Munekata America Inc. said April 27 it plans to build a custom molding facility in Tijuana, Mexico, to serve manufacturers of televisions and office machines in Mexico and Southern California. The Dalton, Ga.-based company joins the scramble for new capacity in what has become an unusually active year for molders specializing in TV cabinets.
Munekata America President Minoru Yasuda said the Tijuana operation will be established as a subsidiary of Munekata America, and will be called Munekata Mexicana SA de CV.
Yasuda expects construction to beginshortly after building plans become finalized, with production to begin in early 1996. The number of presses placed at the facility has not yet been determined. The company is evaluating its requirements with customers and an exact number will be announced later.
Munekata primarily serves the TV, computer and consumer electronics industries, and offers painting, decorating and assembly. It operates 14 presses with clamping forces of 350-1,600 tons, and employs 260.
The firm, a unit of Munekata Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, reported 1994 sales of $32.4 million, according to company estimates.
The TV manufacturing industry has been active recently as original equipment manufacturers take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement and move production operations to lower-cost regions.
Hitachi (HSC) Canada Inc. is closing its Point Claire, Quebec, assembly plant in mid-July and moving production to a plant in Tijuana that it opened in 1986. Sanyo Industries Canada Inc. will close its Montreal plant in June, moving to Forest City, Ark.
Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada Inc. will close its Waterloo, Ontario, plant in June and move assembly to another subsidiary's operations in Braselton, Ga.
The broad moves have caused changes for a number of molders. In addition to Munekata, companies that are building new plants to chase the TV cabinet business include Mulay Plastics of Addison, Ill., which is building a 100,000-square-foot plant in Tijuana, and Industrial Molding Corp. of Emoryville, Calif., which recently opened a 90,000-square-foot molding plant in Pendergrass, Ga.