Do you know Shangyu? A "small" city with just over a million inhabitants, about a three hour drive from Shanghai. This is the place where the Ileos Group decided to settle in 2004 by the means of a joint venture with a Chinese partner specialized in plastic injection and metal processing. Reflectively a good idea, since after seven years, the plant now employs some 1,400 people spread, within a single site, between the historic plastic and metal processing activity via the entity Axilone Shunhua, and the new cosmetic uni-dose manufacturing activity started in September 2007 with the Bioplan/Flexasia entity.
The latter also receiving a great deal of attention in terms of investments by the Ileos management. A few weeks ago one section of the production workshop was placed under controlled atmosphere (Class 300,000) and another part, in Class 100,000. An investment of nearly half a million euros.
"He who can do more can do less," explained Vincent Hasenfratz, Managing Director of Bioplan/Flexasia. "The trend is moving towards an increased level of purity for the manufacturing of our products. We are accompanying the phenomenon and, we are even anticipating it."
It has to be said that this firm of French origin has further ambitions in this filling segment and is taking an interest in the parapharmaceutical sector and in that of the make-up with a dedicated workshop. Especially since it already undertakes packaging operations with glass bottles and tubes.
An upgrading that can only help reinforce the confidence of brands already working with the company. "An increasing number of local brands," confirms Hasenfratz, "but we are also more and more considered as an operational base by our global customers."
Axilone Shunhua: Strong investments
This desire to reach the highest ranks is the same with Axilone Shunhua who is undertaking strong investments in all areas of the plant that had already been expanded in July 2009 with the addition of a new building of 40,000 sqm on three levels.
The equipment population the company owns will jump from currently 62 injection machines (160 tons to 350 tons), to 90 by 2013. A brand new 350 ton, dual injection machine was commissioned in 2010. The workshop processes some 150 tons/day of plastic materials, 80 percent of which for the production of lipstick tubes. The factory already comprises five anodizing lines and will host a new one in a couple of months, bringing the capacity from 700,000 pieces per day to 800,000 pieces per day. In a month’s time, a new polishing line will come in addition to the twelve the workshop already uses.
The mould-making workshop which employs about 70 people manufactures about twenty moulds per month and has just been equipped with a new EDM machine.
As for the assembly workshop, it employs nearly 300 people spread over some thirty lines. Finally, there will be four new transfer presses arriving in a month for an overall park of twenty units.