Continuing its growth in the U.S. market, thermoforming equipment supplier Kiefel Technologies Inc. will open a plant in New Hampshire that will double its size.
The company, headquartered in Hampton, N.H., will move to a new facility 10 miles away in Exeter late next year, Markus Zlotosch, Kiefel product and application specialist, said during the Society of Plastics Engineers' 2003 Thermoforming Conference in Cincinnati. The event was held Sept. 13-16.
Currently, Kiefel operates a 55,000-square-foot plant in Hampton that opened in 1996. The facility, largely focused on thermoforming equipment for auto- motive applications when it started, now has 60 people, Zlotosch said. The company is a unit of Kiefel AG of Freilassing, Germany.
The growth is needed to support new equipment and business, Zlotosch said. The company recently launched an automatic pressure forming machine with a second punching station at NPE 2003. The company's U.S. operations also have expanded to include thermoforming equipment for packaging and medical markets, Zlotosch said.
The new plant nearly will double the size of Kiefel's U.S. presence, offering more than 100,000 square feet of space. The plant will have high-speed heat-sealing equipment as well as laminating and edge-cutting operations, and will produce in-line thermoforming units.
``It will be the right size for our U.S. operations,'' Zlotosch said. ``As we have focused on our projects and demand has increased, we found that we needed more space to deliver machines when our customers want them.''
The company, a major thermoforming equipment maker in Europe, first came to the U.S. market in 1995, when it formed a joint venture with sheet producer O'Sullivan Corp. Kiefel exited that venture in 1998 and decided to move independently to produce vacuum forming equipment and other machinery in New Hampshire.
The company then set up the U.S. subsidiary to grow the business.
``We work on our own, but also have close ties to Germany,'' Zlotosch said.