Michigan auto parts supplier Anderson-Cook Inc. plans to expand its Shanghai operations, including plastic molding, to handle growing demand for more precision automotive components in China.
The company, based in Clinton Township, near Fraser, Mich., plans to move from a 37,600-square-foot plant to a new, 64,500-square-foot facility later this year, and has seen its sales in China double every year since 2008, company officials said.
The firm plans to add four or five injection molding machines to the 21 presses it now has in Shanghai, sales manager Rebecca Yue said in an interview at the International Auto Parts & Accessories Expo, held June 9-11 in Guangzhou, China.
The Shanghai factory has Engel, Battenfeld, Milacron and Nissei machines, with clamping forces of 7 metric tons to more than 200 tonnes of clamping force. The plant will also add metalworking machinery.
“We have many current customers and potential customers who are very interested in our gear transmission housings,” including plastic components, Yue said.
The company does not compete in China's mass market for auto parts, sticking to components where precision is required, and it is seeing demand for those types of parts rise, she said.
Most of its customers are the China operations of large foreign auto suppliers, including Lear, Johnson Controls Inc. and Visteon, but it is starting to see more interest from domestic Chinese carmakers as they seek to upgrade and offer products like better anti-lock braking systems, she said.
The Shanghai factory specializes in products like gears and shafts, which make up about 77 percent of sales. It is also involved in office products and medical assemblies.
The company employs 130 at Shanghai, but is unsure how many employees it will add in the expansion, Yue said.
Like factories in other big coastal cities, wages have risen substantially at the Shanghai plant — more than 10 percent a year for the last several years — prompting Anderson-Cook to look at more automation, she said.
Anderson-Cook has eight factories in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and China. It opened the Shanghai facility in 2005.