As many suppliers of mobile-telephone components are forced to jettison ambitious expansion plans, one Scottish molder is bucking the trend.
IMD Solutions Ltd. of Stirling, Scotland, a supplier of printed foils for in-mold decoration of keypads, lenses and mobile-phone casings, is pressing ahead with a three-year, £5 million ($7 million) expansion as it seeks to extend its customer base.
The project calls for expanded molding capacity as it attracts new business for its designs and decoration technology. It eventually intends to add another 80 employees to its 25-member work force, according to the company.
In the first phase of the project, IMD just moved to a new, 20,000-square-foot plant in Stirling. The transfer occurred while IMD's chief customer, Motorola Inc., was closing a nearby phone assembly plant in Bathgate, Scotland.
However, in the past couple of years, ARC Euro Ltd., as IMD formerly was known, managed to secure additional work for Motorola at its assembly plant in Flensburg, Germany, as well as serving the American telecommunications giant's U.S. operations.
``A few years ago, the closure of the Bathgate plant would have meant we would have closed down with it,'' said IMD's expansion project manager Tony McPike.
The molder operates four Niebling thermoforming lines and an equal number of Demag and Engel injection presses, with clamping forces of 55-165 tons. McPike said it has space to double its injection molding capacity.
IMD gets screen-printed foils for in-mold decorating from a sister company, RH Technologies Ltd. of Andover, England.
The firm aims to win new contracts from other phone manufacturers and computer-related companies. Aided by more advanced technology and automation, IMD now can form in-mold decorated parts up to the size of laptop computers.
The former ARC Euro was bought in July 2000 by London-based Laird Group through its Laird Technologies subsidiary in Delaware Water Gap, Pa.
Laird Technology, which specializes in electromagnetic-interference shielding, operates plants in the United States, Taiwan, France, Germany and Scotland.