CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO — Mulay Plastics Inc. and Electro-Metal Products Corp. have formed a joint venture, continuing the trend of firms combining efforts to make plastic and metal parts for consumer electronics and information technology markets.
By year-end, the venture plans to begin assembling Electro-Metal stampings and Mulay injection molded components at a Mulay facility under construction in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. In November, Electro-Metal opened a plant a few miles away in El Paso, Texas.
Expanding the relationship while maintaining discrete operations is a key goal, the firms' presidents said in separate interviews following a May 20 groundbreaking ceremony for the maquiladora Mulay de Juarez SA de CV.
Leonard L. Larsen, president of Skokie, Ill.-based Electro-Metal, said the firm stamps yokes, brackets, tuner parts and chassis frames for Thomson Consumer Electronics Inc., which assembles television sets in Ciudad Ju rez. Among its other products, Electro-Metal makes receiver boxes for in-home satellite TV systems.
Customer needs will drive future dealings between the firms, said Douglas Mulay, president of the Addison, Ill.-based molder. Mulay produces enclosures for TV sets and computers, and specializes in gas-assist molding.
In El Paso, Electro-Metal employs four and operates three metal-stamping presses in a 12,000-square-foot building that can accommodate more machines.
To stamp larger parts, Electro-Metal may acquire 400- and 600-ton stamping presses next year and operate them in space it will lease in the Mulay de Juarez plant.
Electro-Metal had 1997 sales of about $10.5 million. It has 20 punch presses and employs 60 in Skokie.
Wilmette, Ill., investor William O'Connor acquired Electro-Metal in June 1996. He also owns PPC Industries Inc., a Pleasant Prairie, Wis., plastic bag producer with 10 blown film lines, and L.D. Redmer Screw Products Inc., a Bensenville, Ill., maker of screw machine parts.
The venture is Mulay's first with a metal stamper. Mulay employs 1,200 at plants in Addison; Holly Springs, Miss.; Forrest City, Ark.; Casa Grande, Ariz.; and Tijuana, Mexico. Ciudad Juarez operations may begin in November, initially making TV housings for a nearby unit of Philips NV of Eindhoven, Netherlands.
Four other plastic-metal arrangements began in recent months to supply computer and electronics manufacturers.
Complex Tooling & Molding Inc. of Boulder, Colo., acquired Krasberg Corp. of Des Plaines, Ill., on Nov. 17. Trend Technologies Inc. of San Jose, Calif., acquired Cam Fran Tool Co. Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Ill., on Dec. 3. Beach Mold & Tool Inc. of New Albany, Ind., and Lightning Metals Specialties Inc. of New Braunfels, Texas, formed a joint venture in late December. And Palo Alto Products International (Pte.) Ltd. in Palo Alto, Calif., is subcontracting with Lightning for metal components.