Injection molder Tech Group plans to open a plant in Mexico by the end of the year to make consumer goods and health-care products for original equipment manufacturers.
The plant, its first in Mexico, will be entirely owned by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Tech and will have 24 injection molding machines with 50-300 tons of clamping force in the 40,000-square-foot facility.
The company also is close to completing a plant in Mulhuddart, Ireland. Officials declined to provide details, but a report in Plastics and Rubber Weekly last summer said it would cost $10 million.
Tom Podesta, vice president of sales for consumer technology for Tech, would not disclose the cost of the Mexican plant, which will be built in Guadalajara, 15 minutes from several customers that are major OEMs.
The new plant will focus on custom molding small precision components, will have large workstations to do assembly at the molding machines and will have mold maintenance but not mold-making capabilities, Podesta said.
Several factors are driving the move to Guadalajara, he said.
The city, known as the ``Silicon Valley of the South,'' is attracting OEMs and has a rapidly improving infrastructure, Podesta said. The area also has a good worker base and ``is the center of technical resources in Mexico'' with seven universities, according to Podesta.
``I don't think it is a springboard into Latin America as much as it is a solid foothold in Mexico,'' Podesta said. ``We can service it from Arizona, but there are customers who want our presence there. It strengthens our global position.''
The Mexican plant will be mainly new business for Tech, he said. Podesta declined to provide details on the products that would be made at the Tech Group de Mexico facility.
The Mexican and Irish plants will give Tech nine injection molding facilities worldwide.
Tech Group also said it hired a general manager, Alberto Velazquez, who has worked in Guadalajara for 12 years and has started up three Mexican operations for U.S. multinationals.
Privately held Tech Group ranked 32nd on Plastics News' 1997 survey of North American injection molders, with $114.5 million in sales in medical, consumer and technology markets.