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ANAHEIM, CALIF.—Another Northeast molder plans a customer-driven Southwest expansion.

Plastic Molding Technology Inc. of Seymour, Conn., expects next year to establish an insert and injection molding facility along the Mexican border.

``We are talking with the regional development people,'' Todd Sholtis, facilities director in North America and vice president of European operations, said at Nepcon West. ``We ship directly to Mexico and Texas from Connecticut'' in supplying custom parts for the automotive, electronic and medical industries.

Locations in Texas and Arizona and across the border in Mexico are under consideration. PMT may form a joint venture with a customer or vendor.

Sholtis said operations would begin in mid- to late-1998 with four or five machines and about 10 employees.

Recently, the firm completed $55,000 in improvements at European subsidiary Danube Mold & Die, adding a 38-ton Battenfeld plus insert molding machine with vertical or horizontal capability. Two 28-ton injection molding presses continue to operate at the 2,000-square-foot Bratislava, Slovakia, facility.

The Danube subsidiary opened in 1991 and employs five, including a process technician and a tool designer. Autocad 12 units in both facilities exchange designs via the Internet.

The Slovakia operation subcontracts and manages mold-making functions, using some molds for European customers and supplying about 20 per year for use in the Connecticut plant, which employs 78.

``It saves [U.S.] customers about 40 percent on tooling charges if they can wait 12-14 weeks,'' Sholtis said.

Plastic Molding Technology recorded 1996 sales of more than $6.9 million, up about $1 million from the previous year. Slovakia revenues contributed about $300,000 to each year's total.

The Connecticut operation received ISO 9002 certification May 24.