Established packaging manufacturer Robinson plc is investing £1.3 million ($2.3 million) to open an injection molding plant in Lodz, Poland, to serve customers switching part of their production to Eastern Europe.
Robinson of Chesterfield, England, already operates 56 injection presses, mainly Ferromatiks, at its plastics packaging plant in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, England.
The company chiefly serves the food, beverage and confectionery sectors.
Initially, Robinson plans to switch as many as 10 of its injection machines, with 250-350 tons of clamping force, to the 130,000-square-foot Poland facility. The firm will start molding there early in 2006.
``We expect to expand in Lodz at a rate of around 10 injection presses per year,'' said Guy Robinson, finance director. He said the plant will be ``a manufacturing arm'' of Robinson's Kirkby-in-Ashfield plastics operation.
The company wants to run ``tried and tested'' presses in Poland to start, with molds supplied by the parent plant, because of the lack of local machine support and toolmakers, Robinson said.
Lodz, Poland's second-largest city, is a major industrial center for the chemicals and food-processing sectors. A growing number of multinational companies, including consumer-goods firms Gillette, Avon and Kraft, have operations there.
Robinson, which employs 400 and also manufactures paperboard packaging in the United Kingdom and Toronto, wants to expand its client base in central Europe.
``The accession of many central European states into the [European Union] has accelerated growth in demand for our products in the region. We targeted Poland because of its demographic, fiscal and wage structures, as well as its emerging enterprise culture,'' said Chief Executive Officer Jon Marsh.
Robinson expects relocation and other costs associated with setting up the new plant to amount to £500,000 ($895,000) in the next two years.
In England, the company has invested around £1.6 million ($2.8 million) in recent months on its plastics packaging business. Around a third of that amount was for tooling, a third on robotics and the final third on two new Husky injection presses.
The company wants to expand and is reviewing a potential injection molding business acquisition in the United Kingdom, it said.
For the first six months of 2005, the company reported sales of £11.3 million ($20.2 million).