U.S.-based mold equipment supplier Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co. has opened a plant in Shanghai to make tubular heaters for the local market and to export to the United States, with plans to add other product lines there later.
Watlow officials said the 80,000-square-foot factory will speed response times in Asia, and will let it export high volumes of heaters with little need to customize them for U.S. hot-runner manufacturers. Many Chinese hot-runner makers import their heaters, the firm said.
``This plant is to support local customers as they grow. We believe this plant will grow with them,'' the company said in a news release.
The privately held firm did not disclose investment figures, but said the Shanghai plant will use the same processes as its U.S. factories and will be supported by the company's Asian application and design center.
Watlow already has a factory in Singapore where it makes cartridge heaters. The tubular heaters in Shanghai also can be used in sterilization equipment and baby incubators.
St. Louis-based Watlow, which has $260 million in annual sales and 2,200 employees in North America, Europe and Asia, claims to be the world's largest custom designer of industrial heaters, sensors, controllers and software.