Injection molder United Plastics Group Inc. has opened a mold-making and engineering center in Suzhou, China, its second facility in the country.
UPG, based in Westmont, Ill., said it anticipates that the 50,000-square-foot plant will have 20 toolmakers by year's end.
Chuck Hoar, vice president of sales, said the company moved significant amounts of its toolmaking equipment from U.S. factories to China, as its mold-building business in the United States has declined. More than 80 percent of the company's requests for proposals seek Asian tooling, he said. The company retains toolmaking capability at its Fremont, Calif., location.
``Our toolmaking in the U.S. definitely has slowed,'' Hoar said in a June 15 interview at the Medical Design & Manufacturing East show in New York. ``This will allow us to be more competitive.''
Hoar said the new plant will not result in any current layoffs. He said the company has laid off toolmakers as that portion of its business declined.
The plant will have electric discharge machines, lathes, surface grinders and milling machines. Hoar said the Suzhou plant will be managed by Bob Sussman, former president of Arizona Tool and Die in Phoenix, who signed a two-year contract.