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In recent years, Mexico has emerged as a major player in the global manufacturing industry, particularly in the field of molding manufacturing. Due to several contributing factors, Mexico’s molding industry has seen significant growth and investment. Because of the Latin American country’s favorable business environment, skilled workforce, and strategic proximity to the US, Mexico has become an attractive destination for molding and plastics companies looking to expand their operations. 

Mexico's Molding Industry

In this article, we’ll explore the molding manufacturing industry in Mexico and provide an overview of this growing industry, including its history, current state, and future outlook.

Mexico’s Molding Industry History

First, it’s important to understand what molding manufacturing is. Molding is the process of shaping a material into a specific form using a mold. Molds are typically made from metal, wood, or plastic, and are used in a variety of applications. These molded parts can be used in the automotive industry, medical devices, or a number of other markets. Molding manufacturing can refer to the design aspect as well as the production or creation of the molds and molded products. 

Mexico’s molding industry began in the mod 1900 with the rise of foreign manufacturing for export. Foreign companies from the US and other countries established manufacturing plants in Mexico, because of the country’s favorable business environment and cheap labor. 

As Mexico’s manufacturing scene has evolved, the federal government has contributed tax incentives and other support for foreign direct investment (FDI). Today, Mexico offers many strategic benefits for manufacturing, and this is especially true for plastics and molding manufacturing. Today, companies in Mexico are responsible for a substantial portion of global productive output. 

Current State of Mexico’s Molding Industry

Mexico’s molding industry is now a mature industry with a significant presence in both domestic and international markets. In spite of recent opposition to plastics in public opinion, the market has proven quite resilient. According to the International Trade Administration, Mexico is the United States’ second-largest export market, with exports totaling over $256 billion in 2020. 

Currently, Mexico’s molding industry is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up around 95% of the industry. These companies specialize in producing a wide range of plastic products, from simple injection-molded parts to complex assemblies used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and medical devices. Many of these companies are located in the northern, manufacturing-focused areas of Mexico such as Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, and the Tijuana region.

Some of the key players in this industry include:

  • C&J Industries
  • All-Plastics
  • Biomerics
  • HTI Plastics
  • The Rodon Group
  • EVCO Plastics
  • Tessy Plastics
  • Formplast GmbH
  • Hehnke GmbH & Co KG
  • TR Plast Group
  • D&M Plastics, LLC

Mexico is also home to about 265 mold and die shops. This number includes around 30 foreign-owned companies. Together, these mold creators sell approximately $175 million USD worth of equipment to supply Mexico’s molding industry, employing 3400 workers and running 1000 CNC machines.

Types of Molding Processes Used in Mexico

Mexican molding primarily produces plastic parts, using a wide variety of molding processes, including:

  • Injection molding: Probably the most common process used in Mexico’s molding industry, this involves injecting molten plastic into a mold cavity, where it cools and solidifies to form the final product.
  • Blow molding: Used to produce hollow plastic products, such as bottles and containers, this process involves inflating a heated plastic tube inside a mold cavity until it takes the shape of the cavity.
  • Compression molding: Used to produce thermoset plastic products, such as electrical components and automotive parts, this process involves placing a preheated material into a mold cavity and compressing it under high pressure until it cures.
  • Extrusion molding: Used to produce continuous plastic products, such as pipes and tubing, this process involves forcing molten plastic through a die to form the target shape.
  • Rotational molding: Used to produce large, hollow plastic products, such as tanks and containers, this process involves rotating a heated mold around two perpendicular axes, which causes the plastic to coat the mold’s interior until solid.

Future Outlook

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global injection molded plastics market is projected to grow from approximately $357 billion USD in 2021 to about $476 billion in 2028. This represents a CAGR of 4.2%.

Mexico’s molding industry is expected to continue growing in spite of challenges in the global economy. Demand for plastic products is increasing both domestically and internationally.  And this trend will likely continue, due to the growing demand for more sustainable and environmentally friendly products, which will in turn require new materials and manufacturing processes.

Still, Mexico’s molding industry will face ongoing challenges, including rising labor costs and competition from other low-cost manufacturing countries, such as China. In order to maintain  competitive edge, Mexican molding companies will need to focus on innovation, efficiency, and quality to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Mexico’s molding industry is a significant contributor to the country’s economy, providing jobs and generating revenue. And if current predictions hold, this industry will continue to generate profits for all parties involved. In spite of current challenges, the molding and plastics manufacturing industry in Mexico is expected to continue expanding and gaining global market share.

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