Apec built a 35,000-sq-ft facility in Shenzhen for mid- to high-volume medical molding.
While it comes as no surprise that China continues to attract foreign investment at a feverish pace, the phenomenon has a newer wrinkle: U.S.- and Europe-based suppliers to the med-tech industry are increasingly heading east. Zeus (Orangeburg, SC; www.zeusinc.com), a supplier of extruded products, and contract manufacturer Apec (Baldwin Park, CA; www.apecplastics.com) both recently announced the opening of facilities in China.
To provide better service to a growing customer base in China, Zeus chose Guangzhou as the location for its first sales office in Asia. "Our goal is to support our current customers and to develop new customers as the regional economy expands," says international sales manager Andy Robertson. The new office will handle every market currently serviced by Zeus.
Specializing in polymer extrusion technologies, Zeus extrudes high-performance engineering resins into heat-shrink, Sub-Lite-Wall, ePTFE, multilumen, and lay-flat tubing in tight tolerances. The company operates nine facilities on six campuses in North America and Europe.
For contract manufacturer Apec, setting up shop in China also was a natural progression. The company had been shipping medical parts to Asia for its existing customer base of Fortune100 medical OEMs for four years. It was time to take the business a step further. "Asia has become an essential market for us and for our customers," says Anura Welikala, president of Apec. "We see enormous opportunity for growth."
The company built a 35,000-sq-ft facility in Shenzhen for mid- to high-volume medical molding. Apec chose Shenzhen as the location for its plant because of the city's high-end manufacturing infrastructure, abundant workforce with technical skills, and its proximity to the shipping port of Hong Kong. Moreover, savings in labor costs will allow Apec to take on more labor-intensive parts.
The plant is designed to meet the same manufacturing standards as the company's U.S. headquarters. In addition to a Class 100,000 cleanroom, the new facility is equipped with Toyo injection molding machines, ERP software, and auxiliary equipment shipped from the United States and Japan. It is certified to ISO 13485: 2003. In-house design and mold making are available through Apec's sister company and full-service mold maker, Magor Mold (San Dimas, CA; www.magormold.com). All molds are built and validated in the United States before they are shipped to the China plant, says sales manager Felix Rozuk.
While Apec handles thermoplastic, silicone (LIM), insert, and two-shot molding in its 72,000-sq-ft facility in the United States, Apec Asia currently focuses exclusively on thermoplastic molding. Both plants provide single-source solutions from concept to market delivery. The manufacture of medical parts constitutes almost all of Apec's business, according to Rozuk.