Milacron Inc. is augmenting its beefed-up repair service in Mexico by buying used injection molding machines in the country, remanufacturing them and selling them with a one-year warranty on parts and 90 days on labor.
One machine is on sale for $64,000, a third of the price of a new press from the Batavia, Ohio-based company.
``We are the only [original equipment manufacturers] offering remanufacturing in Mexico,'' said Mark Ruberg, Milacron's director of aftermarket development. ``We are really encouraged by the reception we have been given by the customers. It has increased management's options.''
According to marketing director Robert Strickley, so many Milacron machines have been shipped down to Mexico from the U.S. over the years, ``We don't know how many there are. The population is in the tens of thousands. They are in all the major industries.''
At a two-day open house at the company's new $1 million service facility in the central Mexico city of Queretaro, Milacron managers and directors met customers from as far away as Medellín, Colombia, and Hermosillo, in northwestern Mexico.
Spanning 14,000 square feet of roofed floor space, plus an additional 10,000 square feet occupied by sister company Cimcool, the facility was inaugurated in June.
``We have four months to go before year's end and we have already exceeded our [business] target,'' said Charles Seifert, the bilingual general manager of Milacron Mexicana Sales SA de CV, a wholly owned Milacron subsidiary.
Ruberg said the new facility can ``completely strip down a machine and turn it into something almost new.''
Evidence of the workload at the Queretaro facility was the presence in September of a 600-ton Milacron press, assembled in 1981 and waiting to be rebuilt.
``There are thousands of machines like this in Mexico. We sold them like popcorn,'' said Strickley, a three-decade Milacron veteran.
The machine is owned by Enertec Mexico, a joint venture owned by Johnson Controls Inc. and Grupo IMSA that makes automotive battery cases in Monterrey.
``It has a 48-ounce injection unit,'' said Jose Egred, contract services business sales engineer for Milacron. ``We have gone to 111 ounces. We could have done the remanufacturing in their plant in Monterrey, but they don't have the space.''
According to Pablo Marin, managing director of Grupo Kangy, the main advantage of having the Milacron operation in Queretaro, close to one of his company's plants, is a major reduction in transportation costs.
Kangy is a large, family-owned company with 340 employees that does injection molding using totally recycled materials.
Because of weight restrictions on U.S. highways, he explained, the cost of transporting heavy equipment from the U.S. to Mexico has increased considerably in recent years.
``I spent $250,000 just on freight charges for three machines which I bought in Chicago, and which cost me considerably less than the cost of transportation,'' he said.
Milacron will remanufacture several of Kangy's 1,000-ton machines, which mold consumer goods such as garbage and storage cans.
``He will get faster cycle time, less scrap because the machine will run more efficiently and more up time,'' Ruberg said.
Queretaro was chosen as the center of Milacron operations in Mexico ``because it is in the middle of the industrial triangle formed by the cities of Saltillo [to the north], Guadalajara [to the west] and Toluca [to the south],'' said Mark Griffiths.
Griffiths is operations manager/controller for Canada, Mexico and South America for Cimcool industrial fluids, based in Burlington, Ontario.
``We benefit from good highways and well-qualified people,'' he added.