Mexico City — Domo Engineering Plastics US LLC plans to open a company-owned warehouse in Mexico in the next year, as part of the globalization strategy by the maker of nylon and other engineering resins.
CEO Marc Potemans said Domo has done business in Mexico for years, but "more on an import basis." In April, Domo hired Daniel Garcia as commercial director to handle Mexico. Before joining the nylon supplier, Garcia held sales executive positions at DSM Mexico, H. Muehlstein & Co. Inc., and GE Polymerland Mexico.
Potemans said Domo is beefing up its direct presence in Mexico. "We're establishing a sales office. We're trying to create a local presence, to support our global automotive business, which is growing rapidly here in Mexico," he said in an interview at Plastimagen in Mexico City.
Ludovic Tonnerre, global business unit manager of engineering plastics, said "the ultimate goal is to have a plant, with local production."
That's what happened in the United States in 2015. Domo Chemicals GmbH bought Technical Polymers LLC in Buford, Ga. Earlier this year the German chemical company renamed the company Domo Engineering Plastics US.
Buying the U.S. compounding company gave Domo direct access to U.S. automakers, and to German transplant car factories in the southeastern United States.
"The Buford facility and our activities here in Mexico are all driven by our globalization effort," Potemans said. "In the last few years, we have made acquisitions in Europe, we've made acquisitions China and we've made acquisitions in the United States. It's all part of following our automotive customers."
Nylon has many automotive applications, including high-heat under-the-hood components such as fuel lines and engine covers, as well as sound-deadening parts and luggage racks.
Potemans said Mexico does not make nylon resin. "But there are a lot of nylon-based compounds being made and used here," he said.
Garcia, an engineer with 22 years of plastics experience, said Mexico has evolved, and its universities are graduating good engineers.
"In the beginning, we had simple plastic parts and people were molding it, like regular workers. Now we're hiring more and more engineers. We're doing more complex parts, and we're starting to have design centers in Mexico. So, little by little, Mexico is getting more weight [in plastics molding]," he said.
But Mexico — like other parts of the world — needs more skilled people, and especially technical service people, Garcia said.
Potemans said that needs to change.
"The Mexican plastics market here has grown so rapidly over the last few years, that the market has grown at a much faster pace than the formation and the acquisition of additional skilled labor. And I think it's a disconnect," he said. "It's a catch-up that has to be happening over the next few years."