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TBVC doubles size, capacity of China plant

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Trelleborg/ Vibracoustic recently expanded this facility in Yantai, China.

DARMSTADT, Germany—Trelleborg/ Vibracoustic has completed an extensive expansion at its anti-vibration products plant in Yantai, China.

It is spending about $31 million to double the size of the factory to approximately 172,000 square feet and add machinery. The addition will ultimately boost the production capacity at the facility two-fold.

In addition to manufacturing, the plant handles some product assembly and has a research and development operation with capabilities for tooling and process design.

The complex currently employs about 380. The company plans to add more employees in 2015 as it gains new growth, a company spokeswoman said.

Trelleborg/Vibracoustic previously focused on chassis mounts and commercial vehicle air springs at the facility. The expansion and additional machinery will now allow it to make engine mounts and torsional vibration dampers for local and global original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers.

Volume-wise, anti-vibration products are a big market in China, she said. “Although smaller cars do not contain as many AVS products as premium cars, the volumes compensate for that. In any case, the demand for TBVC's AVS solutions and products is high.”

A joint venture of Trelleborg A.B. and Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies GmbH & Co., the company anticipates a sales increase of almost 40 percent at the Yantai facility in 2015 and it expects “solid double digit growth rates for China going forward,” according to CEO Hans-Juergen Goslar.

Because of that, he said, “we are continuously expanding our local capabilities. With our new state-of-the-art production units and well-trained employees in Yantai, we have a broader basis to serve our local as well as our global customers in China even better.”

TBVC began constructing the factory in the second half of 2013. Matthias Sckuhr, president of the company's China/Asia-Pacific operation, said that because of the cooperation of local authorities, contractors and suppliers, the company was able to speed up the process of building the addition and completing the expansion project, enabling it to launch production quickly.

He said a key draw of Yantai “is the good talent pool available in the region. This enables us to build up our skilled work force further.”

Most of the production at the expanded factory is earmarked for China and the Asia-Pacific region as well as for global original equipment manufacturers, the spokeswoman said.

TBVC, which has a global work force of around 10,000 and had sales of about $2.1 billion in 2013, also has a plant in Wuxi, China, that produces chassis and engine mounts as well as isolators and dampers. It features an R&D center for the Asia-Pacific region. The factory employs more than 1,000.

The company is preparing for further growth in Asia, the spokeswoman said, but no specific plans have been released.

The automotive industry in China is still growing, the firm said. With around 20 million vehicles manufactured in 2013, the country is by far the largest vehicle producing nation in the world, the firm claimed.

It estimates that by 2018, the vehicle build will exceed 30 million units a year in China.