Rotational mold tooling specialist Norstar International LLC of Princeton, N.J., has formed a partnership with an Indian mold maker to help spread rotomolding technology to developing regions.
The licensing agreement with M-Plast India Ltd. will allow the Indian firm to use production techniques first developed by Norstar's parent company, Norstar Aluminum Molds Inc. of Cedarburg, Wis., for tools that will be used throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
``The industry that is there is very low to medium in terms of technology,'' said Norstar International Managing Director Ravi Mehra in a Jan. 4 telephone interview. ``They're primarily involved in making water tanks or a few other products. But, to do parts for automotive, for industrial, for retail customers that are expanding into India, they need to improve their technology.''
The cast aluminum molds developed by Norstar also are made under license by firms in Germany and Mexico, with those licensees overseeing molds used in those regions, and Norstar handling work for the U.S.
The agreement with M-Plast of Noida, India, is only part of what's needed to improve rotomolding capabilities in India, Mehra said.
Norstar's Mehra has been consulting with rotomolders there, and with the Association of Rotational Molders International - which operates a South Asia division office in New Delhi - with an emphasis on developing the complete rotomolding picture, which includes machine availability and production capability. There are plenty of opportunities in the region without building a separate business case for exports, he said.
The current economic growth in India, like similar expansions in China, has created a wealth of willing consumers who not only want the same products as their counterparts in other countries, but also want them to be the same quality as those available in Europe, North America or Japan, Mehra said.
``They've been underserved with the technology up to now,'' he said.
Sandy Scaccia, president of Norstar Aluminum Molds, said he expects Norstar and M-Plast to begin delivering Indian-made molds in the second quarter of 2007.
Norstar also is continuing to look to other regions for growth, including Eastern Europe, Mehra said.