A joint venture between two compounders is expanding in India thanks to growing demand in the automotive sector.
Autotech-Sirmax India Pvt. Ltd. is owned by Sirmax SpA of Cittadella, Italy, and Tipco Group of Mumbai, India, that already operates two facilities in India.
Plans are for Autotech-Sirmax to expand an existing site in Palwal, India, by adding approximately 7,000 square meters of space and four new extrusion lines to the existing 10,000 square meters, said Leonardo Forner, group marketing and sustainability coordinator for Sirmax.
The project is already underway and expected to be completed by the end of this year, Forner said during an Oct. 17 show floor interview at Fakuma.
A new greenfield plant, meanwhile, is being planned in southeast India near the Bangalore-Hosur region, a 6 million euro project that adds some 15 kilotons of capacity.
Once both the expansion and new project are complete, the company will have a total of 82 kilotons of capacity per year in India.
Forner said the substitution of plastics for metals in automotive plastics is the key driver in the decision to expand in India, where the company also has a facility near New Delhi.
While other parts of the world are becoming more focused on increasing the use of recycled plastics in automotive applications, India is at a stage where plastic substitution for metal is becoming more and more common, he explained.
India, Forner said, is such a large country that the joint venture wants to have locations as close to customers as possible. Being close to customers allows for a just-in-time approach for the company to supply resin to firms that then make parts for the automotive industry.
"The market is increasing a lot because there are many applications that are still done with aluminum, steel, with metal. We have many applications where we can make a better replacement because the market is very new for these kinds of plastics in many segments," he said.
"What we did in Europe 10 years ago, 15 years ago, now is happening in India. That's why the market is increasing a lot," Forner said.
Employment will increase due to both the expansion and the new construction, but Forner did not have an estimate during his interview.
"We want to be close to our customers' production facilities because otherwise you are not able to be fast serving your customers," Forner said. "If you can cut three days, four days shipping, that's a very important question. That's a very important issue."
Sirmax CEO Massimo Pavin was on the show floor during the first day but unavailable during the time Forner was interviewed.
"These actions will consolidate the partnership between Sirmax and the Tipco Group and lay the foundation for even greater future growth than we have experienced thus far. Upgrading of the Palwal site and building the new plant, which will be ready by 2026, will enable us to further strengthen our position in the Indian and Southeast Asian markets," Pavin said in a statement.
Forner said: "That's a very key point for our company. Be very close to customers. Be very flexible. Be short time. Work with just in time. ... It's a key concept."
Sirmax currently has 13 production plants: six in Italy, two in Poland, one in Brazil, two in the United States and two in India. In 2022, the company had a total sales of 501 million euros and employed 850 people.