FRANKFURT, Germany—Tristone Flowtech Group GmbH's efforts to establish a manufacturing base in North America has come off without a hitch so far.
That move along with several others the company made last year, including a restructuring and optimization project, helped the company realize significant sales growth in 2011, according to Guenter Froelich, president and CEO of Tristone Flowtech Group. Revenues rose 14 percent to $241 million during the 12 months.
Tristone acquired a plant in Delicias, Mexico, in July 2011 and began setting up the 118,400-sq.-ft. factory to manufacture engine hoses and systems. All machinery is now in place and operating, he said, “and the start-up is running according to plan.”
The production ramp-up of fluid cooling hoses has begun for customers in the NAFTA automotive market, and the company is in the early stages of preparing the plant for the production launch of battery cooling hoses and systems, slated to begin sometime in autumn.
Turbochargers are also expected to be produced at the facility.
Frankfort-headquartered Tristone's aim with its new plant, which employs 41, is to significantly penetrate the NAFTA automotive market, Froelich said, and establish a strong manufacturing base in the region. He said the work force at the factory is expected to grow to 101 employees by the end of 2012.
Tristone manufactures products at the facility for BMW, Volkswagen A.G. and Ford Motor Co.
While the company has been working on that project, it also has implemented restructuring and optimizing measures to ensure the company continues to run efficiently.
During the last year, Froelich said, Tristone has reduced the work force at its Tarazona, Spain, plant by about 50 direct and indirect staffers, or 30 percent of the site's employees; closed research and development laboratories in France and Italy after opening a large central R&D lab in Walbrzych, Poland; and implemented kaizen and UCell concepts in its assembly factories in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, Italy and Turkey, which increased productivity by roughly 10 percent at the plants, he said.
Tristone, a spinoff of Trelleborg A.B., presently has a strong foundation in Europe, with about $256 million in sales annually, Froelich said. It hopes to build that kind of a business base in North America, he said.
It became a stand-alone company when Trelleborg sold its fluid solutions business to Bavaria Industriekapital A.G., a German industrial holding company.
Its compound portfolio consists of numerous polymer bases, including EPDM, silicone, butadiene and other materials.