Frankfurt, Germany – Tristone Flowtech Group GmbH is setting the stage to grow again – this time in North America and India – as it continues to expand its global manufacturing base.
A producer of hose used for motor and battery cooling systems as well as air charge and air intake systems, the company has been preparing for more than a year to add plants in Mexico and India.
Construction of new hose facilities in Pune, India, and Delicias, Mexico, has been completed, and the firm has signed long-term leases for both sites.
Its new complex in Delicias eventually will replace an existing smaller plant.
The factory in India will give the firm its first manufacturing operation in the country.
With the two structures in place, Tristone is in the process of setting up the plants for production and the addition of new machinery and equipment.
Gaining ground in India
Spanning nearly 38,000 square feet, the factory in India will be used for manufacturing and warehousing. It will produce engine cooling and air charge hose as well as plastic surge tanks for the Indian market, said Guenter Froelich, president and CEO of the Frankfurt-based company.
Called Tristone India, it will operate as a subsidiary of the group.
A grand opening ceremony at the facility will be scheduled for sometime in the next few months, according to Froelich.
Production of hose is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2017 once all new machinery is installed, the executive said.
He said the factory likely will have a work force of roughly 40 by the end of 2017 and about 120 at the tail end of 2018.
The company set the stage for its production facility in India when it established a sales and engineering company in Pune in September 2015.
Tristone has been building its customer base in India for some time, but thus far it has been exporting products from it factories in Europe to the country, Froelich said.
He said the company will be able to support the Indian passenger car market locally and the additional new business it has garnered over the last year once the Pune plant is up and running.
Froelich estimated that the company will spend about $2.8 million to purchase machinery and equipment for the factory.
Doubling size in Mexico
Meanwhile, the company is preparing to launch its recently constructed facility in Delicias, located just 500 meters from Tristone's existing factory. The plant is expected to begin producing products by the end of 2016.
Tristone intends to continue operating the old factory until June 2017, when the company plans to close the operation.
It's currently furnishing the new site with machinery and equipment, at a cost of about $4.5 million.
The facility will have manufacturing and logistical space totaling about 220,600 square feet, which is twice as large as the company's present factory in the country.
Tristone's newest Mexican factory primarily will produce engine cooling and battery cooling hose. Next year it also will begin making plastic pipe, Froelich said.
Like the firm's other manufacturing plant in Mexico, it will work closely with the company's sales and engineering operation in Detroit, which was set up by the firm in September 2013 to support its growth in the North American region.
Currently, Tristone employs about 350 at its older factory in Delicias.
Froelich estimated that the number of employees likely will shoot up to 550, based on booked business with all major original equipment manufacturers in the region, including Ford, General Motors Chrysler Volkswagen and BMW.
In addition to the Mexican and Indian facilities, the firm has production plants in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey and China. Overall, it employs about 2,260.
Sales on the rise
Tristone is coming off a strong first half with sales in the $140.9 million range, up 8.3 percent over 2015's first half. Incoming orders grew 125 percent compared to the prior year.
The company's sales in Europe rose 8 percent, jumped 16 percent in the NAFTA region. and it rose 3 percent in China, despite a weak market in that region.
In 2016, the group is expecting sales to rise another 9 percent to $276 million.
“These first six months of 2016 were the most successful the group has ever had,” Froelich said. “The group is continuously benefiting from the development toward new hybrid and battery electric vehicles, taking into consideration that the share of battery cooling climbed up to 19 percent on total order intake.”
Tristone is the former Fluid Automotive Business Unit of Trelleborg AB. Trelleborg elected to spin the business off and it was established as a stand-alone business in July 2010. It primarily serves the automotive industry.