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Equipment manufacturer expands at home and abroad

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ONE of Australia’s leading packaging and processing machinery manufacturers, Heat & Control , has increased the size of its main manufacturing plant in Brisbane by 50 per cent and may have to increase it further in the next few years.

It is also about to build a major manufacturing plant at Nanjing in China.

The decision by the US multinational several years ago to close a manufacturing plant in Scotland and move all manufacturing for countries outside the Americas to its Brisbane subsidiary’s plant appears to have paid handsome dividends.

The Brisbane plant has been expanded to some 6500 square metres and land was purchased last year for the new manufacturing plant in Nanjing, which is strategically placed between Beijing and Shanghaei.

According to group managing director Asia-Pacific and Europe, Jim Strang, who is also chairman of the Australian Packaging Machinery Association (APMA), the company will initially build a 2000 square metre plant on the Chinese site but already has plans to expand this in two further stages to 6000 square metres.

“Things are really taking off for us in China and we feel we can service that market better by doing some of our manufacturing there,” Strang said.

The company has installed a large number of food processing lines in China and recently completed two snack food lines, from raw materials to end packaging, with a value of some $2 million each.

It has also installed a potato chip processing and packaging line in Mongolia which runs 24 hours a day.

Typically, Strang, who is known for his intensive globe-trotting, has visited the Mongolian site. “I felt that was one I had to see in person,” Strang said.

Europe also remains a major market for the Brisbane company with sales of $20 million into just the United Kingdom and France last year. Activity in central Europe is also increasing and represents an important future market, he said.

Apart from its offices in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, Heat & Control has recently opened new offices in the UK, in Madrid and in Cape Town

While a small amount of manufacturing is carried out in South Africa, all of these markets will continue to be supplied from Brisbane.

Apart from expanding the plant there, the company has also completely revamped the it and installed some major capital equipment including a laser machine for cutting shapes in steel and an LVD press, the latest in accurate, heavy-duty cutting and forming equipment.

Last year Heat & Control won the HSBC-sponsored Premier of Queensland Export Award for its category, large advanced manufacturing, and then was announced as the winner of the overall export award.

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