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Sandvik has inaugurated the most modern cemented carbide tool factory in China

The world-leading cemented carbide tool supplier, Sandvik Coromant, has inaugurated its new plant in Langfang City, 40 km Southeast of Beijing.

This plant, wholly owned by Sandvik, is the most modern of its kind in China. It utilises the latest technology available in the production process and, at the same time, meets the highest environmental requirements.

-This is the latest step in our continuous expansion in China since the establishment of a manufacturing unit in Langfang and the start-up of a nation-wide sales organisation in 1994, says Lars Pettersson, President of Sandvik Coromant.

The Langfang plant will be an important part in Sandvik Coromant's world-wide production network, working with identical equipment and production parameters and thus fulfilling the highest quality standard demands.

Consequently the carbide inserts produced in Langfang could be utilised by the metalworking industry around the world as they will be distributed through Sandvik Coromant's international marketing organisation.

The first phase of the Langfang plant started in 1994 with the production of toolholders, both standard and special. Shortly after, the Group's Training and Productivity Centre for China was opened in the same facilities. This Centre, which was fully modernised at the end of 1997, is equipped with machine tools and equipment for training of Sandvik staff as well as people from end-user companies. This is an important activity since the development of the Chinese metalworking industry need both modern cutting tools and machining know-how.

- With the Langfang Training and Productivity Centre as a base, Sandvik Coromant's technical specialists can give important contributions to future productivity improvements within the Chinese industry. The special tool design and manufacturing facility in Langfang adds further possibilities, says Anders Hägglund, President of Sandvik China Ltd.

-The competitive power of the Chinese metalworking industry can be further improved, just by utilising modern tools, says Mr Hägglund.

Cutting tools represent only some three percent of production costs but have a huge influence on total productivity and economy.

Sandvik expands in China

The Sandvik activities in the rapidly expanding Chinese market is one of the most important parts of the Group's strategy for the years immediately ahead. The efforts initiated in 1994 have resulted in a sharply strengthened presence in the country.

Today, Sandvik maintains 23 Service and Sales offices in all of the most important Chinese provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Wuhan, Xian, Nanjing, Tianjin and Chengdu. The expansion is continuing. This means that the recruitment of new personnel is also continuing. During 1998 a substantial number of new sales engineers and technical specialists will be hired.

Big efforts have been done to streamline the distribution service levels. This will, during this year, result in substantially shortened delivery times for the complete Sandvik Coromant product range.

Sandvik engages in extensive co-operation with Chinese companies, for example with companies in the engineering, automotive and aircraft industries. The general development of the Chinese infrastructure also results in rapid expansion of all building supporting industries. Transport related industries and oil related industries are areas where there is a growing need for high-quality cemented carbide products.

China has an industrial base with major potential, which is developing rapidly. Technological know-how is high within many areas. However, within the metalcutting field, the possibilities for further productivity improvements are enormous. Within this field the Sandvik Coromant Training and Productivity Centre in Langfang will play an important role. End-users within the industry will be offered training either on site or at their own facilities.

Sandvik is now building further on the many years of favourable business relations it has already enjoyed with Chinese companies.

The Group's trading relations with China commenced during the 1950s and have subsequently developed on a gradual basis. The first Sandvik representation office was opened already in 1985 in Beijing and was supplemented two years later with an office in Shanghai. The wholly owned subsidiary, Sandvik China Ltd., was established in 1993.

During 1994, the wholly owned plant for tool holders was opened in Langfang. The same year a joint-venture agreement was signed for a plant for the manufacture of steel products in Qingdao.

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