(From the April 2, 2012, issue of Rubber & Plastics News)
STOCKHOLM, Sweden—Significant expansions are in the works at Trelleborg A.B., with additions in North America and Europe by Trelleborg Sealing Solutions in the forefront.
The Life Sciences segment of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is planning to open a full-scale factory in North America, and boost production capacity at its facility in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland, according to a Trelleborg A.B. spokeswoman. The decision to move ahead with both investments was made in the fourth quarter.
A number of issues on the North American project have yet to be completed, the spokeswoman said, and full details about it probably will be released in the near future.
“We have started to expand our existing manufacturing footprint in Europe and further steps will follow in upcoming months,” she said.
The addition at the Stein am Rhein plant, expected to begin later this year, will triple the site's clean room capacity and increase overall manufacturing capability by 30 percent.
The factory produces advanced liquid silicone molded products for the life sciences and food and beverage industries, the spokeswoman said.
Trelleborg obtained the facility when it purchased the Silcotech Group in April 2011 to increase the size of its liquid silicone precision seal and components business.
“For us, life science encompasses companies with biotechnology, biomedical technologies, life system technologies, biomedical devices, pharmaceuticals and medical technologies,” the spokeswoman said.
She said that the Life Sciences business is a growth segment worldwide for a number of reasons. “There is a growing population globally, especially in developing countries that require access to medicines, while in developed nations there is an aging population with greater medical needs.”
In addition, she said, standards have become more stringent, and there is an increasing focus on research and testing to advance medical science.
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions recently completed two major expansions in China and India.
A plant built in Bangalore, India, will boost the firm's presence in the country significantly and increase its global production capacity and efficiency.
The $139 million factory gradually is coming on stream, and to some extent is intended to serve the firm's customers that are moving operations to India because of the nation's strong industrial growth, Trelleborg said.
In China, Trelleborg has expanded a 107,640-sq.-ft. factory in Shanghai it opened in August 2006, the spokeswoman said. The company didn't disclose the size or cost of the expansion at the facility, which serves the entire Asian region.
Besides manufacturing, the Shanghai operation has a large research, testing, design, product development and technical support center. The project boosts the firm's capacity in the country and was needed to handle increased demand for the high-technology sealing products produced at the site, the firm said.
Demand was strong in all segments and geographic areas for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions in 2011, the spokeswoman said. Organic sales for the business—which serves the industrial, aerospace, light vehicle, transportation equip- ment and life sciences markets—rose 16 percent and net sales 15 percent.