MEXICO CITY—Asahi Kasei Corp. is adding a third Mexican sales office while seeking a location for a compounding plant that the firm wants to open in 2021.
The Tokyo-based firm plans to open a sales and technical service office in Puebla by the end of the year, sales director Scott Kushion said April 3 at Plastimagen. Asahi Kasei already has Mexican offices in Monterrey and Queretaro. The new location will allow the firm to better serve customers in that area, he added.
Asahi Kasei has North American production plants in Fowlerville, Mich., and Athens, Ala., but wants to have a plant in Mexico to handle growth which continues at double-digit rates, Kushion said. The firm had hoped to open the plant in 2020, but continues to look for a location in the Querétaro region.
The proposed Mexico plant will be similar to the plant Asahi Kasei opened in Alabama in 2016. That plant employs about 50 and covers 100,000 square feet. But unlike the Alabama plant, the Mexican site will be able to make Xyron-brand compounds based on polyphenylene ether (PPE).
In Mexico, Asahi Kasei continues to see strong growth from the automotive market, according to operations Vice President Prasad Puttagunta. The firm generates a large majority of its sales in polypropylene-based compounds for the auto sector.
Kushion said that Asahi Kasei has been able to replace nylon 6/6 with PP compounds in auto applications such as shifter bases or other uses that require high temperature performance.
The appliance market also is providing growth for Asahi Kasei in Mexico, Puttagunta said. In personnel, the firm will increase the size of its Mexican staff to 25 by the end of 2019, he said. Asahi Kasei also uses three Mexican warehouses that each can stock a one-month inventory.
Similar to the U.S., Asahi Kasei's sales mix in Mexico is roughly 80 percent polypropylene-based compounds, with the remainder coming from compounds based on nylon and other engineering resins.
Asahi Kasei ranks among North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers.