SAN DIEGO (Aug. 19, 1:30 p.m. ET) — Japanese mold maker Ikegami Mold de México SA de CV hopes to build a 12,000-15,000 square-foot plant in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2012.
“Our customer base in the area is steadily increasing and we're hoping to get enough business to start building our factory within a year,” said Josh Koga, managing director of Ikegami Mold's Mexican and U.S. operations.
The company is a subsidiary of Ikegami Mold Engineering Co. Ltd. of Kuki, Japan, which in recent years has invested about $2.8 million in Mexico on land, buildings and equipment, according to Koga.
Ikegami has two plants in Mexico, one in Tijuana and the other in Monterrey, which opened last November.
The company has 30 customers in the country, 10 of them as a result of starting the Monterrey operation, Koga said in an interview.
To date, Ikegami has invested $250,000 just in equipment for the existing 5,000-square-foot facility in Monterrey. It includes a 300-ton Sanko-Seiki die spotting press and an Alpha Laser AL 120 laser welding machine.
Much of the company's business is with the automotive industry. Once Ikegami has moved into its new Monterrey factory, it plans to have “large-enough machines to take care of molds for fascias or instrument panels, one of the largest plastic parts for cars, along with bumpers,” Koga said.
The Mexican subsidiary also serves the medical, power tool and other commodity product sectors.
Mexico's economy is expected to grow by about 4 percent this year.
“In terms of the plastic industry, I still see growth potential,” Koga said. “I hear many U.S. companies have decided to switch from Chinese subcontractors to [their] own factories in Mexico, due to the increase in labor costs in China.”
Asked whether drug-related violence in Monterrey over the past year has deterred Ikegami from investing in the city, he said: “Not in a major way, except for slightly discouraging [our] employees in Tijuana who have to fly to Monterrey to work.”
Koga oversees 10 employees in Tijuana, five in Monterrey, one in San Diego, where he is based, and a sales representative in Detroit.