Tech Group de Mexico srl de CV recently launched production of an integrated fan motor system for commercial refrigeration units and vending machines. Monthly production of GE Industrial Systems' ECM 58 Series line is up to 9,000 and could go to 20,000 units, depending on market demand.
``This unit is 40 percent more energy-efficient than the most efficient fan you can buy on the market,'' Bill Gerard said during a March 20 tour of the El Salto plant for the SPI Global Business Council. ``We get a fan that is incredibly balanced.''
Gerard is managing director for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Tech Group Inc.'s Latin American operations, including El Salto and Cidra, Puerto Rico.
Selling for about $45 wholesale, the fully magnetized, variable-direction fan operates with programmable revolutions of 200-2,000 per minute.
General Electric Co. engineers borrowed engine technologies from the aircraft and submarine industries, Keith Selby, product manager for GE Industrial Systems' dry refrigeration business in Fort Wayne, Ind., said by phone. Development took three years.
``We mold all the parts and assemble the full fan'' using glass-filled engineering resins, about 20 components and vertical encapsulation molding capability, project manager Victor Cisneros said during the tour.
Recently, production stalled. Tech flagged critical U.S.-made electronic components. ``We rejected the last lot, and the lot that is supposed to be here is in customs,'' Gerard said.
Separately, the El Salto site can make several hundred million electronic-transfer cards a year.
Tech Group followed key customer Gemplus SA of Gemenos, France, to Mexico and established the facility in 1998. In February the two firms signed a new long-term production contract. Tech molds smart-card blanks on robot-equipped Netstal Synergy machines using a special ABS grade.
Tech delivers the blanks to a Gemplus plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico, about 350 miles from El Salto. Gemplus personalizes each card, embeds a semiconductor chip and supplies most of the finished output for use in Mexican pay telephones.
``The tolerance we hold on this card is often measured in microns,'' Gerard said.
At its 42,000-square-foot plant in El Salto, Tech employs 75, operates 27 presses from 55-310 tons, and has a Class 100,000 clean room for medical molding.