SHANGHAI, China—In less than a year, officials at TrelleborgVibracoustic expect its facility in Yantai, China to be twice the plant it is today.
The anti-vibration product designer and manufacturer plans to increase the size of its components factory in Yantai significantly, doubling the facility's capacity in the process, a company spokeswoman said. In addition, officials expect the plant, one of two the company operates in China, to have twice as many employees once the facility is fully operationa
The 91,500-sq.-ft. plant will grow almost two-fold with the addition of about 90,400 square feet. Construction on the project will begin in the second half of 2013, the spokeswoman said, and completion is expected in the first quarter of 2014.
Strong sales growth led to the decision to expand production capacity at the Yantai site, according to Matthias Sckuhr, president of the firm's China and Asia Pacific business.
He said TrelleborgVibracoustic has additional land available in Yantai, "so it makes perfect sense to expand the plant in preparation for our next phase of growth in the region. Booked sales are forecast to increase by over 40 percent next year with a similarly positive outlook for 2015."
TrelleborgVibracoustic's China operation, which employs about 1,200, has a work force of more than 250 at the Yantai factory, according to the spokeswoman.
Launched in 2010, the Yantai factory initially produced air springs and suspension components for commercial vehicles. It has added passenger car bushings and recently installed a production line to make torsional vibration dampers for the Asia-Pacific market.
Because the investment is in an existing facility, the firm said, it can move quickly to roll out the project. TrelleborgVibracoustic said the Yantai site is ideal for the expansion because the factory has an established route to market, available local contractors and a trained work force in place.
The firm's Wuxi site began production in 1996. It was relocated to a nearly 700,000-sq.-ft. complex, designed to house the company's research and development facility for the region, in 2005.
About 900 are employed at the site, which because of substantial growth and an expanding local customer base is close to maximum capacity, "so we have little scope to increase production there," Sckuhr said.
TrelleborgVibracoustic was created in July 2012 when Trelleborg A.B. and Freudenberg & Co. K.G. merged their growing antivibration products businesses into a large, stand-alone company. Trelleborg owned the Wuxi plant prior to formation of the JV, and Freudenberg owned the Yantai facility.
When the two factories joined forces, the production operation became one of the largest suppliers of automotive antivibration products in the region, the company said.
"China is an incredibly exciting market for us, and we are pleased to be an established player in the local automotive arena," Sckuhr said. "Wuxi will remain our principal R&D facility for Asia-Pacific, and Yantai will continue to support our expansion in the region."
TrelleborgVibracoustic, with sales of more than $2 billion in 2012, employs more than 8,000 in 18 countries. It has quickly branched out since it was form¬ed in mid-2012.
In October 2012, the firm entered into a partnership with South Africa's Ikh¬wezi Investment Holding to make chassis bushings in the nation. It formed another joint venture five months later when the firm and HSS Otomotiv ve Lastik Sanayi A.S. merged their commercial vehicle air springs businesses and established a JV based in Germany.