Shenzhen, China-based mold maker Sino Mould Co. Ltd. is building a 278,000-square-foot factory that will more than triple its capacity.
The privately held company plans to open the facility, its second, in May in Zhuhai, China, as it pursues work in higher-end molds for export to markets such as packaging and automotive, said marketing director Andre Bahlmann.
He spoke in an interview at the NPE show, held June 19-23 in Chicago, and in a July 4 telephone interview.
While the company is mainly oriented toward exports, it also plans to start marketing more to Chinese manufacturing arms of multinational firms: ``The demand for high-quality molds is really growing,'' Bahlmann said.
He added that the vast majority of molds in areas such as good-quality packaging, for example, are imported.
``Especially in packaging, there is a lot of know-how still needed in China,'' he said.
The company also is looking for alliances or joint venture partners, either in mold making or in manufacturing, he said.
The fast-growing firm, which has sales of about $6.5 million, has 240 employees now, but the new facility will give it room eventually for 800 more mold makers, engineers and other workers, Bahlmann said.
The company built its current plant less than two years ago.
Sino Mould plans to make its investments in the Zhuhai plant over three years, and will start with a capacity of about 100 molds a month there, compared with current production of about 70 in Shenzhen, he said.
Eventually, the company wants to make 300 molds a month in Zhuhai.
The company said it is building in Zhuhai, which is across the Pearl River Delta from Shenzhen, because its manufacturing costs are lower there.
Its electricity costs are half that of Shenzhen and are more reliable, and the company negotiated a deal with the government to not pay taxes on equipment it imports, he said.
Bahlmann said Sino Mould relies more heavily on automation than many local Chinese molders.
He said it pays its employees 30 percent more than prevailing wages in the Pearl River Delta - an area of China where wages are under strong pressure and rising at least 10 percent a year - and its 240 workers can accomplish what most Chinese mold-making firms would need another 100 employees to do, Bahlmann said.
The company is majority-owned by Chinese businessman John Che, with other partners, and started in 1993.