FRANKFURT, Germany—Tristone Flowtech Group GmbH has completed construction of a rubber hose plant in China to broaden its presence in the nation.
Located in Shuzhou, China, 62 miles northwest of Shanghai, the new factory spans about 91,500 square feet. It will begin producing engine and battery cooling hose systems as well as air charge hose in August, according to Guenter Froelich, president and CEO of Tristone.
No financial details of the project were disclosed.
The factory has a work force of about 20, he said, but he anticipates it will grow to about 100 by the end of 2013 and 200 by the close of 2014.
Initially, hose sys¬tems manufactured at the facility primarily will go to Ford Motor Co. and Volvo A.B., Froelich said. Later on, it will also produce systems for General Motors Co.
He said the company has other automotive customers with a presence in China, such as BMW, but those manufacturers import hose from Frankfurt-head- quartered Tristone's plants in Europe and haven't contracted business for the Shuzhou factory.
"With this new plant in Shuzhou, our automotive supplier group did a further important step to complete our worldwide manufacturing footprint," he said. "We are able as a highly specialized, mid-sized automotive supplier group to follow our customers also in the growth markets of China and Asia" and to further penetrate the region's automotive market.
Tristone's newest hose systems factory is the ninth within the group that's dedicated to the Chinese and South Korean markets, he said.
The automotive goods manufacturer which became a stand-alone firm in July 2010 when Trelleborg A.B. sold its fluid solutions business to German holding company Bavaria Industriekapital A.G., has expanded its operation into India and Mexico during the last year and a half.
Tristone established a hose manufacturing base in North America when it acquired a 118,400-sq.-ft. plant in Delicias, Mexico, in July 2011.
The company refurbished the factory, added machinery and had it producing fluid cooling hoses for NAFTA automotive market customers in early 2012. The firm then added battery cooling hoses and systems to its capabilities at the site in autumn.
While it was expanding into North America, the manufacturer restructured its operation in Europe.
Tristone reduced its work force at its Tarazona, Spain, facility; closed research and development laboratories in France and Italy after opening a large central R&D lab in Walbrzych, Poland; and added new concepts at its factories in Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Italy, Spain and Turkey, increasing productivity by about 10 percent in the process.
In April 2012, Tristone signed a technical assistance agreement with Bony Polymers Ltd.—a producer of a wide range of rubber products for the automotive industry in India—that serves as the basis for establishing a manufacturing presence in India.
The pact provides a framework that allows the firms to combine their strengths in the country.
Tristone's target is to establish a joint venture facility in India, Froelich said.
Bony and Tristone are working together on common projects. Tristone is providing technical support in the production and logistics of engine cooling and turbocharger hoses, pipes and surge tanks.