Anyang, South Korea-based machine builder LS Mtron Co. Ltd. will establish LS IMM Mexico with a headquarters and technical center in Monterrey and a demonstration center in Querétaro in 2024.
The new subsidiary, which will be officially called LSIU Mexico S. de RL de CV, was announced Nov. 16 along with the hiring of a Mexico-based management team headed by CEO Kevin Kim, formerly of Yudo Group, and Fulvio Menconi Cardin, formerly of KraussMaffei, Engel and Husky.
More than 1,000 LS injection molding machines are currently running in Mexico, according to Kim, who worked for hot runner system and auxiliary equipment supplier Yudo-Abiman for 12 years, most recently as the CEO and general manager in Mexico.
Many of those LS presses are serving South Korean transplant companies in the automotive and appliance markets, including its own updated facilities for LS Automotive and the founding company, LG Electronics Corp., which manufactures televisions, refrigerators, washers, dryers and more.
LS chose Monterrey for its HQ site in Mexico because of the large number of plastics processors in the region, including the automotive unit.
"It's a big advantage for us to show prospective customers these facilities, so they can see our machines in operation," Kim said in a news release.
The LS Group of companies compliment and support the LG Group, giving the machine builders a marketing tagline of "made for molders by molders."
The need for a Mexican subsidiary is being driven by the "growth of interest" in LS Mtron presses by North American companies, Peter Gardner, president of Duluth, Ga.-based LS Mtron Injection Molding Machine USA, said in an email.
"And, there is a definite effect of China-decoupling going on here too, with many of our customer's projects involving bringing work from China into the U.S. and Mexico," Gardner added.
He said the specifics of the amount of the Mexican investment, the sizes of the new facilities and the number of jobs to be created aren't known yet.
"It will be a large investment," Gardner added.
Plastics processors currently in Mexico running LS presses include suppliers to LG, Samsung, GM, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Whirlpool and manufacturers of medical devices, construction materials and dairy bottle lids.
LS already has a tech center in Monterrey with four LS Mtron machines ranging from 170-450 tons. Customer training and trials will be held there, spare parts will be stocked there and service assistance will be available in Spanish.
A sales and service office will also be opened soon in Queretaro to service customers in that part of the country.
"Our company's blueprint for growth and success has worked extremely well in the USA, and we will help our partners in Mexico so they can achieve the same success," Gardner said.
LS IMM USA and Mexico will have the same service and support contact information and will share service technicians as necessary.
"We have several large customers in the USA who have plants in Mexico," said Paul Caprio, LS IMM USA president of sales. "They now will have the best of both worlds, with direct LS support available in both countries."
The goal is to capture more business from the local market.
"We have aggressive plans to grow our market share in Mexico," Kim said. "Molders in Mexico and the USA have similar issues; they all want good pricing and fast deliveries. LS can provide that, and more."
LS has extensive operations in Mexico. LS Automotive opened a $60.8 million plant in Guadalupe, Mexico, in 2019, to manufacture electronic components, including six dozen different automotive components, such as interior switches, touch interior lamps, overhead console lamps, electric seat modules and sensors.
Currently, LS e-Mobility Solutions Company Ltd, the power transmission systems unit of LS Group formerly known as LS Electric Co., is building an electric vehicle (EV) parts plant in the Mexican state of Durango to help meet growing demand from automotive clients in North America.
The facility, which is expected to be completed by the end this year, will supply parts for EVs produced by Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp.
LS companies generate about $30 billion a year in sales and employ about 25,000 people while the LG companies take in about $122.5 billion annually with 60,000 employees.
The LS Mtron presses for North America and Europe are built in South Korea. The company can build any size press from casting to cargo in 100 days and it also keeps a large stock of 55- to 1400-ton machines.
Meanwhile, another injection molding machine builder, Austria-based injection press and robot maker Engel Holding GmbH, plans to build a major manufacturing facility in central Mexico with operations to begin by the fall of 2025, Luis Márquez, regional sales manager for the north of Mexico, told Plastics News.
Plans are for Engel de México SA de CV to manufacture presses with a clamping force of up to 3,000 metric tons or more in the Querétaro area of Mexico.
In addition, Haitian International Holdings Ltd. will begin to increase the size of the injection molding presses it manufactures in the western Mexican state of Jalisco next year.