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Electronics

Five new buildings and the construction of a state-of-the-art clean room unit: with the expansion of its Suzhou plant, tesa is taking another big step in its Asian footprint strategy.

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Natalie Fingerhut

An international team, five new buildings and a clean room unit for the production of precision adhesive tapes for the electronics industry: tesa’s latest coup is being worked on under high pressure at the Suzhou plant. The company has invested more than € 30 million to further boost business in the growth region of China.

SUZHOU, CHINA

Suzhou, in eastern China, has 10 million residents and is one of the oldest cities in the Yangtze River basin.

The “capital of silk” at Shanghai’s gates

Since the 14th century, Suzhou has been a leader in silk production, and today it’s also a center of the high-tech industry.

We continue to drive the internationalization of the tesa business.

Stefan Schmidt, Head of tesa Supply Network

“We continue to drive the internationalization of the tesa business,” explains Stefan Schmidt, tesa manager responsible for the supply network. “After our investment in the USA, our journey continues in Asia. The expansion of production in Suzhou is another important component of our Asian footprint strategy.” Suzhou is looking forward to the expansion, as factory manager Suthesh Kumar confirmed. “The expansion of production secures our location and underlines the importance of China for tesa.”

Speeding Toward the Future

The foundation stone was laid at the beginning of 2019, and production in Suzhou is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2020. “It’s challenging, but we have a very good international team that has been working hard on preparations for a year and has a lot of experience with such major projects,” explains Dirk Holland, Project Manager of the expansion in Suzhou. In total, five large buildings and a number of smaller usable spaces with an area of 15,000 square meters will be built this year on the tesa site in the Suzhou industrial park.

The tesa plant in Suzhou:

By 2020, five more buildings and another clean room unit will be added.

Coordinating and adjusting everything and continuing to operate at the same time is a challenge. But we have a good team and are all highly motivated.

Suthesh Kumar, Suzhou Plant Manager

Precision Technology in the Clean Room

tesa has experience with clean room technology. Since 2010, this kind of production unit has been in use at the tesa Hamburg-Hausbruch plant. Wafer-thin adhesive films can be produced there which, in addition to their “connective” tasks, can be used for a variety of other functions such as shock absorption or light and heat management. Customers in the electronics industry particularly benefit from these products.

In a smartphone, the tiniest impurities can significantly affect functionality.

Dirk Holland, Project Manager of the Suzhou plant expansion

No place for impurities

High-tech adhesive tapes are used in smartphones and tablets. Just one speck of dust can compromise the functionality of the ultra-thin film, so it is produced in a clean room.

The Suzhou site is particularly well suited for another state-of-the-art clean room unit because the majority of technology manufacturers in the consumer electronics and automotive electronics sectors (e.g. infotainment equipment or navigation devices) are located in Asia. It makes sense to produce components that are important to the development of products such as smartphones, tablets, notebooks, fitness trackers and smartwatches in direct proximity to the global players in the electronics industry.

1.4 billion

SMARTPHONES

were sold worldwide in 2018.

Source: Canalys Smartphone Analysis

THE SMARTPHONE – A SUCCESS STORY

The rapid development of smartphones began with the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. Today, pocket computers have become indispensable in most people’s lives. According to the latest Zenith Mobile Advertising Forecast, around 66 percent of people in the world had a smartphone in 2018 (in 52 markets). Sales last year reached more than 1.4 billion devices.

Ten Times Thinner Than a Hair

Comparison:

Human hair against the world’s thinnest double-sided tape from tesa.

“Smaller, thinner, watertight, heat-resistant – the more exacting the demands, the more precise the adhesive tapes must be,” says Dirk Holland, explaining the necessity for clean room technology. The world’s thinnest double-sided tesa tape is only 5 µm thick. By comparison, a human hair is about 50 µm thick. Anyone who visualizes these dimensions realizes that the smallest amount of contamination is enough to cripple the whole environment. This is where the clean room comes in. However, because technology alone is not enough, further long-term investment in the site is planned. Among other things, the research & development department, purchasing, and the Application Solution Center in Suzhou will be expanded.

Electronics industry customers expect fast and flexible development and production solutions. The good, close cooperation of the individual functions on site allow us to effectively meet these market requirements.

Stefan Schmidt, Head of tesa Supply Network

Setting the Course for Further Growth

In addition to the proximity to technology manufacturers in China, European tesa plants also benefit from the expansion. “We have reached certain capacity limits there, and we want to leverage the free space we are gaining for further growth and new products,” explains Stefan Schmidt. And so tesa’s expansion in Suzhou takes it one step further on its way to becoming an innovative global corporation.