Negri Bossi North America, which sells injection molding presses made in Italy by Negri Bossi SpA, is building a technical center in Michigan this year to grow in the automotive sector.
President Tony Firth said the facility in Plymouth, Mich., will accommodate a sales office, warehouse and showroom for demonstrating Negri Bossi injection molding machines and Sytrama robots.
“We felt that we needed a physical presence in that market area,” Firth said. “The plan is to demonstrate machines [with clamping forces] as large as 2,000 tons.”
Firth said the goal is to open the facility by September. Interviewed by phone on Jan. 11, he said final plans are still being put together. Negri Bossi North America is looking to hire a sales manager to cover Michigan, who will work out of the new tech center.
Negri Bossi North America, based in New Castle, Del., began advertising for the regional sales manager position in November. Firth wrote about plans for the Michigan facility in a message from the president posted on the company's website just before Christmas.
In addition to serving as a showcase for Negri Bossi technology, the Plymouth tech center also complements the recent addition of service technicians based in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, and a new direct salesperson covering the Illinois/Wisconsin territory, he said.
Firth did not have information about the size of the building. “We're still working through details with planning and architectural details at the moment,” he said.
This will be the first Negri Bossi North America facility outside of its Delaware headquarters.
Firth said that, internationally, Negri Bossi's sales increased about 15 percent in 2016 vs. 2015. The North American business was about the same both years, but at a good level, he said, adding that 2015 was “a great year for us.
“The industry's robust. It's healthy. There's lots of activity. But I just don't see significant growth,” Firth said.
He said Negri Bossi wants to take market share in the United States. “We're planning to grow within the market, but we don't see the overall market as growing,” Firth said.
Firth said new products that debuted at the K 2016 show in Düsseldorf, Germany, are now available in North America. He said the officials have high expectations for the Canbio ST range of machines, and added that the company will launch several more new products this year.
Like the rest of the industry, Firth said Negri Bossi North America is waiting to see the impact of incoming President Donald Trump.
“I think it's early in the election cycle so it's difficult to know what the macroeconomic influence is going to be. But right now our forecast is going to be a similar year overall, than last,” Firth said. “There's probably a little bit of pent-up demand hanging over from last year, that we're starting to see this year.”
Some economists and industry leaders expect Trump to roll back regulations on business. Firth said that could help manufacturers, but he said there will be “counterbalancing” effects such as interest rate hikes.
Molding work continues to return to the United States, Firth said: “There's still growing evidence of reshoring.”