open in November, according to CTP Chief Executive Officer Tez Kurwie.
The plant will feature 16 injection presses with clamping forces of 55-385 tons.
Singapore-based Flextronics urged CTP to open the plant to make components for external computer modems and cable television descramblers. CTP, the plastics division of Wakefield, England-based engineering company Carclo plc, will employ between 40 and 45 at the highly automated Brno plant.
The new plant in Shanghai - Carclo's first in China - opened in March. The 26,000-square-foot plant has capacity for 32 injection presses.
Carclo inherited the project from its latest acquisition, Finespark (Horsham) Ltd., of Horsham, England, a precision toolmaker and electronics connector molder, which traded under the name Alan Group. Carclo acquired Alan, now renamed CTP Alan, in December.
Kurwie admitted that the sharp reduction in global demand for data-connector products has hit CTP and CTP Carrera, its Latrobe, Pa.-based U.S. subsidiary.
CTP posted a profit of £11 million ($15.5 million) last year on sales of £122 million ($172 million). Sales were up 47 percent, but profit was flat. Carclo reported a sharp drop in second-half activity in the mobile phones sector.
``The United Kingdom will cease to be a major producer of handsets. ... We will continue to supply handset manufacturers outside the U.K., and we see a continuing long-term business in the supply of highly technical optical and in-mold decorated components,'' Ian Williamson, chief executive officer of the parent company, said in a news release.
Carclo is following a strategy of concentrating manufacturing investment in lower-cost, faster-growing regions of the world such as Eastern Europe, Asia and the Americas, while still investing in the core technology of its British plastics operations, Williamson stressed.
The company is investing up to £3 million ($4 million) to add four injection presses at its CTP Wipac plant in Buckingham, England, which makes vehicle lighting components.
Medical product molding remains a growth area for Carclo's technical plastics division. Work for this sector is concentrated at CTP Plasro in Mitcham, England, and at CTP Carrera in the United States.
To cope with medical-related growth in the next two to three years, CTP plans to build a second plant in Britain in the next year, according to Kurwie.