Growth of US reshoring plays role in Nissei's new Texas plant

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Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd. A rendering of the new Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd. plant planned for just south of San Antonio, Texas.

Japanese machinery maker Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd. will invest $20 million to set up a U.S. manufacturing operation to build its injection molding presses in San Antonio.

Reshoring of plastics molding to the United States played a role in the decision, Nissei officials said.

Nissei officials said construction is beginning this month and should be completed in November at the factory in Brooks City-Base, south of downtown San Antonio. Production is expected to start in February 2018, Nissei said.

Nissei plans to do machining and assembly of hybrid injection molding machines with clamping forces ranging from 500 to 1,440 tons in Texas. The main components will be supplied by Nissei plants in Japan, China and Thailand. The company will gradually increase local sourcing from American suppliers over time.

Nissei has launched a new fully owned U.S. subsidiary called Nissei Plastic Machinery America Inc. at the San Antonio facility.

“We believe there is a market for competitively priced injection molding machines made locally by Nissei,” the company said in a news release announcing the U.S. plant.

Nissei said the $20 million investment includes a 114,234-square-foot plant. A filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation said that will include 47,000 square feet of warehouse space and 13,700 square feet of office space. The company also plans to equip a technical center for customers, with demonstration machines for testing of molds and materials prior to purchase.

Nissei said the plant will supply the U.S. domestic market with machines branded as being made in the U.S.A. The operation also will supply presses for markets throughout the Americans, including the South and Central America.

San Antonio also offers good access to Mexico, a rapidly growing automotive manufacturing base, Nissei officials said.

“With the manufacturing sector in the United States increasingly reverting to local production, we can expect to see growing demand for medium- to large-scale production equipment in key categories such as automobiles, household appliances, packages and daily goods,” Nissei said.

Nissei executives were not available for comment beyond the news release. But Nissei President Hozumi Yoda was bullish on the U.S. market in Plastics News stories from two trade shows last year. He cited reshoring of molding work to the United States from China, as Chinese labor costs continue to increase.

At NPE 2015, Yoda said the United States accounts for about 25 percent of Nissei’s global sales, about the same percentage as Asia as a whole, outside of domestic Japanese sales.

In the future, Nissei also may supply European markets from the U.S. plant, the company said.

Nissei becomes the second Japanese injection molding machinery maker to set up U.S. manufacturing. Ube Industries Ltd. began building presses in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1996.

Brooks City-Base is a mixed-use community created in 2001 by to redevelop the former Brooks Air Force Base, south of downtown San Antonio.

San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor said Nissei “represents the most recent investment from a Japanese company” and said the city “continues to build upon on our strong economic relations with the country of Japan.”

The San Antonio plant will become Nissei’s third production facility outside of Japan, joining a plant in Taicang, China, that opened in 2009, and one in Rayong, Thailand, that opened in 2012.