Strongwell Corp., a pultruder of fiber-reinforced composites headquartered in Bristol, Va., started operations this month at a new manufacturing plant in northern Mexico.
Built in 2016, the facility in Apodaca, near Monterrey, makes pultruded profiles for Mexican ladder manufacturer Grupo Cuprum, according to CEO David Oakley.
Oakley told Plastics News by telephone that Strongwell, which has had a business relationship with Cuprum for 40 years, invested “slightly north of $15 million” in the new factory. Five pultruders have already been installed. A sixth one will be added in February, he said.
In a news release the government of the state of Nuevo León said the plant will employ 100 initially and 200 in the medium term.
On its website, Strongwell said the 83,000-square-foot factory was built on 7 acres and can be expanded to about 110,000 square feet, if necessary.
Responding to a question about production diversification at the Apodaca plant, Oakley said: “There's a possibility that somewhere down the road we may look at the Mexican market place and South America.”
But any product diversification would be solely for the Mexican and South American markets, not for the United States, he said.
Quality, engineering, purchasing and other functions for the facility are supported by both Strongwell's corporate site and its Chatfield, Minn., according to the Strongwell website.
A pultruder since 1956, Strongwell now has a total of about 70 pultrusion machines in operation at its four plants. It claims to be the world's largest pultruder of fiber-reinforced polymer.