Mexico City — Canadian mold maker Omega Tool Corp. is investing US$5 million to expand its Mexico manufacturing site, adding testing and validation equipment and a 4,000-ton Krauss Maffei molding machine.
The Oldcastle, Ontario-based firm plans to finish the expansion of its Querétaro facility by February and have it fully staffed and operating by the end of 2018.
"Mexico is growing very quickly," said Eduardo Venegas, general manager of Omega Tool Canada de Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V. "We know that it's a good chance to do business in the country and the support the economy, not just for Mexico but also from the shareholders in Canada."
The company opened a 26,000-square-foot mold making plant in Querétaro in 2015, a $15 million investment where it employs 55.
The new testing and validation center will add another 27,000 square feet, including more space for a partner company, Alba Tooling & Engineering GmbH, an Austrian mold maker that specializes in molds for foaming products.
It expects the Mexico operation to employ 80 when it's fully operational by the end of 2018.
Omega specializes in large-sized tools to both automotive and non-automotive customers.
The Mexico operation derives about 95 percent of its revenues from the auto industry, and the company said that market continues to be strong for it.
"From our perspective we feel like the economy is still growing," he said. "A little bit slower than last year but still growing."
He said the company worked hard to get the Querétaro operation building new molds quickly, and shipped its first molds eight months after opening the mold making plant in April 2015.
Foreign mold makers that set up in Mexico typically take up to two years to move from doing repairs and engineering changes of existing molds to building complete new molds but Omega felt comfortable with the talent of the local operation, he said.
He said the new testing and validation center was part of Omega's original investment plan for Mexico, and indicates that business remains good. Mexico remains a small part of Omega's overall business, though, he said. Its Canadian operation employs 300, for example.