Wieselburg, Austria-based lighting systems manufacturer ZKW Group GmbH is investing $102 million to expand its production space in Silao, Mexico, to make room for more injection molding, surface treatment and painting systems.
"We are planning to increase our production by 1.5 million headlights with the new plant extension," Sandra Simeonidis-Huber, communication and marketing manager at ZKW Group, told Plastics News. "By 2025, in total, our production will increase to 3.5 million headlights."
The plant, which began operations in 2016, will be expanded by 168,900 square feet (15,700 square meters) to a total of 524,200 square feet.
The expansion is expected to create 830 new jobs, a July 27 news release said, including engineers, technicians and administrative and support staff. By 2025, ZKW expects to have 2,522 employees at the site.
"We want the most talented people, with and without experience, to design, develop and produce the most innovative headlights in the automotive industry," Jan Seumenicht, general plant manager at ZKW Mexico, said in the release. "We will produce headlights and center lights for electric vehicles and SUVs for BMW, Ford and General Motors. We are also working on a first project with Volkswagen."
"In collaboration with Volvo, ZKW is developing a new type of headlamp with dynamic mechatronics and various integrated systems," the release said.
By 2024, the site is expected to have more than 15 assembly lines and 20 injection molding machines, Simeonidis-Huber said. The site will also feature a specialized center for optical lenses.
ZKW's investment includes an automated small-parts warehouse, "which will help to increase our efficiency in terms of logistics," Simeonidis-Huber added. The expanded space is expected to begin operating in January 2024.
CEO Wilhelm Steger said the site may develop and produce "more complex and cutting-edge headlights."
ZKW Mexico manufactures headlights for car manufacturers including BMW, Ford Lincoln, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Nissan Infiniti, Volkswagen and Volvo. ZKW Group has a total of 12 locations worldwide. In 2021, it employed about 10,000 and generated total sales of 1.07 billion euros ($1.09 billion).