Injection molder Titan Plastics Group Inc. is establishing a foothold in Asia to support products made for the Chinese market while also exporting components to supplement and expand its offerings in North America.
Portage, Mich.-based Titan is the majority owner of a 60-40 joint venture with China's Elec-Tech International in Zhuhai.
The venture, called Titan-ETI, will launch in existing Elec-Tech facilities but plans are in the works to build a second manufacturing center near Shanghai to supply the auto industry in China, said Greg Botner, president and chief executive officer, in a Sept. 2 telephone interview.
``Many of the large Tier 1 [auto] suppliers are putting on pressures to have their suppliers available there,'' he said. ``This will allow us to leverage our expertise in automotive.''
But at the same time, Elec-Tech's capabilities in everything from injection molding to die casting, painting, electric motor assembly and metal assembly will allow Titan-ETI to produce sub-assemblies that Titan can use within products it will complete in its eight factories in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
``We actually look at this as an opportunity for growth in North America by increasing our capabilities to our customers,'' Botner said. ``It allows us to go back to our base with a larger offering.''
Titan has about $200 million in annual sales. It makes parts for a cross section of markets, including the auto, power equipment, home appliance and office equipment industries.
Elec-Tech, which opened in 1996, also has about $200 million in annual sales and specializes in small-appliance production. It has extensive engineering and design capabilities, Botner said, but lacks the experience in producing designs to North American specifics. Titan will leverage its expertise in engineering and design for the joint venture products.
A mutual business acquaintance introduced Botner to the Chinese manufacturer after Titan did a careful study of China.
``We did not jump on the bandwagon early,'' Botner admitted. ``We didn't want to jump into a swimming pool full of sharks.''