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12/10/2018 | 2 MINUTE READ

Querétaro Makes Its Mark on the Global Injection Molding Map

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Millions in foreign direct investment, direct flights from the U.S. and a new fully focused molding/mold making event announce the city’s arrival on the global molding scene.

For the last seven years Integrity Tool and Mold’s Wayne McLaughlin has been back and forth from Canada to Querétaro, Mexico in support of his company’s operation there, moving to the country full time for the last two years as it established a new 118,000-ft2 molding and mold making operation for which he serves as plant manager.

McLaughlin likes the city, and Mexican culture, but he knew the growing number of non-Mexican’s he saw around town weren’t evidence of Querétaro’s sudden rise as a vacation destination. Instead, the growing volume of people from Germany, Japan, Canada and the U.S. was proof of the city’s emergence as a plastics and manufacturing hub, according to McLaughlin. “They’re definitely not here for tourism,” McLaughlin says.

I visited Integrity this September ahead of the second edition of the now annual injection molding conference organized by Plastics Technology’s sister publication, Plastics Technology México, which was also held in Querétaro.

Querétaro’s central location—a 200-mile circle around it would include automotive/manufacturing hotbeds of San Luis Potosi, Guadalajara, Aguascalientes, Leon (and Mexico City)—is appealing to foreign companies investing in Mexican operations. Many of these foreign investors, like Integrity, are part of the growing domestic mold making industry intent on serving the also-growing automotive sector in the country.

Integrity’s rise and the birth of a mold making sector in Mexico are the focus of a feature I’ve written for the January issue of Plastics Technology. That emerging mold making sector is also the focus of a new event—meximold—organized by Plastics Technology México and Modern Machine Shop México, as well as fellow Gardner Business Media publications: MoldMaking Technology and Additive Manufacturing.

The event, which will include a technical conference as well as exhibits, will focus on the Mexican injection molding and mold making sector. Taking place November 20-21, 2019, meximold will be held at the Querétaro Centro de Congresos.

The event is well timed, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s 2018 Global Investment Trends and Prospects report, which states that international carmakers are “resuming expansion in Mexico, attracted by pent-up demand and the prospect of export growth.”

The same report states there was $1.670 billion in announced greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) projects for Mexico in 2017, trailing only China ($3.834 billion) among developing economies. Within manufacturing, motor vehicles and transport equipment greenfield projects in 2017 came in at $8.6 billion, well ahead of other sectors.

In 2016, Mexico ranked 16th globally in FDI inflows with $30 billion, while overall investment in Latin American and the Caribbean rose 8% to $151 billion—the first rise in that region in six years. This increase came at a time when global FDI flows actually fell by 23%.

So, you could follow the money to Querétaro or the airlines. Further cementing the city’s increased standing in the automotive world—a new daily direct flight from Detroit on Delta. When you land at the airport, which is undergoing an expansion to deal with those new daily directs, you can see an ad from Integrity Tool and Mold feature prominently on the terminal wall.