DETROIT — Custom injection molder GW Plastics recently completed a major expansion at its Tucson, Ariz., plant and has big plans for its San Antonio facility as well.
The expansions have been fueled by the Bethel, Vt.-based company's growing trade in Mexico, which accounted for 20 percent of GW's 1998 sales of $50 million.
Mexican business has been so good, in fact, that GW expects to announce the site of a new plant there by year-end, GW automotive manager Ben Bouchard said at SAE '99 in Detroit.
GW has added 14 injection presses in Tucson in the past 18 months, giving it 20 machines at the site. GW expects to add more machines in San Antonio in 2000. The plant has room for 33 presses.
The firm also will add eight machines in San Antonio by the third quarter of 1999, raising that site's number of machines to 28.
Most of the machines being added are Van Dorn Demag presses with clamping forces of 230 tons or less.
Business with Mexican parts suppliers and maquiladora export businesses definitely has been good for GW. It specializes in custom molding.
Half of the firm's sales are in the auto market, where it molds electrical components, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning parts and multipart programs such as blinker and headlight stems.
``Some customers are coming to us with 20-part projects,'' Bouchard said.
GW parts primarily are made of engineering resins like nylon, polyester and acetal. The firm also uses polypropylene for some decorative applications such as trim.
GW, which employs 420 in Bethel, San Antonio and Tucson, expects sales to climb 8 percent to reach $54 million in 1999.