Plastics Technology

JAN 2019

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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Two years later in 2015, still experiencing tremendous growth, including branching into new tool builds, the company faced a decision. Space-restricted at its location, but still sensing the potential to expand, the Windsor, Ont.,-based moldmaker opted to nearly triple its Mexican operation, electing to construct a new greenfield site in Querétaro. "We knew we'd already doubled in size at the original plant, and we were landlocked at that point," explains Wayne McLaughlin, plant manager at Integrity Tool and Mold de Mexico. "We saw a lot more opportunity coming, but we were at full capacity. It spawned the idea for this new plant; and at the same time, we were hearing a little bit from customers about better tryout support and the possibility of supporting them with service part runs." The company broke ground on the 118,000-ft 2 facility in the third quarter of 2016, and by June 2017, it began moving into the new space. When Plastics Technology visited in the fall of 2018, each of the three bays were filled to varying degrees with equipment, while the administrative space, including a cafeteria, neared final completion. "Our capable capacity in Mexico has tripled," McLaughlin says. "We're not to that level yet, but the infrastructure is here to do that." AUTOMOTIVE MARKET ACCELERATES As automotive OEMs and their tier suppliers set up factories in Mexico, the country's tooling industry is expanding rapidly alongside the burgeoning transportation sector. According to business information source IHS Markit, the 13 OEMs currently making light vehicles in Mexico—including BMW which will open its plant in San Luis Potosi in 2019—will produce just shy of 5 million automobiles in 2021, up 48% from 2015. In terms of part production, IHS Markit forecasts that by that time, Mexico will rank fourth globally, trailing only China, the U.S. and Japan. Speaking at the Amerimold 2018 conference last June in Novi, Mich. (organized by PT parent Gardner Business Media), Eduardo Medrano, president of Mexico's tooling association (AMMMT), said that the $3 billion worth of tools and dies imported by Mexico in 2017 made it the second largest market in the world. Only 5% of what the domestic market required was made locally. Because of the lack of domestic tool makers, Medrano said that Mexico imported an estimated 5000 plastic injection molds in 2017, supplied mainly from China, the U.S., Canada, South Korea and Germany for larger tools. For smaller molds, the top sources were, in order, the U.S., China, Germany, South Korea and Canada. According to AMMMT, there are currently 265 mold and die shops in Mexico, including 30 with foreign investment or ownership. These generate an estimated $175 million in sales, employing 3400 workers and running 1000 CNC machines to serve 695 local customers. BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE Integrity is banking on continued growth for moldmaking in Mexico, building in specialized capabilities and scale to its new Querétaro site with an eye to future needs. The facility has a In 2017, Mexico was the second largest market in the world for tools and dies, but only 5% of what the domestic market required was made locally. Among Integrity's machining capabilities are several large EDM systems from Makino. Integrity Tool and Mold's newest operation in Querétaro covers 118,000 ft 2 and seeks to grow alongside Mexico's growing moldmaking industry. @plastechmag 39 Plastics Technology On-Site Integrity Tool and Mold

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