TORONTO-Ukraine-based mold maker Tavria-Magna attended Plast-Ex '95 in an attempt to get more exposure in Canada. ``We hope this gives us momentum,'' Frank Lev, managing director, said in an interview at the trade show, held May 1-4 in Toronto.
``There is reluctance in the industry to accept offshore products without assurances the mold will perform as expected,'' he said.
Lev tries to counter that reluctance by not demanding any pre-payment or progress payment, and by bidding about 25 percent lower on a job.
``We are even cheaper than the Portuguese mold makers,'' Lev said.
Lev said his firm, a joint venture between AvtoZaz of the Ukraine and Magna International Inc. of Markham, Ontario, focuses on large and medium-size molds for outdoor furniture and similar products.
The firm's beginnings in 1988 stem from automotive molds in the Ukraine, but it doesn't pursue such work in North America because of ``fast lead times and an enormous flow of changes,'' which Tavria-Magna would have trouble doing at its Ukrainian plant.
Tavria-Magna, based in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, received its first Canadian order in 1993 with an undisclosed company, but Lev said ``business has been slow lately.'' The Ukraine operation makes as many as 52 molds a year, mostly for Ukrainian customers.
Its Canadian sales arm is Tavrima Canada Ltd. of Mark-ham, Ontario, under whose banner it exhibited at Plast-Ex. On some jobs it works with Vector Precision Molds Inc. of Concord, Ontario.
Lev downplayed the firm's connection to Magna, which is a minority partner, although many of Tavria-Magna's toolmakers were trained in Magna's Canadian operations. Magna is an investor in the company and therefore ``expects us to perform on our own.''
With Lev at Plast-Ex was Mikhail N. Miroshnichenko, director general of Tavria-Magna.