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EDI expands China factory, adds staff in India

U.S. firm Extrusion Dies Industries is opening a much larger facility in China this year, as part of a longer-term investment to develop stronger capabilities for Asia-focused product development and manufacturing.

EDI will spend at least $5m over the next five years on the China plant, sales director Robert Deitrick said at the Plastindia trade show in New Delhi.

The company will be moving this year from an 18,300-square-foot factory to a 48,400-square-foot facility in Shanghai.

The company also is adding its first direct EDI employees in India, two service technicians, as it sees that market starting to grow, he said.

But more importantly, the company plans to shift the China facilitys focus away from support work and more to developing products for growing local markets in Asia, including India.

"We are going to move it towards being a manufacturing centre for the local market," Deitrick said. "We will look to produce new equipment for the local market in China. Right now it is mostly a rework centre."

The changes will be phased-in gradually over the next five years. EDIs plant in Wisconsin, US, will focus on higher-value-added products and handle the vast majority of the rest of EDIs global markets, he said.

The company had looked at adding manufacturing in India, but it ultimately decided on China because EDIs India sales right now are only about 30% of its China sales, Deitrick said.

For a company of its size C exceeding $60m in annual sales C it did not make sense to have manufacturing in both India and China, he said.

However, the market in India holds interesting opportunities for EDI, which specializes in dies and other equipment for flat plastic applications like sheet, film, extrusion coating and fluid coating.

India uses more pouches and films for flexible packaging of food and medical products, and that will create a number of potential opportunities as the countrys consumer market grows, he said.

"The Indian market is one of the best emerging markets C its second only to China," Deitrick said. "China is growing faster. However, the opportunity in India with its emerging middle class will be huge."

Right now, Indian polymer consumption per person is very low, about 13 pounds (6 kg) annually, compared with a worldwide per-capita average of 59 pounds (27 kg) and 79 pounds (36 kg) in China, according to figures presented at a conference held at Plastindia.

But EDI noted that it has a strong customer base in India. For example, the firm already manufactures a majority of dies for one of Indias largest makers of raffia, Lohia Starlinger, Deitrick said. As that market moves from monolayer extrusion to more sophisticated coextrusion, it will mean opportunities for the company, he said.


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