Tooling Science Inc. is closing its shop in Mexico.
Tooling Science de Mexico in El Salto opened in 1999 to do tooling support, repair and maintenance and added mold-building services recently. The site employed six, down from 16 at one time.
While April 30 is the official closure date, April 22 was the last day for employees, Dennis Vlasak, vice president and co-owner of the parent company in Maple Grove, Minn., said by telephone. Since October, ``the economy slowed down, and operations [in the Mexican shop] were maybe 30 percent of capacity.''
The firm will try to sell the equipment in Mexico or relocate it to Minnesota.
The site near Guadalajara was set up to do repairs for the El Salto facility of Tech Group Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., subleasing 3,000 square feet in the Tech Group de Mexico SRL de CV building.
Using Maple Grove designs, the Mexico operation built four tools including a blow mold for a LeÃ³n, Mexico, customer, two injection molds for an El Salto automotive supplier and an injection mold for a Zapopan, Mexico, contract manufacturer, Kevin Fraser, general manager in El Salto, said during a March 20 tour.
Fraser, who remains on duty, had branched out to supply molders and original equipment and contract manufacturers in other Mexican cities such as LeÃ³n, Queretaro and Mexico City.
Recently, Tech Group accounted for 10-15 percent of Tooling Science's work in Mexico, Fraser said.
``With the economy taking a downturn and OEMs not outsourcing their tooling support, we couldn't find justifiable work,'' Fraser said. Larger companies have internal mold-support capabilities.
Tooling Science de Mexico collaborated on certain jobs with Talleres Mendoza SA de CV, a local tool maintenance and building shop.