Woojin moves to a new facility in Korea; targets more exports

Boeun city, located in the centre of South Korea, about 200 km south of Seoul, is a stark contrast to the capital city, which is full of life, neon signs and tall buildings. But that did not stop Woojin Plaimm from locating its sprawling facility in the countryside town. The new 700,000 sq m facility was opened late last year, with the company having moved it from Incheon in Seoul.

When asked about the location, Manager of Overseas Business, Shin Young Cheol, says it has a vantage point. “It is in the centre of South Korea, with easy access to logistics and port facilities for exporting our machinery. Plus, we can easily reach our domestic customers who are all over South Korea.”

Given the size of the facility, Woojin now has upped its capacity to 6,000 machines/year from the 2,000 it was previously producing in Seoul, and a total workforce of 500.

Where previously the company was outsourcing its components, the new facility has a casting plant and the capabilities to design machinery, produce the frames, platens and screws. “We are able to save time and money, allowing for shorter lead times, as well as control our quality by making most of our components in-house,“ said Shin.

The company produces machines starting from 50 tonnes up to 4,500 tonnes. To allow for easier assembly, it has thus divided its production facility into three assembling stations: for small machines (up 380tonnes); medium (450-850 tonnes) and large (1,000-4,500 tonnes).

The huge complex that makes up the Woojin facility grounds, includes offices, a showroom, R&D technical centre and the assembling lines.

It also has accommodation for its workers, which is useful given the nearest town is miles away, a restaurant/canteen and shopping facilities, making it a home away from home. All these amenities are served by a shuttle bus that services the complex.

The higher capacity output has meant that Woojin is expanding its export markets. It has broadened its sales to Russia and Turkey, and opened offices in Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Phillipines, India, Poland and Egypt, in the last few years.“We currently export around US$40 million, one-fifth of our total output, but expect it will go up in the future.“

Already it has witnessed higher sales in Southeast Asia and recently sold a 4,500-tonne machine to Vietnamese processor Saigon Plastic that makes pallets and large rubbish bins. In fact, it had sold US$2.7 million worth of machines during the Koplas show, where it had a booth, held from 10-14 March. Vietnam is serviced by two offices in Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi, manned by eight staff in total. Officials noted that given the sales growth in the country, it was time to recruit more staff.

It certainly seems that Woojin has had a spate of success stories recently, having changed its name a couple of years ago from Woojin Selex (excellence in selection) to Woojin Plaimm (an acronym for plastic injection moulding machinery), which an official said reflected much more closely what the company’s business is, ie selling injection moulding machines, and was easily understood by customers!


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