SUZHOU, China—Tekni-Plex Inc. is expanding its global footprint and product offerings through two of its subsidiaries.
First, the firm is investing $15 million for a new manufacturing facility in Suzhou, near Shanghai. The firm said it represents the single largest recent investment by Tekni-Plex, responding to the growing needs of the Asia-Pacific pharmaceutical and medical device markets. The site will manufacture products from three of the firm's units—Natvar, Colorite and Action Technology.
In a joint move, the facility will produce Natvar's recently announced silicone extrusion tubing capabilities for catheters, feeding tubes, drug delivery and peristaltic pump applications, as well as microextrusion tubing that targets many neurovascular interventional therapies and surgical applications.
And finally, Colorite recently established a new dedicated line for TPE extrusion at its Holland, Ohio, facility, localizing its Cellene-branded line of TPEs in North America for medical devices, packaging and other regulated markets.
"The new China facility offers specialized space for building a medical component and assembly business as well as opportunities in silicone," Russell Hubbard—vice president, international and general manager, Tekni-Plex Technologies Suzhou—said in an email. "It complements the new investments in Costa Rica with state-of-the-art facilities and strengthens our testing capabilities in Asia."
More space needed
The Suzhou plant spans 140,000 square feet and is only about 30 miles away from its current Suzhou site, which it is designed to replace. Hubbard said the facility will employ about 140, with more jobs forthcoming as business dictates. He added that while the new factory has comparable total space, it also has a better layout and material flow. It provides about five times the clean room space compared to its former facility.
Production has stopped at the old location, and Hubbard said almost all of the employees from the old site have accepted jobs at the new one.
"We've been working for the last three or so years on putting up a new facility in China," Natvar General Manager Bob Donohue said. "The reason we moved is we outgrew the environment. We needed to open a new facility with larger clean rooms and better flow for increased silicone extrusion, injection molding and microextrusion production capacity."
The facility is designed to give Tekni-Plex a stronger presence in what it views as a growing Chinese market for medical devices. The firm said Natvar's new tight-tolerance microextrusion silicone medical tubing and overall expansion of its silicone extrusion capabilities should give it a key advantage.