Freudenberg Group is expanding its footprint in South America, investing in nonwoven and seal production in Brazil, among other things. Both investments are part of a 40 million Brazilian Reais budget (around €13.2 million) that Freudenberg had earmarked for the region for innovations, capacity expansion and general process optimization. Due to the new technology and production plants, the sites at Jacareí and Diadema in the Federal State of São Paulo are to be strengthened for the future.
"Brazil is one of the Freudenberg Group's strategic growth markets where we would like to gain greater market share," says Mohsen Sohi, speaker of the Freudenberg Group board of management. Implementation began at the beginning of the year and will be completed over the coming weeks.
The Freudenberg nonwovens business group will be commissioning a new manufacturing plant for the technical products and hygiene market segments. This underscores their significance in the South American region.
"Due to the close cooperation with experts in Weinheim, we will be able to manufacture even better specialist hygiene products in the future using tried and tested nonwovens' technology. That will strengthen our competitiveness as a globally-active group," says Juan Carlos Borchardt, Freudenberg's regional representative for South America.
The move paves the way for the nonwovens business area to harness further opportunities to grow profitably in niche markets in the hygiene market segment.
"Sales will rise significantly with the nonwovens manufactured in the new plant," says Borchardt. "Our existing product portfolio will be expanded. We will be able to manufacture special solutions, such as printed or especially lightweight cotton-like nonwovens."
In addition, the Freudenberg Group is also expanding its commitment to the automotive industry and commissioning a new production line for thermoplastic high-performance components in Diadema together with its Japanese Partner NOK (Nippon Oil Seal Industry Co., Ltd.).
"The start date for the six state-of-the-art machines is the beginning of the year. It represents a decisive phase for the planned doubling of sales for our business group," says George Rugitsky, CEO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies in South America.
Following the USA, China and Japan, Brazil is the largest automotive market in the world. In 2013 vehicle production increased by around 10%. In the last few weeks, several automotive manufacturers have announced their intention to build new assembly plants in the region. To be able to meet the growing demand for top technology, the Freudenberg Group is reacting with its new production line. Commissioning of the production line complements the existing factories for thermoplastic components in Germany, Poland, the U.S., India, Thailand, China, Korea and Japan. Through the new manufacturing unit, it will be possible to manufacture additional products, customized for the region.