Janesville21.6°

Prent continues to expand global presence

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JAMES P. LEUTE
December 10, 2009
— A local manufacturer is growing globally, and a company official says that’s good news for Janesville.

Prent Corp., a manufacturer of custom packaging for the medical, electronics and consumer industries, has opened a new thermoforming facility in China and will open another one next month in Denmark.


Prent’s headquarters are in Janesville, and it also has facilities in Singapore, Malaysia, Puerto Rico and Arizona.


Joe Pregont, president and chief executive officer, said the international growth helps the company’s operation in Janesville, which employs 349.


A relatively new machine building in Janesville designs and constructs all of the equipment used in Prent’s global facilities.


The company needs plants around the world to serve its customers, he said, adding that Prent can’t compete shipping to foreign markets from Janesville alone.


In Shanghai, Prent outgrew its space just five years after entering the Chinese market.


The result is a facility that’s twice as large and capable of sales, product design, thermoforming, production control, secondary operations and just-in-time delivery.


Prent designed the building for future growth. It now employs 300.


“We expect the Chinese economy will continue to perform well,” Pregont said. “In the next 10 years, we believe China will experience a significantly higher growth rate than North America or Europe.


“At Prent China, we anticipate modest yearly growth from our already substantial consumer electronics business. Within our core medical business, we expect sales in the next five years to double at minimum, as more global medical device manufacturers move into China.”


When it entered China, Prent was a minor player in the market, Pregont said. Today, it is recognized as the leading thermoformer, he said.


For that, Pregont credits Prent’s teams in Malaysia and Janesville, which provided support and training to Prent China.


When it opens in January, the Denmark plant will be Prent’s first in Europe.


The facility is a full-service thermoforming center with product design capabilities and quality assurance, in addition to thermoformers. As demand warrants, tool engineering and building and other operations are planned.


“We believe it will further enhance our global presence in the medical thermoform market,” Pregont said. “We have a number of existing European customers who have been awaiting its opening.”


The Denmark facility will initially employ about 25, but Pregont believes employment will reach 100 or more in five years.


The opening of the Denmark facility and the push into the European market is similar to past Prent expansions.


It’s organic growth rather than acquisition growth, he said.


“This growth has been generated entirely within our own organization,” he said. “We design our facilities to all be identical. Each contains identical all Prent-designed and manufactured thermoforming equipment and software systems.


“Therefore, our procedures and processes are all the same around the world.”


That provides maximum control over the thermoforming, as well as maximum consistency and customer satisfaction, he said.



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