Mexico City — Engel plans to build a major manufacturing facility in central Mexico, a senior company official said Nov. 9.
It expects to have the plant up and running by the fall of 2025, Luis Márquez, regional sales manager for the north of Mexico, told Plastics News.
Employed by Engel de México SA de CV, he said the company wants to manufacture injection molding machines with a clamping force of up to 3,000 metric tons or more.
Márquez could not say immediately what the size of the investment will be.
He said the project will be formally announced early in 2024.
"We will start with 100 employees and grow to about 300," he said in an interview at the Engel booth at Plastimagen Mexico 2023.
Márquez said Engel has already hired 50 people to work at the plant. According to Márquez, the new Engel plant will be built on a 10-hectare (24.7-acre) site that the company is buying in the Querétaro area of Mexico.
"Next year we will hire 100 more and end with about 300 in the first stage. There will be three stages," he said.
According to Márquez, Engel used to have a manufacturing plant in Canada but shuttered that facility in 2008.
"We have a manufacturing plant in [South] Korea and two in China, one in Shanghai and another to the north of Shanghai," he said.
Engel de Mexico is part of Austria-based injection press and robot maker Engel Holding GmbH.
Márquez said companies including Tesla and Tata Motors have recently announced plans to build manufacturing facilities in Monterrey, in northern Mexico, while other multinational companies such as Robert Bosch are already operating plants in the country.
Márquez, who spoke to PN after urging Engel staff at Plastimagen to keep up the good work, said rival company Haitian sold more machines in Mexico in the past year "but the value of our [Engel's] sales is higher."
Engel has a long history in Mexico. The company opened a sales and service subsidiary in 1996. In 2010, Engel moved the facility from Mexico City to Querétaro and expanded the operation. In March 2019, the company opened a second location in Mexico, in San Pedro near Monterrey.
In 2018, at the NPE trade show in Orlando, Fla., Engel officials said they planned to resume U.S. assembly at Engel Machinery Inc. in York, Pa. Later, at the Fakuma show in Germany, they said the plan was to build the first machine there in the first quarter of 2019. At the time, the company cited demand and long lead times for its big machines.
But then the plastics machinery market changed overnight when the United States and China became embroiled in a trade war, with dueling tariffs levied on both sides. The plastics machinery market ended up slowing down, and Engel did not restart assembly operations in York.
Márquez gave a positive report on the third day of the Plastimagen trade show in Mexico City.
“We have sold three machines at Plastimagen so far, two to suppliers of the automotive industry and one to a custom molder – one with a clamping force of 450 metric tons, another of 650 metric tons and a third of 1,100 metric tons.”
“This year has been atypical. At the beginning it was busy. It became less busy in August and now it is picking up again. In general, it has been a good year.
“For us at Engel, the European and Asian markets have not been good but the U.S., Canada and Mexico are doing very well,” he said. “Our growth forecast was 6 percent more than last year. But it will be 10 percent.”
He said that Engel will soon open a showroom and training center in Monterrey.