Milacron Inc. officials were feeling pretty good at Plastimagen, thanks to the company's long history of doing business in Mexico, plus the favorable exchange rate for Mexican processors interested in buying U.S.-made equipment.
``It's fun down here because there's so much going on,'' said Jim Moore, Milacron's regional vice president for Michigan and automotive. ``We're blessed with the advantage of the exchange rate,'' Moore said, adding, ``There ain't no slowdown down here. Things are booming.''
The company sold some big iron that it brought to the show floor: a TC 80/84 conical twin-screw extruder, and a 310-ton MTg injection press.
Maquiladora plants, including automotive suppliers, are doing well, according to Ernesto Sosa, vice president and marketing manager for Plastec U.S.A. Inc., Milacron's Miami-based sales representative for much of Latin America, including Mexico. So are infrastructure and construction goods suppliers, including pipe extruders.
``Companies in Mexico are investing to be competitive,'' Sosa said. ``Mexico politically is a lot more stable, so companies are making decisions that are a lot more long term.''
A big plus for Milacron in Mexico has been its machine remanufacturing business. Rebuilt machinery is traditionally a strong category in Mexico, so about two years ago the Cincinnati-based equipment company started doing remanufacturing in Queretaro, Mexico.
Typically rebuilding a machine involves doing work for a specific processor - say you've got an old 300-ton machine. You send it to a firm like Milacron for new controls and hydraulics at a fraction of the cost of a new press.
But now, in addition to that, Milacron is remanufacturing some used machines and having them ready for sale to anyone, so customers don't have to wait.
``We're doing really well,'' said Jose Egred, sales manager for CSB International, Milacron's rebuilt machinery unit. ``We had nine machines [ready for sale] not long ago, and now only four are left. We thought it would be a plus. It already has been.''
Another area that Milacron touted as strong in Mexico is service and spare parts. Again, because of the favorable exchange rate, the company has been able to pick up business supplying new screws and barrels - even parts for non-Milacron machines.
``We do a couple of million dollars a year in aftermarket parts [here],'' said Steve Kelsey, technical process engineer for Milacron's ServTek parts and service business. ``It's grown exponentially.
``There was a need down here for processing support. They're starving for technology down here in a lot of ways.''