Mexico City — Custom injection molder PlastiExports SA de CV of Apodaca, Mexico, has acquired its first U.S. injection molding plant.
PlastiExports bought the Morrill Motors Inc. manufacturing plant in Erwin, Tenn., from Regal Beloit Corp. The facility started operating as PlastiExports Tennessee LLC on June 1, according to Operations Director J.P. Metcalf.
The deal includes 61,000 square feet of manufacturing space, 22 injection presses and 10 acres of adjacent land for future expansion, Metcalf said.
In a telephone interview, he said the Mexican owners are investing heavily in re-equipping the facility, which was scheduled to be shuttered in September, a year after Regal Beloit announced its closure.
Closing the plant would have put 130 people out of work in Erwin, a town of 6,000 on the Appalachian Trail. Metcalf said PlastiExports' "plan right now" is to employ up to 125 workers within eight to 12 months.
"We are loading this facility with 50 presses with a clamping force range of 50-750 tons. … We plan to standardize [the presses] using JSW technology," Metcalf said.
About 70 percent of the Morrill Motors jobs were injection molding related, said Metcalf, who worked for Morrill for 28 years.
Metcalf declined to confirm local news reports that PlastiExports paid $7 million in the acquisition but added the company plans "to invest significantly more than $7 million and to grow the business in the United States."
He added that the company will diversify its base of 15-22 customers from such segments as motors, off-road vehicles, home appliances and automotive.
"We are already doing some medical, and we're planning to develop a clean room," he said, adding that, it "will follow the exact way PlastiExports is set up in Mexico."