Plastek Industries Inc. will continue looking south of the border for business by opening a new plant in Caracas, Venezuela. The Erie, Pa.-based injection molder plans to break ground on an 160,000-square-foot facility in Caracas this month, said Joseph Prischak, Plastek's president and chief executive officer.
The plant continues Plastek's recent growth strategy outside North America. The firm opened a 170,000-square-foot molding facility in Indaiatuba, Brazil — about 50 miles from Sao Paulo — in April 1999 and a 160,000-square-foot plant in Mansfield, England, in July.
Venezuela opens a new region for the packaging processor that cannot be served effectively from Brazil, Prischak said. Several Plastek customers already do business in the region.
The overseas plants help Plastek cut shipping costs from North America as much as 30 percent, while saving slightly on labor rates, he said.
"Venezuela is tough to serve from anywhere else," Prischak said in a Feb. 18 telephone interview. "It's an isolated country, with mountain ranges and rain forests. We can better meet the needs of customers by locating there."
The new plant, due to open by early 2001, will employ 400-500, Prischak said.
The company will install 50-60 injection presses ranging in clamping force from 100-500 tons, Prischak said. He did not disclose the investment in the plant.
The operation, as with the other overseas Plastek facilities, will mold consumer packaging for a variety of companies. The company produces such products as deodorant sticks, mascara tubes and telecommunication products, using an assortment of thermoplastics.
Plastek ranked 44th on Plastics News' list of top North American injection molders with an estimated $125 million in relevant sales. The company also has three U.S. plants and makes some injection tools in North America.
The overseas plants do not make production tools, but do perform mold repair, Prischak said.