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HCP ramps up its production capacity in China

Just a little over a year after announcing a first big industrial investment program including in particular, the construction of a new of 20,000 sqm (215,000 sq ft) production unit on one of the existing Chinese sites, to host a complete aluminium processing line, Eddy Wu, President and CEO, has announced the expansion of its plant in Suzhou and is considering an industrial presence in Eastern Europe and in the longer term, South America. More details below...

Eddy Wu, President and CEO

Eddy Wu, President and CEO

Premium Beauty News - With 4,000 employees, more than $ 200 million in revenue, five plants (three in China, one in the United States and one in Mexico), HCP is a beautiful machine, with operations in the packaging, make–up, skin-care and perfume sectors, and whose main asset remains innovation. You have announced a new industrial expansion in China. A mean to significantly increase your industrial capacity?

Eddy Wu - Absolutely. We can speak of a double digit increase rate. Plans are to add 50 injection moulding machines and 10 metallisation and painting lines during an upgrade that will also allow expansion of lean manufacturing programmes. The new expansion will not only give us additional space to expand our capacity but also, maybe more importantly, provide more flexibility for HCP to implement various lean manufacturing production which tends to be more difficult to realize in a traditional packaging factory.

Premium Beauty News - A few words about the new aluminium processing unit!

Eddy Wu - Yes, we now have at our disposal a new aluminium processing plant which currently employs 200 people and which is located near our existing plant in Huai’an. It covers an area 27,000 sqm (300,000 sq ft). The building itself covers 11,500 sqm (124,000 sq ft). All the moulds are made on site. The plant can produce around 200 million pieces per year and of course is equipped with several automatic and semi-automatic anodizing lines.

Premium Beauty News - In parallel, environmental protection is constantly on the agenda?

Eddy Wu - We are working hard to reduce carbon footprint through environmental programmes. We use renewable energy sources to produce heat in order to support manufacturing processes and install solar panels and wind turbines in the grounds of the factories to generate electricity.

Premium Beauty News - Innovation remains one of your watch words!

Eddy Wu - You remember that we have set up a “Innovation Committee” in which the senior management of the company meets every month to discuss of the proposed innovation, decide on priorities between different ideas and ensure that the ones selected receive the necessary resources for their implementation. This includes both ideas on new designs and on new features.

Premium Beauty News - You have focused in particular on material “effects”?

Eddy Wu - We all have a secret urge to ditch civilisation for a quiet cabin in the woods somewhere. Maybe a plot of land with some plants and flowers and a river running through it too, or at least a babbling brook. And trees everywhere, towering overhead, leaving just enough room to stargaze. These fantasies have inspired our R & D team to bring a little bit of nature back to packaging, with a “natural wood effect” and some spectacular “water effects”. The first one uses real wood pulp mixed with PP base material to create a wonderfully textured and natural grain finish that looks every bit like the real thing. And about the “Water effects”, we use two different methods, 3-D Droplets and Gelology. 3-D Droplets are formed by a unique manufacturing spray process that creates a droplet effect over metallization leaving a tactile and extremely realistic finish. The aspect an appearance of 3-D Droplets can be controlled to meet specific customer requirements. Great visual effects have been created using “Gelology” technology with graphics created by us to give a dramatic “bubbles” effect.

Premium Beauty News - Are your ambitions in terms of industrial growth in the rest of the world still relevant?

Eddy Wu - More than ever! We are working very hard to establish a present in Eastern Europe in the mid-term and potentially in South America as well in the longer term.

Interview by Jean-Yves Bourgeois

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