Fuwei Films (Holdings) Co. Ltd., a Beijing maker of biaxially oriented PET film, is adding its third production line, as well as a research and development line for trials.
The addition marks a major expansion for Fuwei's sole production facility in Weifang. The firm, which went public Dec. 19, trades its stock on Nasdaq.
Fuwei is importing a thick-film production line from Germany, to complement its two existing production lines. With a $30.8 million investment, the third line will be capable of making 50.7 million pounds of thick film, from 50-200 microns.
The production line is expected to arrive by year's end, with a commercial launch set for April, said spokeswoman Christina He.
The company also recently finished installing a trial line that is part of its technology center project. That project was granted a low-interest loan of 20 million yuan ($2.8 million) from Beijing's industrial development fund in 2006 and is slated to receive another loan, of 30 million yuan ($4 million), this year.
The trial line is a used Mitsubishi film extrusion line that has been upgraded with new components such as dies, thickness gauges and chill rolls imported from Germany, France and the U.S. It will be used to coextrude three-layer films with thicknesses of 12-50 microns and widths of 81/4 feet to nearly 10 feet. Annual capacity is 3.3 million pounds. In addition to R&D uses, the line will make small commercial batches of high-value-added products.
``It strengthens Fuwei Films' competitive advantage by allowing us to research the development of multiple-layer BOPET films and increasingly focus on high-value-added production,'' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Xiaoan said in a news release.
The R&D line is China's first domestic pilot production with multiflow channel dies capable of multilayer coextrusion, the release said. It is scheduled to begin trial runs by the end of the year.
Fuwei currently has total capacity of 81.8 million pounds, comprising its own two lines and a leased line. About a third of its sales are exports to overseas customers. Major end markets include tobacco and alcohol products, processed food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Fuwei's stock price is trying to rebound from its lowest point, in mid-June. Net sales stood at $28.5 million for the first half of 2007.