Groupe Sidel has made Malaysia its Asian hub and second major manufacturing center specializing in plastic bottle blow molding machines, after its headquarters in Le Havre, France.
``We will service the regional and global market from our new Shah Alam plant, an investment of 10 million euros (US$13.8 million),'' said Marc Ville, outgoing managing director at Sidel Distribution (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
Sidel also serves the major Asian markets with dedicated plants in China and India, and supplements them with a facility in the Philippines that produces conveyors.
``We provide a complete chain of bottle-making machines, blowing, filling, labeling, palletizing, conveying and logistics,'' he said in an interview at the new Shah Alam plant. The facility is designed to serve Sidel's export markets for the next five to 10 years.
Sidel has grown rapidly since it began assembling PET blow molding machines in Malaysia in 1996. Since 2005, Sidel Malaysia also has served as a design center for the machines, including the SBO Compact series. It is the only Sidel site manufacturing the SBO Compact, a linear blow molding machine that can produce 7,000 PET bottles per hour.
``We assembled three PET bottle machines in the first year of operation, rapidly increased to 20 in 1997, doubled production to 40 in 1998, 68 in 2002 and 80 in 2006,'' Ville said.
Sidel Malaysia is on schedule to produce 100 machines this year and plans to increase to 120 units next year.
Sidel Malaysia has supplied more than 500 low- and medium-output blow molding machines to 82 international markets during the past 11 years.
Until June of this year, Sidel Malaysia's assembly operation was in a rented location. Now it has a dedicated facility on an 118,400-square-foot industrial site, said Sylvain Auvray, the new managing director in Malaysia, who will replace Ville as he heads off to lead Sidel's China division.
Sidel's business in Malaysia is considered an export-oriented operation, and has been supported by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority as a major foreign investment, with trade promotion incentives, including a tax exemption for the first 10 years.
With its latest investment and export-based operation, Sidel will continue to enjoy a tax exemption as well as other incentives, Auvray said.
``Ninety-nine percent of our machines, assembled with 50 percent of the components sourced from Malaysia, are exported,'' he said. Some 70 percent of the components in the compact linear machine are sourced from Malaysia - and the company wants that percentage to grow.
``We want to increase the local content in the machine and reduce imports of components and parts,'' he said. Sidel Malaysia also expects to enjoy a wide variety of regional tax incentives under the Asean Free Trade Agreement as a Malaysia-based exporter with a high rate of Malaysian-origin components in its machines.
As a regional hub, Sidel Malaysia will supply parts and components to its Asian assembling centers. On average, a Sidel machine is made of some 6,000 parts.
Malaysian engineers also have started in-house designing and testing machines at Shah Alam. ``We are the only Sidel plant outside France to design and assemble compact linear machines,'' Ville said.
With its own design and in-house research, Sidel Malaysia has assembled a four-mold machine that produces 7,000 bottles an hour. ``We have reduced the production cost of this machine by 20 percent,'' he said. He noted that about 20 of those units have been sold worldwide since last year.
Another Malaysia-designed and assembled machine is capable of producing PET bottles holding 10 liters, or 2.6 gallons. Ville said the firm will display this machine at the K 2007 trade show, to be held Oct. 24-31 in Dusseldorf, Germany.