Turin, Italy-based OMG srl sees big potential for thermoforming in the United States, and the company is making strategic moves to position itself for the growth.
As part of the effort, the Italian machinery manufacturer is considering plans to build machines at its facility in Arlington, Texas.
Luciano Garcia, U.S. sales manager at OMG Thermoforming Inc., the parent company's U.S. subsidiary, said the goal would be to start building machines here — about eight machines per year — in 2021. But that depends on demand, he explained.
"Once we have bigger demand, and we start growing a little bit more, we will plan to start building machines in the U.S. and have them ready in the U.S.," Garcia said in a phone interview with Plastics News. "Instead of shipping them from Italy, previously, they will be created here in the U.S. specifically."
OMG, which has been selling machines in the U.S. since 2000, is a newcomer to the region in terms of the company's physical presence. It only established a brick-and-mortar site in 2018, though the company has already grown into a larger leased space in Arlington.
Now, OMG occupies 15,000 square feet there, which means more room for inventory, spare parts and the potential to start building machines, Garcia said.
"We wanted to make sure that we have all the bases covered and the U.S., to be honest, it's a market that's growing way, way faster than we thought it was," he explained. "There's a huge market share that's available, and we're trying to get in."
But with the volatile nature of the business and regional headwinds, especially in politics as the U.S. readies itself for a presidential election in November, Garcia said OMG's decision to build machines here depends on how well the company does this year.
"With the political arena that we're in and everything, for us, it's important to make sure that we play our cards right," he explained. "We are a firm believer that if we're able to build machines here, first of all, it will be faster for the customer … but it also creates a [safety] net, and if you need something, you can get it."
The Arlington facility was initially established to store and retrofit thermoforming machines for delivery to customers and to stock spare parts. It also houses operations for sales and distribution.
"Our goal was to start the facility, be able to support — from a local perspective — the current customers that we have and also expand the business with the potential of creating the machines here in the U.S. in the future," he said.