Armed with a bigger client list in cosmetics packaging, Carolina Precision Plastics LLC is expanding to China through a joint venture with Fischer Tech Ltd.
The partners are establishing an injection molding, painting and decorating facility in Suzhou that will target cosmetics and other consumer-packaging markets. The 50-50 joint venture, CPP-Fischer Pte. Ltd., is due to start production in a few months.
Carolina Precision bolstered its cosmetics packaging business in the fall when it bought Augros Inc. The deal spurred the firm to open a second molding facility, in Greensboro, N.C., when its Asheboro, N.C., headquarters plant could not take on the extra work.
Carolina Precision President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Tauber said the China venture will not take work away from Carolina Precision's U.S. plants.
``This will provide global manufacturing to our existing customer base,'' Tauber said in a telephone interview. ``They all have manufacturing in Asia.''
The partners are renovating a former Fischer plant in Suzhou. Fischer outgrew the facility and moved to another building in Suzhou. Fischer is a US$82 million public company based in Singapore with special expertise in injection molding and decorating.
The company's main markets include electronics and automotive.
Tauber said his firm's share of initial startup costs in the Suzhou venture will run about $3 million to $4 million. The operation will begin with six injection presses with clamping forces of 300-400 tons, but the number of presses could rise to 10 in six months or so. Its decorating capabilities will include painting, hot stamping and pad printing.
For more exotic decorating, such as laser marking and metalizing, the partners will be able to turn to Fischer's plant in Suzhou.
CPP-Fischer's packaging for cosmetics, fragrances, lip balm, pens and other consumer goods will be sold in China and in global markets by U.S.-based customers.
Tauber and Fischer Tech President Peter Tan floated the idea of a joint venture several months ago, but Carolina Precision was busy preparing to acquire Augros and setting up the plant in Greensboro.
``Brian and I have discussed this partnership for some time,'' Tan said in a Feb. 14 news release. ``We have found that a reliable, customer-focused, low-cost source in China with the strong U.S. presence that [Carolina Precision] provides is very important.''
In addition to Suzhou, Fischer runs a manufacturing site in Dongguan, China, and production plants in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.