A technical center being built in Shanghai, China, will become Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.'s center for Asian manufacturing, said Husky leader Robert Schad.
The operation will begin making hot runners in early 2004. Schad said Husky is studying the issue of assembling injection presses in China.
Husky is spending $20 million to acquire land and build the 120,000-square-foot technical center. The building will be Husky's new Asian headquarters, handling parts and service and acting as a nucleus for future manufacturing in China, the company said. Once it is completed, Husky will move its Asian headquarters from Hong Kong.
The Shanghai center will start with 50-100 employees, he said.
``The building will be completed by the end of this year, and within a few months, we'll start manufacturing. The first step will be hot-runner manufacturing,'' Schad said. Some limited hot-runner production already is taking place in a temporary facility near the construction site.
Schad, president and chief executive officer, outlined Husky's China strategy during a March 24 interview at company headquarters in Bolton. Currently the company has machine-assembly plants and mold-making operations in Bolton and Dudelange, Luxembourg, and makes hot runners in Luxembourg and at a currently expanding site in Milton, Vt.
Asia is the third leg of Husky's global strategy, joining North America and Europe. ``We're building the first phases of an Asian infrastructure,'' Schad said.
Husky has flexibility at the Shanghai center.
``We can expand very quickly. We put the foundations in already for expansion, so we can expand very fast. We're really looking at speed,'' Schad said.
Husky has to have a strong presence in China to serve its global customers that are setting up shop there, according to Schad. ``The main reason is for the China market, but it's also the basis for our Asian market, including Singapore and possibly Japan,'' he said.
Schad also said that, longer-term, Husky might build some machines in China and ship them to North America. It may make sense to build small-tonnage machines in Asia because they are easiest to ship, he said.
Publicly held Husky announced plans for the Shanghai technical center last summer, but only recently began to give details about manufacturing there in its quarterly financial reports.
After the China plant opens, Husky will have 19 technical centers around the world. Schad made it clear that the global expansion is not complete; he revealed that Husky is considering a facility in Moscow in 2005.