HANOVER, Germany ContiTech Fluid Technology is building a competence center for plastic lines in the U.S. It is the second plastics competence center worldwide after the first in Waltershausen, Thuringia. The company is investing about $11 million (€8.8 million) in the existing hose factory in Somersworth, N.H.
The first construction stage has recently gone into operation. “There is a major demand in North America. With the decision for plastics production at ContiTech Thermopol LLC, we are shortening transport distances and delivery times for the customer,” says business unit head Matthias Schönberg.
There are already so many orders from Ford and Chrysler that the capacities of the first plant that has only been in production since January will soon be exhausted, the company says. A second system will ease the pressure somewhat. It has already been ordered and will be installed in October. More machines are then set to follow in the long term. The number of plastic tubes produced by the end of 2013 is expected to increase fourfold compared to 2012.
The plant in Somersworth was more than doubled in size just two years ago. An additional nearly 40,000-square-foot factory building was built for the extrusion of turbocharger hoses and the assembly of SCR hose line systems for exhaust gas cleaning in diesel engines. Volume assembly of SCR lines for the engine manufacturer Cummins started in June, and lines for Caterpillar will follow shortly. Previously, only silicone hoses were produced in Somersworth.
The expansion of the plastics technology operations requires that a third, 72,000-square-foot production hall be built on the more than eight-acre plant grounds. As a result, the number of employees is to rise from 220 at present to 335 by the end of 2013.