In 1998, Trend Technologies SA de CV opened a 5,300-square-foot assembly site employing six in the Guadalajara region.
Participants in a March 19 plant tour led by the Society of the Plastics Industry's Global Business Council saw a bustling, 250,000-square-foot, integrated plastics/metal assembly operation. Trend's Zapopan plant employs 1,450 - up from 600 in December - and hiring and training continues, said General Manager Flavio Magalhaes.
Big drivers include work on fully loaded enclosures for Dell Computer Corp.'s Dimension desktop line and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox video-game consoles.
Dell's October award for low-end Dimension production was the largest in the history of parent firm Trend Technologies Inc. of San Jose, Calif., Magalhaes said. The first run in Zapopan began Jan. 4. Visitors saw the line progressing toward a daily target of 6,000 units. The next goal: three lines making 10,000 enclosures per day. Trucks carry the units through customs and on to a Dell final assembly site in Nashville, Tenn., usually in three to five days.
Trend produces the Xbox enclosures for Flextronics International Ltd., which does final assembly at its nearby plant.
In addition, Trend manufactures enclosures for Dell docking stations and feeds the boxes to Jabil Circuit de Mexico SA de CV in Zapopan. Jabil Circuit Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla., applies components - 16,000 per hour - to bare printed circuit boards from Taiwan, integrates the boards and Trend-made enclosures, and ships the output to Dell hubs in Round Rock, Texas; Nashville; and three locations in Europe.
The Zapopan plant has 52 injection molding machines with clamping forces of 35-1,000 tons, five metal-stamping presses, several auxiliary processes and a well-equipped toolroom. Some other machines await installation in Zapopan.
Trend invested $5 million for infrastructure improvements for the most recent 100,000-square-foot leased addition. Trend identifies the site as Guadalajara North to distinguish it from Trend's metal-oriented Guadalajara South plant, about 22 miles away in Tlajomulco de ZúÃ±iga. Originally, Guadalajara South was a facility of Cowden Metal Specialties Inc., which Trend acquired in 2000.
Magalhaes, a Brazilian who joined Trend in 1994, played major roles in launching Trend's Round Rock plant near Dell headquarters in 1998 and then moving Zapopan manufacturing into the big leagues. Among Trend's overall capabilities, ``only soft tool and finishing is not done here,'' Magalhaes said.