Canadian mold maker Rocand Inc. is opening a manufacturing operation in Silao, Mexico, to supply local customers.
“There is a lot of automotive investment in the [U.S.-Mexico] corridor where we are located,” Rocand President and owner Andre Rochette said in a phone interview from Silao, where he is helping the company start up the new business.
Rocand is spending up to C$5 million (US$3.8 million) on new equipment for the facility. It has installed three five-axis CNC machines and will take delivery of the fourth in about a month. It also has EDM machines, grinders and other tool-building machinery on site. Rochette said five new injection molding presses are on their way to Silao, including Battenfeld and Negri Bossi machines. The stable of injection presses ranging from 85 to 900 tons will do mold testing, prototyping and production, he explained.
Rocand was on the verge of establishing a Mexico base in 2008 when the automotive downturn discouraged its plans for a technical support facility in Monterrey. Rocand now is leasing a new 40,000-square-foot building in Silao with an option to purchase.
Rocand's main mold production base has been its 85-employee Quebec City, Quebec, headquarters plant, where it also runs three presses for mold trials. The firm, founded in 1996, counts automotive Tier 1 operations as its main customers. In addition to injection molds, Rocand is a specialist in blow molds for automotive fuel tanks, a field in which it has global recognition supported by its mold technical centers in France, Brazil and Germany. Rochette said his firm distinguishes itself from rivals by focusing on specialty molds such as those for technical jobs, texturing and overmolding. For blow molding it also builds end-of-arm tooling.
“With this new manufacturing plant, Rocand is able to increase its production capacity and collaborate even more closely with its clients and partners,” noted Rocand vice president of operations Sarah Bégin in a news release.
Rochette said his firm hopes to employ as many as 200 when the Rocand Molde y Plástico S de RL de CV operation is at full speed in five years.