In many Asian cultures, the tiger is viewed as the king of animals – strong, active, full of drive. That also makes it a perfect symbol for the investment project currently underway at the tesa site in Suzhou, a metropolitan region of more than ten million located about 100 kilometers west of Shanghai. With hŭ yuè, a leaping tiger, the technology group aims to strengthen its market position in Greater China and the markets in the surrounding area, such as South Korea and Vietnam. “We are making a consistent push to internationalize the tesa business. After plant expansions in the United States, the journey is continuing in Asia,” says Dr. Norman Goldberg, the member of the tesa Executive Board responsible for Direct Industries. The company is investing more than 30 million euros, with a considerable amount going toward the construction of a cleanroom unit to manufacture various high-tech adhesive tapes widely used in the electronics and automotive industries.
Close proximity to manufacturers and suppliers
In all, five large buildings and a number of smaller spaces with total area of 15,000 square meters will be built on the tesa grounds in the Suzhou industrial park this year. “Production is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2020. That’s ambitious, but we have an excellent international team and a lot of experience with large-scale projects like this one. The cleanroom technology used at the tesa plant in Hamburg is also an ideal basis for further development in Suzhou,” Goldberg explains. The cornerstone for the plant expansion was laid in mid-January 2019. In the long term, further investments in the Suzhou site are planned, including in the expansion of office and lab space and the development of the Application Solution Center. This center already gives customers, both manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers (OESs), the opportunity to see firsthand for themselves the full spectrum of performance offered by innovative adhesive tapes, and work with tesa colleagues from the fields of R&D and application technology on developing new products and refining existing ones.
100 times cleaner than mountain air
“Smaller, flatter, waterproof, heat-resistant – the more demanding the requirements, the more precise the adhesive tapes need to be. In a smartphone, even the tiniest speck of dirt or dust can be crippling to functionality, so cleanroom technology is an absolute must,” explains Frank Kolmorgen, President & Regional Manager, tesa Greater China. With that in mind, some areas of the new unit will have air that is 100 times cleaner than the air on a mountaintop. tesa has met these requirements at the Hamburg plant since back in early 2009. The second cleanroom production facility in Suzhou will bring the company closer to existing and potential customers in the electronics and automotive industries, for whom close geographic proximity and streamlined decision-making channels bring added speed, making them an important factor. After all, new device generations or designs are sometimes launched on the market several times a year. tesa has already scored points with major manufacturers of game consoles and e-readers with its highly transparent adhesive tapes in recent months.
More than 100 adhesive tape applications in new cars
High-tech tapes perform important functions in devices such as smartphones, notebook computers and tablets and in OLED applications, as well as in wearable mini computers such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, often going far beyond simply bonding components together. The close interconnection between the two key industries, automotive and electronics, also offers outstanding growth opportunities. A car equipped with state-of-the-art electronics can now include as many as 100 different tesa adhesive applications, ranging in thickness between 5 and 1500 µm (1 µm = 1/1000 mm), from wire harnessing to affixing mirrors and adhesive bonding of displays and driver assistance systems such as parking assistants