TOKYO (Oct. 27, 2:45 p.m. ET) — British engineering polymers maker Victrex plc is spending US $3.2 million to set up a technology development center in Tokyo, joining existing centers in Shanghai and in the United Kingdom, the company announced at an Oct. 27 news conference at Japan's International Plastic Fair trade show.
The technology center includes a Sumitomo injection molding machine, a wear tester for the automotive industry and other lab equipment designed to speed up the company's response to Japanese customers, said Tim Cooper, managing director of the Victrex Polymer Solutions unit.
“We recognize Japan's place as clearly being a global leader in innovative engineering,” Cooper said. “Listening to customers we've decided to invest in this new technical center and the staff to speed up our response times and get closer to the industry in Japan.”
The center opened Oct. 24 and has 28 staff. It and the Shanghai tech center focus on application and processing development, while the U.K. center, at its corporate headquarters in Lancashire, focuses on new product development, Victrex said.
The Tokyo center will put particular emphasis on automotive, mass transit, electronics, alternative energy and an emerging aerospace industry in Japan, the company said.
Cooper said in spite of uncertainty created by the Euro-zone debt problems, the American economic slowdown or the high Japanese yen, the Tokyo center is a long-term investment.
“There are short-term uncertainties but strategically Victrex believes that technical leadership is a fundamental part of what we need to do for our customers,” he said.
The company finished out its 2011 fiscal year at the end of September with production of 2,860 metric tons, up 13 percent, Cooper said.
Victrex manufactures various grades of polyaryletherketones-based materials such as its PEEK resins, coating, films and pipes. The company is also relocating its Japan headquarters to the technical center.