Auxiliary equipment maker Conair Group Inc., which started production in Shanghai in 2007, plans to open sales and service operations this year in Suzhou and Beijing, executives said at Chinaplas.
Conair already has a sales and service center in Dongguan, China. A longtime Conair operation in Taipei handles sales, service and parts, and does some manufacturing.
President Christopher Keller said boosting service to customers in China is an important for Conair. ``Our strategy is to be able to serve global customers, but do it locally,'' he said at an April 17 news conference at Chinaplas in Shanghai.
Conair also will set up a trading company in Shanghai, which Keller said is a legal arrangement to expand its ability to serve customers and import equipment into China.
At the trade show, Conair showed Carousel Plus dryers made at its Shanghai plant. Conair and sister company Rapid Granulator AB opened the 32,000-square-foot factory early last year. Conair now makes small and medium-sized dryers in Shanghai, and officials plan to add temperature control units, larger dryers and other accessories for material-handling systems.
It marks the first China production for Conair, which is based in Cranberry Township, Pa.
Keller does not plan to ship China-made auxiliary equipment to its home market in the United States. The reason Conair now is manufacturing in China was to get closer to customers with factories in Asia, he said.
``We've done it specifically for cutting our lead times to our customers,'' Keller said.
For Conair, 2007 was a big year for globalization. In addition to the China plant, Conair formed a joint venture with Indian auxiliary maker Nu-Vu Engineering for manufacturing in Ahmedabad.
To ship auxiliary equipment by boat from Conair's factory in Franklin, Pa., over to China could take anywhere from eight to 15 weeks, and the products have to clear customs, Keller said. From the Shanghai plant, Conair can ship to customers within one or two weeks after the order comes in, he added.
Keller said officials think Conair's sales could increase 20 to 40 percent a year in Asia. He declined to say what percentage of total sales comes from the region, or talk about production capacity in China.
Conair showed two Carousel Plus dehumidifying dryers at the show: a standard machine-side model for throughput rates of 132-440 pounds an hour, and a smaller, MDC-brand of mobile drying and conveying system on a wheeled cart.
Conair also introduced its EnergySmart resin dryer for PET preform molders to the Asian market.
Larry Doyle, vice president of global sales and marketing, said drying accounts for 25 percent of energy used in a preform molding plant. EnergySmart uses two independent drying loops to dramatically cut that energy consumption, he said at the press conference.