After 60 years, Incoe Corp. has a showplace.
The hot runner manufacturer wrapped up its move Sept. 10 into a new global headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., a suburb of Detroit.
Incoe spent more than $20m (€17.2m) to build the 138,000-square-foot headquarters, which replaced several smaller facilities in nearby Troy.
At Fakuma, the company is highlighting the big investment, plus introducing a new product.
Business Development Manager Jim Bott said the new headquarters helps reinforce to customers that Incoe is a global hot runner supplier. The project was completed the same year the family-owned company celebrated its 60th anniversary.
"Our third generation of ownership saw the benefit of going all under one roof. Logistically, it's good for us. It's good for our customers. It's very difficult to showcase Incoe in three or four buildings," Bott said.
"We have had a few customers come in here, and their expression was 'wow.'" Incoe plans to have an open house at the headquarters in 2020.
One highlight is the new customer center, including a 2,400-square-foot moulding laboratory, which will host training seminars. By the end of the year, the lab will have three KraussMaffei injection moulding presses.
Incoe was founded in 1958 by Alex Seres, who developed and patented the first commercial hot runner nozzle. Under the second-generation leadership of former President and CEO Rick Seres, the company expanded globally. Along with the new headquarters in Auburn Hills, the company has manufacturing and sales facilities in Germany, China, Brazil and Singapore, with supporting operations located in Querétaro, Mexico; Dongguan, China; and Hong Kong.
Bott said investing in U.S. manufacturing sends another message to customers.
"With most of our competition … building overseas; we're not doing that, not for this market. That's a statement. It's community. It's keeping employment throughout the United States. It sounds a little corny, but the ownership is very content with that."
Current President and CEO Eric Seres Jr. said, "With this large investment and the operational efficiency gains we expect to realise, we'll be able to serve our customers in an even greater capacity for years to come."
The project is the latest in a series of recent investments: In 2013, it doubled its work and floor space in Shanghai; in 2014, it built a new European headquarters in Rodermark, Germany, and in 2018, it added a technical service center in Querétaro.
The company generates about $125 million in annual sales, about 70% from the automotive market.
Bott said Fakuma is an important show for Incoe because of the show's importance for automotive moulders. At Fakuma, it can show European auto OEMs and Tier 1 customers that it can supply hot runners and spare parts globally.
"The customer wants from birth to grave. They want to make sure you have everything blanketed, from the very beginning through its operations and spare parts availability — global presence," Bott said. "So that's why it's important to go to these shows and conferences and say, 'Look, we do have brick and mortar in Mexico, for example, for service and support. We do have spare parts down there. We do have all those parts available throughout North America.'
"So you can comfortably have a European company build a mould in Asia, ship it to Mexico, and it's going to be as seamless as possible," Bott said.
The company even plans to introduce new products at Fakuma that it did not have earlier this year at NPE.
"This year we are actually launching a new product line at Fakuma that didn't make it to K or NPE. So it's kind of a prelaunch," Bott said.
"It's an improvement to an existing series of nozzles that we have, in the 18 millimeter and 22 mm flow. We've added these MultiPower heaters, which slims up the design for the mould maker and are easier to use for the moulder and aftermarket," he said. "I would say it's specifically for the automotive and appliance market.
"The biggest highlight is the MultiPower heater. It makes life a lot easier for both the moulder and the mould maker, just by having all the heater leads come out of the back, instead of having to make a slot to get heater leads out of the gate area."
Last year was Incoe's best-ever sales year, with growth of about 30% from 2016. So far in 2018, sales have been steady. Looking into the future, Bott expects trends in the automotive plastics market to bring additional growth for Incoe.
"Even if the auto sector isn't building more cars right now, the key is we're seeing more plastic components per car," he said.