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"Risks and Challenges of Tin Plating in Mexico"

February 19, 2010

My company has recently decided to move manufacturing to Mexico from the USA. All of our products are Tin Plated (Alkaline) internally and we are looking to outsource plating in Mexico and switch to Bright Acid Tin.

Challenges we are facing:
1) Finding a plater that can barrel and line/strip plate
2) Initial supplier search indicates quality and technology of platers in Mexico is far below USA experience
3) Plating costs are higher than our current factory
4) Looking at manufacturing in Mexico and Plating in USA - concerns about copper theft going across the border from Finished Goods and WIP

Any comment thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Fred Dorman
product line manager - Chicago, Illinois

February 23, 2010

Hello Mr. Dorman,
What you mention about the level of development in this country is true but there may be alternatives. Overlooked local companies, entrepreneurs willing to invest, US plating companies also moving or planning to move to Mexico, etc. Moving operations to a foreign country is a big headache, maybe someone can help you with part of your burden but we need to know what volumes, parts sizes, configs, base materials and other particular specs you are looking for.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

March 1, 2010

Mr. Dorman,

Having worked and managed metal finishing departments of several US based OEMs, I would agree that you have a tremendous undertaking ahead of you. I think the common misconception is that setting up shop in an underdeveloped country in comparison to our own will lower manufacturing costs significantly, when in reality those "huge savings" are never realized partly due to lack of experience, poorly trained personnel, and communication just to name a few reasons. I would also suspect from my past experience in outsourcing plating that you are finding the pricing actually considerably higher than US based electroplating firms, with quality and service lacking.

My only suggestion or advice is to work with your existing suppliers and get their input. I worked closely with a vendor that is also a supporting sponsor of this website, Accu-Labs, Inc. [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] They are based in your state and have excellent service throughout North America. You might want to give them a call.

Michael Berrier
- Addison, Illinois

March 1, 2010

Hi, Michael. When students write to this website about their science projects and assignments, we always caution them against trying to determine the "right" answer that the teacher wants before they run the experiment. That leads to "junk science" where the students blind themselves to results that don't fit, put too much weight on casual non-causal observations that do fit, and come up with cockamamy reasons to disqualify results that aren't what they wanted to hear.

Outsourcing is one thing, but the "junk economics" oftens used to justify it is irritating. Any cost that doesn't fit top management's preconceived notion just becomes an "off-budget" item that is not included when calculating the "cost savings" :-)


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 2, 2010

Mexico isn't that underdeveloped as it might seem. There are quite a lot of Electroplating companies with excellent reputations and excellent trained people on the market, you just have to find them as in the USA, Europe or somewhere else in the world. I have lived and worked in Mexico for more then 3 years and it was stunning that in this "underdeveloped" country are many people which are knowing very well the electroplating sector, otherwise many US or European companies wouldn't invest in Plating Facilities.
Best regards and with the best wishes.

Dominik Michalek
- Sydney, Australia

March 5, 2010


As in any country, there are good companies and bad companies. I wouldn't discredit all Mexican companies.
Our firm has been electroplating for over 56 years in Mexico City, we do more than 18 different finishes for a very diverse market, mainly automotive and electrical. We have highly trained personnel, fully equipped lab, salt spray chamber, automatic and manual lines, both barrel and rack, ISO 9001 certification, all of this in a 6,000 sqft installation.
We are not a mom and pop shop and we invite you to look for us, as well as 2 or 3 other similar companies.

Many US companies have tried Mexican electroplating and found interesting offers with many advantages.


Carlos Cielak
General Manager Electroplating Shop (no names allowed)

Carlos Cielak
- Mexico City, Mexico

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