Georg Utz Materials Handling Co. Ltd., the Chinese unit of Swiss-based manufacturer of plastic containers Georg Utz Holding AG, has opened a 107,000-square-foot factory in Suzhou.
The factory is currently undergoing pilot production and is scheduled to be fully operational next month, said Cherry Feng, secretary to the general manager, in a phone interview with Plastics News.
The $45 million factory, the company's first in China, presently employs between 30 and 40 workers, and is highly automated.
The ISO 9001-certified factory is equipped with injection molding machines up to 2,700 metric tonnes of clamping force and vacuum forming machines. The equipment comes from Chinese subsidiaries of global machinery manufacturers such as Austria's Engel Group.
The plant makes plastics storage and transport containers and pallets for customers from the automotive, pharmaceutical and electronics industries.
Sitting on a 9.8 acre parcel, the factory has reserved plenty of space for future expansion, the company said.
Utz chose Suzhou because of “the great market potential in China. Suzhou has a good reputation for its labor cost and quality and good local government policy as well,” Feng said.
She also said the company plans to launch phrase two of the project, if phase one goes well and reaches annual sales target of 300 million yuan ($47 million).
The company also is considering setting up a factory in North China, but it has not formed a concrete plan, she added.
Georg Utz Materials Handling (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. was founded in 2005, when the company started investment research. Construction of the plant began in October 2013.
Utz Group CEO Axel Ritzberger said in a statement: "We managed to set up a highly modern plant here in China without any delay, one which fulfills all European standards. This is thanks to the uncompromising quality demand, which also applies to our plant in Suzhou. We only offer our customers and partners the usual Utz quality.”
Founded in 1947, Utz Group has units throughout Europe and the United States. Using injection molding and thermoforming technologies, it makes boxes, trays, containers, dollies, pallets and technical parts for a wide variety of specialized applications, including food, medical and hazardous materials.