E&O Tool & Plastics Inc. is entering Mexico to supply customers located there.
The Elk River, Minn., firm said it will start a custom injection molding plant in Monterrey by Aug. 1. The firm will lease a 21,000-square-foot plant and start with five presses with clamping forces of 90-250 tons. E&O sales director Rob Clarno said some presses will be moved from Elk River and others purchased.
E&O initially will employ 20 in Monterey and operate around-the-clock, six days a week. The size of the operation is geared to a major, undisclosed customer for which the molder already is shipping parts into Mexico.
``Our partnership with a key customer offered us the opportunity to expand our relationship with them, outside the U.S.,'' E&O President Tim Osterman said in a news release.
Meanwhile, E&O has expanded its home base, boosting injection molding capacity earlier this spring with the addition of three presses and robots.
The firm bought presses with clamping forces of 250, 390 and 500 tons and had all of them running in early May, Clarno said. They were made by various press suppliers, he said by telephone.
E&O molds for a range of customers and the new presses are not dedicated to any particular account, Clarno said. Each press has a robot to boost productivity. E&O now runs 31 presses, three of them 500-tonners. It did not add floor space because its 75,000-square-foot facility can accommodate the machines.
The firm recorded about $13.2 million in custom molding sales last year and another $1 million or so in tool sales. It also offers prototyping, decorating and assembly, and does insert molding. It employs about 160.