The custom rotary moulder Solar Plastics is building a plant in Monterrey, Mexico

Delano, Minnesota, custom rotary moulder Solar Plastics LLC is building a facility in Monterrey, Mexico to meet its growing business and the tense work environment in the United States.

The 55,000-square-foot facility currently under construction is located in northeast Mexico, approximately 140 miles south of the border town of Laredo, Texas. The facility will be located on an industrial park and Solar will have the ability to expand it to more than 300,000 square feet in the long term if necessary. Solar Plastics President Sam Rosen said operations will begin in the first quarter of next year.

The new plant will start with two machines and will initially employ around 140 people.

“We’ll see what it can grow into over the years,” Rosen said in a phone interview on Sept. 16.

The facility will serve existing customers and the company is in discussions with potential customers. “At the moment our current customers are already exceeding our capacities at our two locations,” said Rosen.

Solar Plastics has a 75,000-square-foot facility in Delano that operates four rotational molding machines and a 110,000-square-foot facility in Davenport, Iowa that operates nine machines. The Delano site is also home to Fluidall LLC, a separate sister company that sells some linear low-density polyethylene tanks from Solar, as well as double-walled and composite plastic-metal tanks from other suppliers. Rosen is the managing director of Fluidall.

Solar Plastics is part of Atek Cos. based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, which also includes Atek Access Technologies and Atek Metal Technologies. Solar was founded in 1964 and Atek acquired its assets in late 2017.

Atek is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and Rosen said the parent company encouraged Solar to build the state-of-the-art facility in Monterrey.

“It took a long time,” he said. “There have been some slowdowns from COVID and I’m really excited to announce this and go into production in the New Year.”

In a press release, the company cited the current US labor market as one of the reasons for choosing Mexico for the new facility: “Trends in labor availability [were] an important factor in the decision to look for additional production capacity outside of [Solar’s] current footprint. “

Solar serves large original equipment manufacturers in the defense, automotive, lawn and garden, electrical and consumer markets, among others. Products include motorcycle gasoline tanks, commercial vehicle cool boxes, and diesel exhaust liquid tanks. The company also offers mold making, project planning, construction, assembly and re-foaming.

Solar was ranked the 14th largest North American rotary moulder in the most recent poll by Plastics News, with annual sales of $ 38 million. It employs 256.

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