Hong Kong cosmetic packaging manufacturer Jackel International (Asia) Ltd. is spending HK$60 million (US$7.7 million) to build its first wholly owned injection molding plant, in South China.
Jackel said it will open the facility in early 2008, in Dongguan, to cope with increasing quality and production demands from global makers of perfume, cosmetics and other consumer products.
The plant, PCM Sinoplast, will be located next to Jackel's existing cosmetics filling factory, and will focus on injection molding cosmetic packaging like caps, closures, lipsticks and compacts. The site may expand into medical component manufacturing. Customers include major cosmetics makers such as Elizabeth Arden, LancÃ´me and Dior.
Jackel already has an equity stake in a separate, Hong Kong-owned plastics molding operation in Dongguan, but that site does not have the high-production capabilities that the company needs, operations director Peter Kwok said Oct. 28 at K 2007 in Dusseldorf.
PCM Sinoplast will have 30 presses, both hydraulic and electric, including Arburg, Nissei, Toyo and Meiki machines. The plant will employ up to 300, but Kwok said rising labor and operating costs in China are pushing Jackel to automate heavily rather than rely on inexpensive labor.
PCM will launch at about 70-80 percent of the efficiency of a European or U.S. plant but the final goal is to reach the same efficiency level in five years, Kwok said.
``We want to do the most difficult products in this factory and fully automate,'' he said.
The firm also has stepped up quality-control efforts in the wake of product recalls of Chinese-made toys and other goods.
Jackel, for example, is helping its suppliers improve their in-process controls and internal audits. The firm also is boosting random final inspections and factory audits, checking its suppliers two or three times a month rather than once a month as it had done previously, Kwok said.
Jackel also is requiring heavy-metals suppliers to buy from approved vendors or provide certification, and it is setting up a heavy-metal detector in its factory for random checks to beef up safeguards it put in place several years ago, Kwok said.
In the past three months, the Chinese government has started pulling samples of many export shipments and testing them, which can sometimes delay shipments, he said. To help put mainland regulators at ease, Jackel is electronically supplying internal inspection records to the Chinese government so its inspectors have easier access to that information, according to Kwok.
``We spent a lot of time explaining to the government that Jackel is a well-trained manufacturing company,'' he said. ``Every ingredient we purchase has a tracking record.''