Continental Structural Plastics (CSP, Auburn Hills, Mich., USA) announced on November 5 that it has signed an agreement with Qingdao Victall Railway (Group) Co., Ltd., to form the 50-50 joint venture CSP Victall (Tangshan) Structural Composites Co., Ltd. A formal signing ceremony took place on Monday, October 27 in Tangshan City, Hebei Province, China, between Sun Hanben, board chairman of Qingdao Victall Railway, and Frank Macher, chairman and CEO of CSP.
Under the terms of the agreement, CSP Victall will operate out of a 322,000 square-foot manufacturing facility located in Tangshan. The company will manufacture composite components for the automotive, heavy truck and bus, construction and agriculture markets in China. The joint venture will also compound and sell sheet molding compound (SMC) raw materials out of this facility.
“Through this joint venture, we gain strong, trustworthy partners in Mr. Sun and the entire Victall team,” says Macher. “Our new operations in China will enable us to provide lightweight composite technologies designed to meet the needs of both the domestic and global OEMs in this very important market.”
“We are very pleased to be entering into this partnership with CSP,” said Sun Hanben. “Combining their innovation and technology with our existing customer relationships and deep local market expertise will make CSP Victall a leading supplier of lightweight technologies to Chinese OEMs.”
The opportunity to provide lightweight vehicle components in China is significant and expected to grow. With the Chinese market on pace to produce nearly 20 million light vehicles and 1.5 million Class 7 – 8 heavy-duty trucks this year, there is a growing focus on reducing carbon emissions. The Chinese government has set forth a number of aggressive plans, including a goal established in 2009 to cut carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020; and a more recent initiative mandating that at least 30 percent of new government vehicles be powered by alternative energy by 2016. In addition, the country is expected to become the top market for luxury vehicles by 2016, according to McKinsey & Company.
“Together, these factors mean that there is a significant opportunity for us to introduce our vehicle light-weighting technologies to this market,” said Macher. “This includes our trademarked TCA Lite and new TCA Ultra Lite Class A materials for body panels, structural components and possibly even electric vehicle battery box technologies. And the heavy-duty truck market is ready-made for our lightweight front-end applications. By taking weight out of these very large parts, we can help reduce vehicle emissions while at the same time increasing payload capacity. ”
Manufacturing equipment to be installed in the new CSP Victall facility includes 4,000- and 3,000-ton presses; a direct long fiber thermoplastic (D-LFT) line; an SMC compounding line; a paint line; and robotic routers. The facility will also feature the latest in dust control technology, including a centralized vacuum system and dust booths. The company expects to begin manufacturing operations in China by third quarter, 2015.
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