France's Top Clean Packaging Group plans to double the size of its thermoforming factory in China in response to growing demand for health-care packaging, the first part of what it said will be a larger global expansion.
The Peschadoires, France-based company will expand its Cartolux (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. subsidiary to 2,400 square feet next year, boosting its clean room capacity and bringing in some unspecified new technologies, said Ronny Debaere, global market development manager, in an interview at the Medtec China show, held Sept. 7-8 in Shanghai.
“It is a major investment because we are expanding the clean room and adding new technology and new machines,” he said. “What we see in the pipeline will force us to have more capacity.”
He declined to say what technologies the company will add to the factory in Suzhou, China, but at facilities in Europe the company has capability for injection molding, liquid silicone rubber molding and plastics recycling.
The company established the Suzhou factory five years ago, but discovered it had to spend a lot of time on market development to build demand for what it described as its higher-end packaging.
Those projects are now returning strong business, he said.
The company also is seeing business grow because it has added more secondary operations like lidding, printing and making polypropylene mounting sheet for surgical instruments.
The Suzhou factory has three thermoforming machines and employs about 40 people, with a “healthy mix” of multinational customers in China and local firms. Top Clean also set up a sales office in India last year, managed by its Suzhou operation, he said.
In addition to expanding its packaging business, Cartolux also has launched production of a new machine for sealing packaging, introduced last year and on display at Medtec.
The new machine, designed by the company and made at its factories in France and China, has upgrades designed for the packaging makers such as quick tool changes, Debaere said.
“We cannot build them fast enough,” he said.
In addition to enlarging Suzhou, Debaere said the company plans to expand its global footprint by building a factory where it currently is not covered on the globe. He declined to specify where, but the company currently has production in Europe and Asia, and Debaere said its multinational customers want suppliers with footprints in all major markets.