Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom reported these items from the San Diego Economic Development Corp.'s Mexport trade show Sept. 10 in San Diego.
Mulay adds space, equipment in Mexico
Mulay Plastics Inc. brought four additional injection molding machines online in September at its newly enlarged Tijuana, Mexico, facility. Now, the plant has 15 presses with clamping forces of 200-1,000 tons.
``We are considering a second wave of expansion'' and may make a timing decision in two or three months, said Jack Shedd, the company's vice president of sales and marketing.
Mulay added Ube machines, two each of 700 and 500 tons, principally to mold parts for information-technology applications such as laser-jet printers. Mulay customers in Tijuana include Samsung, NEC, Panasonic, Sharp, Casio and Black & Decker units.
In July, Mulay completed construction of a 35,000-square-foot addition, bringing the Tijuana facility to 110,000 square feet. The maquiladora opened in early 1996 and employs 330.
In addition to the Tijuana location, Mulay molds parts for consumer electronics, computer, peripheral and business equipment applications at its headquarters in Addison, Ill., and in Holly Springs, Miss.; Casa Grande, Ariz.; Forrest City, Ark.; and Mundelein, Ill.
In August, Mulay formed an Addison-based design division to analyze mold-flow and gas-assist-flow applications and do part- and-fit design on a contract basis for original equipment manufacturers. The unit's aim is to help customers get products to market faster.
Donald Mazzone, Mulay vice president of engineering and technology, heads the division.
AMS Plastics grows maquila operations
AMS Plastics Inc. is ramping up operations at a new factory in Mexicali, Mexico, the company's third plant.
Strong demand for consumer products and consumer electronics drove the decision to start the 52,000-square-foot facility, said President Jamey Watson.
AMS opened the Mexicali maquiladora in July, initially operating 11 Toshiba injection molding presses. AMS runs 14 there now and soon will begin operating another. Clamping forces range from 50-720 tons.
``We plan to have 28 injection machines up to 900 tons,'' Watson said.
Temporarily, AMS relocated three machines to Mexicali from its El Cajon, Calif., headquarters.
``Once we get some breathing room, we will bring those machines back [to El Cajon] and order more Toshibas,'' Watson said.
Also, the Mexicali plant has a Cincinnati Milacron E75 industrial blow molding machine with an 8-pound accumulator head.
In recent years, AMS has configured its plants for around-the-clock, high-volume production, Watson said. Production in Mexicali includes buttons for television set makers. AMS customers include Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Black & Decker and Sanyo.
AMS' plant in Tijuana, Mexico, added two machines, bringing its total to 22, and anticipates adding eight more presses by the end of 1997. The 48,000-square-foot Tijuana maquiladora opened in 1993.
Watson held sales positions with Cincinnati Milacron before joining AMS in April 1996. He was named AMS president in February.
Capco computerizes milling operations
Capco Plastics Inc. has invested $250,000 in Haas computer numerically controlled milling centers at its El Paso, Texas, facility.
``Now, everything will be CNC,'' said President Richard Capuano. ``We're becoming an industry where you have to be able to turn around a tool in three or four weeks or you're going to lose the order.''
Capuano said the firm expects to add a third thermoforming line in El Paso next year. The El Paso operation employs 18, occupies a 25,000-square-foot facility and is undergoing an ISO audit in September.
``We expect to be certified in the first quarter of 1998,'' he said.
The El Paso site serves customers in the southwestern United States and California.
Capco's Providence, R.I., facility employs 60 and occupies 40,000 square feet.
Tuscarora building EPS molding facility
Tuscarora Inc. projects a January startup of molded expanded polystyrene operations at a 75,000-square-foot facility now under construction in Tijuana, Mexico. Tuscarora expects to take possession Nov. 15.
``We have options to add in increments of 50,000 square feet so it could be as big as 175,000 square feet,'' said Robert Sterritt, general manager of Tuscarora's Colorado Springs, Colo.-based western division.
Initially, Tuscarora will install six Hirsch EPS molding machines, two each with clamping forces of 800, 1,200 and 1,500 tons. Plans call for 10-12 machines eventually.
Tuscarora will mold parts to cushion television sets, videocassette recorders, play stations and other devices for the electronics industry.
``All of our current customers will be our customers in Tijuana,'' Sterritt said, including Sony, Smith Corona, Panasonic, Matsushita and Hitachi.
In a separate niche, Sterritt is looking at options to enlarge its thermoforming operation in a leased, 13,000-square-foot facility in Chula Vista, Calif. Tuscarora acquired the former Thermoformers Plus business in mid-April. Two machines make light-gauge thermoforming products such as blister packs.
The firm now thermoforms materials at Sandusky, Ohio; Con-yers, Ga.; and Chula Vista, Sterritt said.
Separately, Tuscarora applied for a permit from the California Air Quality Board to install three or four molding machines in a 128,000-square-foot Hayward, Calif., plant that it acquired in May. Meanwhile, the site is proceeding ``through the design stage on where to put the machines and what kinds of machines and what market we hope to serve in that area,'' Sterritt said.
The former Allgood Industries plant has operations in specialty corrugated materials, fabricated foams and wood crating.
``We plan to transition Hayward into a full-fledged expanded PS molding plant at some time in the future with some thoughts about adding expanded polypropylene capabilities,'' he said.
Firms form coalition to provide services
Four molding, machining and assembly firms in California and Mexico have formed an alliance to provide value-added manufacturing services.
``We have two molding plants, an assembly plant and a turning plant,'' said Advanced Group President Donald Furness.
Advanced Group includes injection molder Advanced Engineering & Molding Technology Inc. and metal house Accuturn Swiss Automatic Machining in Riverside, Calif.; turnkey assembler Magnotech Manufacturing, and molder Absolute Injection Molding & Assembly in Tecate, Mexico.
Furness and Magnotech's Pirouz Pourhshami formed a joint venture to establish a new, 25,000-square-foot assembly plant in Tecate. The group employs 85 in Riverside and 70 in Tecate.
At Mexport, the group exhibited a new rubber ball with a polystyrene core. Previously, the customer, a Ventura, Calif., toy company, had items sewn together in China.
Magnotech will produce an initial order of 1 million balls, which will be sold through specialty toy stores.
Pad printing systems log large demand
Two sealed-ink-cup pad printing systems from Trans Tech America Inc. are ``back ordered for six weeks,'' Dick Roy, west coast sales manager in Ontario, Calif., said at Mexport. ``Market reception has been four times what we expected.''
The firm's electromechanical Carousel 80 can print five colors, sells for about $34,000 and finds particular usage in precision marking on golf balls. Trans Tech has electropneumatic controls on the Combi 90 and 130 machines, which sell for about $25,000 each.
``We combined 26 lines into three machines, and the cost has come down about $10,000 per machine since two years ago,'' Roy said.
Trans Tech of Carol Stream, Ill., has been a unit of Illinois Tool Works Inc. since 1995.
Binamex may replace several of its presses
Binamex SA de CV of Tijuana is considering new injection molding equipment to replace several of its 24 machines.
``If it happens, we will buy next year,'' said plant manager Francisco Ricoin.
Last year Binamex acquired another 350-ton Beloit press and a 250-ton Cincinnati Milacron.
``We notice the efficiency of our machines is not very high and the electrical bill is going up,'' Rico said.
Binamex machines have clamping forces of 28-725 tons.
Binamex targets ``bulky products that do not need precise and high tolerance,'' Rico said. The business began in 1991 as a molder for the toy industry and other molding companies already established in Tijuana. Binamex continues to support Mattel Inc. maquiladora Mabamex SA and Hasbro Inc. operations ``when they have overflow and have to farm out molds,'' he said.
Binamex employs 125 including 60 in molding operations and 45 in assembly at its 40,000-square-foot facility. Binamex's recent monthly sales of about $150,000 are about 10 percent higher than those during the same 1996 period. Industrial park developer Grupo Bustamante owns Binamex and its U.S. operation, Offshore Promotion Inc. in Chula Vista, Calif.