GUANGZHOU, CHINA — Milacron LLC is spending more than $10 million to double capacity of its hot runner and controller manufacturing operation in Kunshan, China, as it sees conversion of molds to hot runners continuing to grow in Asia.
The Cincinnati-based company made the announcement at a May 20 news conference on the opening day of the Chinaplas trade show in Guangzhou, and CEO Tom Goeke said in an interview afterward that the investment is mainly aimed at the local manufacturers rather than exports.
“It's China market driven,” he said. “We haven't talked publicly about it until right now. The details are that it's to expand our machining capability.
“You still have a massive conversion from cold runner to hot runner, in China and in Asia,” Goeke said. So even if you have slowed growth in the total plastics conversion market, you have still a higher growth in the hot runner applications.”
He said increasing automation in China is pushing more hot runners as well. He described the investment as "in excess of $10 million."
The Kunshan facility, which was formerly part of Mold Masters before Milacron bought that company, opened in 2005 and had previously doubled in size in 2011.
Milacron officials at the news conference said the Kunshan plant has grown to 650 employees in the last decade, up from 20, and today is the largest manufacturing plant in the Mold Masters unit.
The latest expansion will be completed in 18 months, he said.
In an April filing for an initial public offering in the United States, the company said it had the had the No. 2 spot in the hot runners market globally, holding the top spots in the United States and Europe and the No. 2 position in Asia.
Milacron said it spent $17 million in the previous four years doubling of capacity for hot runners in Kunshan.