Custom injection molder MVP Plastics Inc. is back in Brownsville, Texas, in a brand-new building with an equipment technology center and a burgeoning joint venture that owner Darrell McNair expects to double MVP's sales in 2023.
The Middlefield, Ohio-based molder launched its Brownsville operation in 2015 but relocated to a larger, 30,000-square-foot facility in McAllen, Texas, in 2020. It quickly outgrew that space. Now, McNair and his crew are settling into a still-larger site in Brownsville. The company shouldn't run out of space for a while this time: The 50,000-square-foot plant can be expanded by 25,000 square feet if necessary.
The new digs include a technical center for large-ton machinery and mold testing, training, display and production, stocked with presses from LS Mtron Co. Ltd. of Anyang, South Korea. Potential customers can view the machines and see how they operate.
"We've been a longtime user of Mtron machines," McNair said June 2 by phone. "Of our 34 machines, we have 10 of theirs in Brownsville and another five in our Ohio facility."
Seven of the Brownsville Mtron presses are new.
"Mtron was looking to further their sales in North America and they saw Texas as a long-term, growing market," he added.
Mtron's U.S. operation is based in Duluth, Ga., about 25 miles northeast of Atlanta.
But the driving force behind MVP's growth is an alliance that officially grew into a joint venture last year with Chinese injection molder Suzhou Junchuang Auto Technologies Co. Ltd.
Under the venture, known as Junchuang North America Inc. (JCNA), MVP will help handle the Suzhou-based automotive molder's growth on this continent, especially with OEMs in Texas and Mexico.
With the Brownsville expansion, and now that Asian firms "have seen our ability to produce in the North American market," McNair has increased his projected 2022 annualized sales from $12.5 million to $18 million. He expects to see annualized sales of $25 million in 2023.
"Partnerships have provided opportunities for us to grow and expand — both revenues and people — and opened doors," he said. "They bring a level of technical expertise we've not had and add value to our operation."
McNair invested $3 million in the new, leased building, which MVP has been prepping for about nine months, installing plumbing, electricity and just about everything else from scratch. MVP received tax breaks from the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp. for training and creating 50 jobs over three years. The plant currently employs 33.
"They're running production in there right now. Ramp-up started two weeks ago, moving all the activity from McAllen over to Brownsville," he said. The company plans an open house June 8.
MVP employs 70 between the Brownsville and Middlefield operations. The Ohio plant, which used to be almost entirely devoted to automotive work, has diversified. Automotive now makes up only about 40 percent of production there; the rest comprises consumer and industrial products.