Extruder maker Battenfeld-Cincinnati Austria GmbH has expanded its capacity by about 20 percent at its facility in China to handle increased demand, in part, from the surge in public-works projects in the country.
In an interview at Chinaplas, held April 19-22 in Shanghai, company executives declined to disclose details of the expansion but said they added capacity and staff at their factory in Foshan, China, in the second half of last year, as orders for extrusion equipment rose.
Demand for the company's extrusion lines in China are now roughly back to levels before the economic crisis in 2008, said Walter HÃ¤der, the Vienna-based managing director of the company's infrastructure division.
The company expects its business in China to be up 20-30 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, although the first half of 2009 was down significantly in the economic crisis, HÃ¤der said.
The main driver in China right now is in our infrastructure division, HÃ¤der said. Government infrastructure stimulus spending is very good for the industry and very good for our customers.
The infrastructure unit includes equipment for a range of applications like water and sewer, gas distribution, telecommunications, irrigation and heating.
HÃ¤der said the company has also gotten a boost from China's PVC window profile market, which has recovered from the significant expansion cycle it went through in 2004 and 2005, when Chinese window maker Dalian Shide Plastic Industry Co. Ltd. undertook a massive capital expansion.
In part to feed Dalian Shide's plans, the company's Cincinnati Extrusion GmbH unit set up a manufacturing plant in Dalian in 2000 and supplied 300 PVC extrusion lines to Dalian Shide.
But Cincinnati and Battenfeld consolidated the Dalian operation into Battenfeld's Foshan factory in 2008, at the same time combining Battenfeld and Cincinnati operations in China into a new entity, B+C Extrusion Systems (Foshan) Ltd.
In early April, the companies announced a similar consolidation on a global scale, combining sister companies Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik GmbH, Cincinnati and the Foshan operations worldwide under the Battenfeld-Cincinnati brand, and dividing operations into three end-market sectors: construction, infrastructure and packaging.
U.S.-based American Maplan Corp., another partner company, is also part of the new organization. All the companies are owned by British private equity firm Triton.
About 80 percent of the firm's production in Foshan is sold within China, with some going to neighboring Asian countries, HÃ¤der said. Customers are making purchasing decisions later and later, which increases the importance of having local production. Battenfeld-Cincinnati has five factories in Europe, North America and Asia.
At Chinaplas, the company showed its new LeanEx63 extrusion line for making polyethylene pipes from 16-63 millimeters in diameter. The system is designed for hot and cold water applications, and was developed by the company's China operations, HÃ¤der said.
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