Medical packaging thermoformer Prent Corp. is building on its strategy of supplying customers globally, with expansions under way in Costa Rica, Malaysia and Denmark.
All that growth is on top of a 50,000-square-foot expansion last year at its headquarters plant in Janesville, Wis., which boosted the square footage of that facility to 300,000 square feet.
“We started on the Costa Rica project in late 2011,” said President and CEO Joseph Pregont in an interview at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West show, held Feb. 14-16 in Anaheim. “It's going to be ready late in the second quarter.”
The Heridia, Costa Rica, plant will be about 20,000 square feet and the company's seventh plant globally.
“It is primarily to serve our medical device customers who manufacture their devices or products in Costa Rica,” Pregont said. “They will get a lot of savings because we will be shipping raw materials there now, instead of shipping products from the mainland United States to Costa Rica.”
Pregont also said Prent will be moving into a brand-new, 180,000-square-foot facility this month in Johor, Malaysia. That plant will replace its current 80,000-square-foot facility in that country.
“It's a greenfield facility with Class 8 clean rooms. We've been working on it for about six months. Our expansion in Malaysia is based on a recovery in electronics markets and the growth in the medical device market.”
That move is similar to one two years ago when Prent relocated to a new plant in Shanghai that doubled its capacity in that country, and increased the number of clean rooms in China from one to three.
Also, the firm's 30,000-square-foot facility in Holbæk, Denmark, is “getting itself in position for an additional equipment expansion sometime this year” that will increase production capacity there by 50 percent, he said.
“We are continuing to position ourselves for the next move for where we need to be for our customers,” Pregont said. “We have to continue to supply our products where our customers want us to manufacture them.”
Pregont credits the firm's continued expansion and double-digit growth the past decade to “good people who are willing to work hard to improve our quality.”
“We are the only true global supplier to our customers, and we offer superior design and better quality,” Pregont said. “We are working hard to be innovative [and] develop new product solutions and ways to reduce costs because that is the objective of our customers.
“With the continued spiraling resin costs, our customers are demanding we come up with cost savings. So we continue to take costs out of our products and processes through more labor-efficient equipment, better designs and lighter products.”
Prent currently has about 1,600 employees, with about one-third of them in Janesville. Prent custom-builds its own thermoforming equipment and designs all of its facilities to be identical so it can move production and equipment from plant to plant.
Prent also has plants in Yauco, Puerto Rico, and Flagstaff, Ariz. Prent's sales are estimated at $300 million.