Portuguese mould maker Geco Lda. is investing heavily in Mexico and is committed to helping develop the country's tooling industry, its president says.
Over the next two years, Geco will invest €2m in a new facility in Querétaro, President Antonio Febra said at Plastimagen México 2017.
The company, with annual sales of €20m, which employs 300 at its headquarters plant in Maceira, Portugal, has invested €1m since setting up a mould maintenance operation in Mexico 16 years ago.
"By the middle of next year, we will have new facilities in Querétaro, where we intend to offer technical services up to 40 tonnes," Febra told Plastics News. In Querétaro, 135 miles northwest of Mexico City, the company not only owns its plant but also has a 10-tonne crane, four CNC machines and two EDM machines, among others.
It employs 10 and has about 20 customers in the automotive and agriculture industries.
"The reason we are offering these [post-sale] services only is that we are now starting to instruct young people straight from school and teaching them" about the mould making trade, Febra said.
"It will take at least another 10 years before these young people, who have innovative ideas, will be able to achieve the right place and make moulds with new technologies."
Querétaro is one of Mexico's burgeoning industrial zones and is heavily involved in the automotive and aerospace industries in particular.
Geco, which has manufactured 9,000-plus moulds in its almost five decades of existence, was founded by Febra after he left the Portuguese air force as a mechanical engineer. He studied English in the United Kingdom, where Geco has a sales company, and learned as much as he could about mould making in Japan.
By 2025, Febra intends Geco to have annual sales of 35 million euros ($40.57 million).
"We only employ young people from between the ages of 22 and 30," he said.
Geco makes moulds for instrument and door panels for major players in the global automotive industry. Other industries served are electronics, packaging, household and garden.
In Portugal, the seven-company group has 68 CAD CAMs, 76 CNC milling machines (five- and three-axis), 15 spark EDMs, 30 conventional milling machines, eight injection moulding machines and 12 other machines.