Even though a large portion of American companies have for many years been outsourcing operations to Central America, Asia and other countries around the globe, Nordson Engineered Fluid Dispensing has continued to hold onto its customers.
The East Providence-based company has sales and service in more than 30 countries worldwide through a network of local offices and authorized distributors.
“It started with the maquiladoras – U.S.-based companies that for financial reasons or tax incentives or low cost of labor were going not too far over the U.S. border,” said Nordson EFD Director of Engineering and Operations Dave Zgonc. “That’s been going on since NAFTA. They have equipment, and they take us with them.”
The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, went into effect in 1994, and whichever way global trade moves, Nordson’s precision dispensing systems that apply accurate, consistent amounts of adhesives, sealants, lubricants and other assembly fluids have continued to be increasingly used in countries around the world. The precision dispensing solutions are primarily for industrial markets.
“It could be for fluid like glue to assemble a pacemaker or to apply lubrication for watches,” said Zgonc. “The machines we make are not specific to an industry, they are specific to dispensing.”
“Particularly in Rhode Island, and in all of New England, our company is built on servicing people who are manufacturing, “said Zgonc. “Over the last decade or two, as a lot of manufacturing was outsourced to Asia, we continued to supply those manufacturers.
“Asia is definitely going up, with China being the largest part of our market. Asia is about 35 percent of our sales,” said Zgonc. “China is the manufacturing center of the world, and we’ve seen our growth rate in that sector as high as 20 or 30 percent annually.”
In addition to its substantial segment of customers in Southeast Asia, Japan and India, Nordson sends about 27 percent of its products to Europe, said Zgonc. The company exports to the market generally called the Americas, which includes countries from Canada to South America.
Rhode Island is one of 29 states recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration as having achieved record export growth in 2012, according to a Jan. 12 press release from the office of Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee.