Increasing European automotive presence in North America is prompting German fuel line extruder FrÃ¤nkische Plastiks GmbH to bring its manufacturing to the United States.
A 40,000-square-foot plant set to open this year in Anderson, S.C., will replace the company's current North American base, a sales office in Atlanta, Willem Boltong, of the firm's sales and engineering group for division industrial appliances, said during the Society of Automotive Engineers 2003 World Congress in Detroit.
FrÃ¤nkische purchased the assets of a competitor and will move that equipment to the Anderson site, launching production with seven extrusion lines, Boltong said. He would not identify the other company or disclose the investment costs.
The site has enough space that the firm eventually could expand to 27 lines, he said.
FrÃ¤nkische does have some nonautomotive presence in North America through its subsidiary, Rehau Inc., but no direct auto-related manufacturing.
Based in KÃ¶nigsberg, Germany, the company specializes in corrugated, multilayer lines used in automotive fuel systems and windshield-wiper units. Its nylon and polypropylene materials help differentiate FrÃ¤nkische from competitors that are more reliant on rubber and PVC, Boltong said.
About 20 percent of FrÃ¤nkische's global sales are in the auto industry, with the firm supplying fluid material systems managers such as Siemens VDO AG and Robert Bosch GmbH. It also produces pipe for appliances, sewer systems and a variety of industrial applications. It operates more than 300 extrusion lines from its four European plants and also has sales offices in Asia.
The new South Carolina plant will launch production for automakers, but will look to expand to other customers, Boltong said.
``We can now see a real opportunity to grow our sales here,'' he said. ``We've had the motivation to expand here for some time.''