RadiciGroup doubles production capacity in China

The new RadiciGroup industrial site in Suzhou, China has been officially opened. Designed to double capacity for manufacturing engineering polymers, the area will significantly step up the Group’s presence on the Asian market as a key player serving numerous sectors - from the automotive and electrical/electronics industries to consumer and industrial goods. The Group has had production operations in China since 2006, when it first opened in a small factory in Jiangsu Province. In 2012 it moved to a larger site, to then start on the construction from the ground up of this new fully-owned facility, designed for future scalability, as required. RadiciGroup invested 35 million euros in the development of the new complex, sited on 36,000 square metres of land, around half of which is occupied by production and research and development facilities. The rest houses offices, meeting rooms and communal areas, along with gardens and parking areas.

The state-of-the-art complex features the most advanced green building technologies available today, for which it is LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. This international standard for high-performance green buildings incorporates parameters such as benefits for the environment and human health, the reduced consumption of water, energy efficiency and the use of environmentally-friendly building materials and solutions. Notable features of the Suzhou site include the installation of a continuous monitoring system to ensure the energy efficiency of the building, rooftop solar panels to produce renewable energy, and a rainwater recycling system to meet the water needs of the site. The site has also earned GBL-2 Star certification, a Chinese standard for building sustainability, demonstrating the attention China focuses on green building solutions. A choice perfectly in keeping with the RadiciGroup’s sustainability strategy, designed to build industrial and business growth on the responsible use of resources and a commitment to human rights, labour rights and individual rights.

“Working in harmony with the environment and people runs deep in our veins,” explained Angelo Radici, President of RadiciGroup. “That’s been true ever since the 1940s, when we first opened in Italy as blanket manufacturers, to then diversify our operations and move closer to our customers around the world. Since starting up manufacturing operations in China more then fifteen years ago, we have grown immensely, together with the local market. Our materials are used by customers that in turn manufacture in China to satisfy the needs of local consumers. If years ago there was a shortage of skilled workers, today the Suzhou district is highly developed and people are skilled and specialised in various fields. In our case, that has also enabled us to retain our workers, drastically lowering turnover compared to the past, and so some of the solutions that we research and develop in China become benchmarks for the entire Group, thanks to our international network.”

Looking back over the RadiciGroup time in China, the motivations underlying the decision to operate in the country have not changed, remaining essentially the same three: the positive economic trend and future outlook for growth; the concentration of global customers in the area, who demand the same guaranteed product standards throughout the world; and a customer service approach to guarantee fast turnaround times and develop innovative solutions together.

“The new site,” said Alberto Sessolo, Country Area Manager for RadiciGroup High Performance Polymers in China, “puts us in a position to serve the market even better, thanks to the new R&D labs and wide open spaces that are fully automated and efficient from all points of view. Even the production facilities are state-of-the-art, to best meet the needs of our current market, but also the potential market. In recent years,” Sessolo added, “we’ve grown in terms of turnover and volumes, and so even the manufacturing area needed to be expanded. The current layout has boosted production capacity by thirty thousand tonnes per year, and it’s been designed so that both production and the warehouses can easily be scaled up, as required. This facility is today the biggest, by space and capacity, of the eight in total around the world serving RadiciGroup High Performance Polymers. Today our people show a strong sense of belonging to the Group, underpinning our sustainable and shared growth.”

The facility currently employs around 120 people. The commitment to the health and safety of workers is of central importance and was a key focus for the design of the new building, in terms of wider spaces for the safer handling of goods, safety improvements in the loading of raw materials and a reduction in manual work and exposure to dust. To promote the wellness of workers, design details also focused on aesthetic elements and comfort, creating premises that are welcoming and soundproof, with lots of greenery surrounding the building, which can be enjoyed from inside thanks to large windows overlooking the grounds.

“Today we are celebrating a major milestone of our growth in China since 2006,” remarks Maurizio Radici Vice President and COO of RadiciGroup, “another step forward on the path of shoring up the RadiciGroup around the world, and on the Asian continent in particular. International expansion, as a’ strategy bringing us closer to our customers, has rewarded us and we want to push ahead with this chapter of our growth with greater determination and effort, demonstrating to our partners that we are willing and able more than ever to take up new challenges on global markets. The investment in China is part of a global growth plan which over the last two years has seen more than 85 million euros of investments made in our High Performance Polymers business area, distributed across manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and Asia. The objective is to expand our total production capacity, and in doing so guarantee growth, sustainability and innovation in our high performance polymers business.”