Hoping to tap into India's growing car market, injection molder Juken Technology Ltd. of Singapore has opened a joint venture plant in Noida, India, with Uniproducts (India) Ltd.
Juken Uniproducts Pvt. Ltd., which started in July, is near New Delhi. The factory operates 10 presses, with clamping forces of 10-100 metric tons, to make instrument cluster parts, such as mechanical odometers, said Kelvin Chong, business development manager for Juken's Mecplas Technology Pte. Ltd. unit.
The venture, which is Juken's first production site in India, will expand into auto parts like seat-belt mechanisms and nonautomotive work including meters for measuring power consumption, he said. Juken owns 55 percent of the new firm and supplies much of the technology, while minority partner Uniproducts of New Delhi, which is a Tier 1 auto supplier in India, provides market access.
The venture is targeting multinational carmakers in India, Chong said at the Thai International Plastics and Rubber Exhibition, held Sept. 14-17 in Bangkok.
Juken, which had about 320 presses and 1,000 employees in seven plants in India, China, Thailand and Malaysia, is expanding in auto molding as part of a strategy to broaden its markets beyond its traditional base of consumer electronics, appliances and optical equipment like cameras.
To win more medical business and to go after the European auto market, the company opened a sales office in Frankfurt, Germany, in mid-2004, Chong said.
``We are focusing on automotive for the next three to five years, and at the same time, we are trying to enter the medical market,'' he said.
About 56 percent of publicly traded Juken's 2005 sales of S$43 million (US$27.2 million) came from consumer electronics, with about 20 percent from automotive and 5 percent from medical. In 2003, only 7 percent of Juken's sales came from automotive.
The company specializes in precision, small parts molding and mold making. Through its largest shareholder, Juken Kogyo Co. Ltd. of Toyohashi, Japan, it also manufactures injection presses with clamping forces of 5 and 10 metric tons.
About two-thirds of Juken Technology's presses are 10 metric tons or smaller.
Uniproducts, makes auto components and nonwoven fabrics. The firm had 2005 sales of 766.7 million rupees (US$16.6 million), according to its Web site.