Window profile maker Aluplast GmbH of Karlsruhe, Germany, is increasing its extruding operations in Mexico with a $3.5 million expansion program.
The privately owned company opened its first plant outside Europe in Veracruz four years ago with an initial investment of $5 million.
“In the next 12 months we will invest another 2.5 million euros [$3.5 million] in new systems,” Andreas Wallisch, managing director of Mexican affiliate Aluplastmex SA de CV, said in a July 19 interview.
Aluplast, the world's fifth-largest manufacturer of window profiles, according to Wallisch, operates three KraussMaffei extrusion lines and three co-extrusion lines in Veracruz, where the plant is operating at 60 percent capacity.
However, Wallisch said, “We have the infrastructure installed for seven extrusion lines.”
Behind the expansion project is a business strategy shift, according to Wallisch.
“The high-end segment represents 2 percent of the total window market in Latin America,” he said. “Right now we have a 70 percent share of this high market segment in the whole of Latin America. Now we are looking at the next market segment, which represents 30 percent of the windows and door market in Mexico.”
Aluplastmex has 30 window-manufacturing clients in Mexico, which accounts for 75 percent of its sales. Accounting for the rest are Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador. The company moved into the Brazilian and Ecuadorian markets only this year.
Aluplastmex employs 25 in Veracruz and processes 5.5 million pounds of PVC resin per year, which is about 1.8 percent of the nearly 309 million pounds — equivalent to 10 million windows per year — used by Aluplast in Europe annually, the executive said.
According to Wallisch, Aluplast uses KraussMaffei extruders in all its facilities. Extrusion tool and equipment maker Greiner Extrusion GmbH of Nussbach, Austria, will supply the new tools required in Veracruz.
“Next month we will start receiving tools” from Greiner, he said.
Wallisch has been with Aluplast for 15 years. Explaining how the company came to start manufacturing in Mexico, he said owner Manfred Seitz visited an exhibition in Mexico and saw the potential.
“He decided to produce on the [North] American continent and chose Mexico because of its geographical location.”