Teknor Apex Co. has planted its flag in China with the opening of a compounding plant in Suzhou.
The 70,000-square-foot plant currently is in startup mode, but should be fully operational by the end of the year. The site has annual capacity of almost 31 million pounds on two extrusion lines, producing a full range of the firm's compounds based on PVC, thermoplastic elastomers and engineering resins.
``Asia has been a good market for us since we entered in 2001,'' Bert Lederer, Teknor executive vice president, said in a May 3 phone interview. ``It's continued to grow and has good potential for the future.''
Compounds produced in Suzhou will be sold into markets for appliance, automotive, building, electronics, medical-device, and wire and cable markets, among others. Pawtucket, R.I.-based Teknor formally will announce the opening this month at Chinaplas 2007 in Guangzhou, where the firm is exhibiting.
The plant now employs fewer than 50, but Lederer said he expects that number to increase.
Products made at the new plant are expected to be consumed within the Chinese market, Lederer added. Since 2001, Teknor has served that market from its plant in Singapore, which operates as Singapore Polymer Corp.
The new plant ``represents our first step in building local capacity to supply the fast-growing Chinese market,'' SPC Managing Director Cheah Sin Hua said in a news release.
There will be some overlap between products produced in Singapore and in Suzhou, Lederer said, but he added that market demand for Teknor compounds in the region is large enough to support both plants. The cost of the new plant was not disclosed.
Teknor recently increased capacity in Singapore by streamlining the plant's 12 lines. Since late 2006, the firm also has installed a new extrusion line at a plant in Brownsville, Tenn. and replaced older lines with new ones in Lodi, Ohio; Fountain Inn, S.C.; and Henderson, Ky. The company also began compounding of TPEs in Oldbury, England.
Teknor - which employs 2,000 worldwide - posted sales of about $650 million in 2006. The 83-year-old firm also makes color concentrates and garden hose and ranks among North America's 30 largest compounders.