ATIZAPAN DE ZARAGOZA, MEXICO — Pioneering packaging injection molder Europlast SA de CV, a 50-50 joint venture between Mexico's Weiss and Italy's Garlatti de Mozzi families, is to establish a mold making operation in the city of Querétaro, 130 miles northwest of Mexico City, at a cost of $2.5 million.
The 21,500-32,000-square-foot plant (its size has yet to be decided) will build specialized, as opposed to run-of-the-mill, molds for the automotive industry, Alberto Milani, Europlast's managing director, told Plastics News in an Oct. 2 interview.
In a separate interview, Nicolás Weiss, Europlast's CEO, said the facility will open in July or August, 2015, and employ 100 when fully operational. Four Mexican technicians are currently being trained in Italy, Milani said.
Headquartered in Atizapan de Zaragoza, on the northern edge of Mexico City, the Europlast group comprises four companies, one of which is Meccanica Generale Group, a custom mold maker based in Ancona, Italy.
According to Milani, MG already works extensively with the automotive and aerospace industries. “For Airbus we have made a couple of molds used in the manufacture of airplane seats,” he said.
Asked why Europlast, founded by the late Walter Garlatti de Mozzi in Atizapan in 1965, had decided to start mold making in Mexico, Milani replied: “We think now is the time.
“Before, not a lot of companies required molds in Mexico. But with the growth of the [international] automotive industry, a lot of companies need good molds. We know we have the quality and the knowledge.”
Weiss said that Europlast, which employs 410 and processes 15,000 tons of resins per year in Mexico, has always been one of the country's largest injection molders and has spawned countless other plastic processing enterprises.
Atizapan continues to be the center of its operations. It has two complexes in the municipality. The largest, covering 215,000 square feet, houses its corporate headquarters as well as 31 injection molding machines with a clamping force range of 60-2,600 tons. BMB SpA, of Brescia, is the group's largest press supplier.
According to Weiss, the main plant has annual sales of $40 million. Seventy percent of Europlast's income comes from packaging, primarily in the form of crates used by food producers and retailers, he said.
The second Atizapan facility manufactures automotive and domestic appliance parts while the Grupo Valba plant in Túla, Hidalgo, complements production at the headquarters facility.