A ceremony for a new Moll Industries Inc. injection molding operation in Mexico gained wide media exposure with the presence of Vicente Fox, the country's president.
Fox joined with Paul Adkins, Moll's newly appointed president and chief executive officer, in a Nov. 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility - Moll's 10th - in Ramos Arizpe.
Moll decided in April to establish an operation in the city and broke ground in May.
The ceremony was set to fit Fox's schedule, but construction of the 135,000-square-foot building on 3.5 acres will continue into December, with production projected to begin in January or February with an initial 200 employees. Moll expects to have 500 workers in Ramos Arizpe when the operation reaches full production.
The plant will operate 10 injection molding presses on start-up and plans to quickly add 34 more machines. Most are Toshiba and Cincinnati Milacron units typically in the range of 100-1,650 tons.
The facility, which can house up to 50 presses, is about 45 miles west of a 35,000-square-foot Monterrey, Mexico, plant that Moll acquired Jan. 31 from Formec SA de CV.
Moll said a long-term vision for its Mexico operations requires more capacity than the former Formec plant could provide.
The Ramos Arizpe and Monterrey sites operate as Moll Mexico S de RL de CV, a Mexican company.
Moll also operates a maquiladora about 650 miles west-northwest in Empalme, Mexico.
The company said it has seen a resurgence of interest from North American and Asian product makers seeking to optimize their supply chains and obtain logistical benefits.
``We anticipate continuing movement and realignment of infrastructure from North America to Mexico as many of our customers, partners and suppliers believe it to be a no-risk alternative to Asia with far greater value,'' Adkins said in a news release.
In choosing to invest in Ramos Arizpe, Moll determined that ``the State of Coahuila provided better benefits'' than competing locations and ``the industrial park provided the needed infrastructure at competitive pricing,'' Adkins said. Some current Moll customers have operations nearby.
Moll is investing $5.5 million for the leased building and property, $2.5 million for infrastructure including utilities, cranes and climate controls and $6 million to $7 million for operating equipment.
As with the Monterrey and Empalme sites, the Ramos Arizpe plant is positioned within Moll's custom molding division. There is space to install a clean room in Ramos Arizpe, which eventually could enable that location to do work for Moll's medical/consumer precision division.
Adkins joined Dallas-based Moll on Oct. 7 and brought extensive foreign business experience to the plastics processor.
Over 22 years, Adkins was a senior executive with telecommunications, technology and financial service providers. He was a partner and managing director of private equity firm H&W Asia Pacific, vice president of international operations for Millicom International Cellular SA and a manager of subsidiaries in Asia and Latin America for Openwave Systems Inc. and Oracle Corp.
As Moll president, Adkins succeeds Ron Embree, who remains with the company as chief operating officer.
Moll is eyeing expansion elsewhere.
Without disclosing targets or timing, Adkins said Moll plans to acquire the operating assets and infrastructures of molding companies in the United States and Latin America.
``This serves to immediately increase our operating capacity, which is required to meet ongoing demand as well as to provide the important new technologies we require for penetrating key growth sectors,'' he said.
In addition to the Formec purchase, Moll acquired Empalme and three other plants from Textron Inc. on Feb. 5.