Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. LTD debuted its new San Antonio plant during a Monday afternoon event.

The Japanese plastic injected molding machine maker welcomed customers, suppliers, public officials and other guests at the South Side plant for tours and an open house.

The company’s Los Angeles-based subsidiary Nissei America Inc. invested $21 million to build a 115,000-square-foot plant off Lyster Road at Brooks. Operating under the name Nissei Plastic Machinery America Inc., the San Antonio facility will be used to make medium to large-scale hybrid plastic injection molding machines for a variety of manufacturers.

Now marking his ninth trip to the Alamo City, Nissei Plastic Industrial Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Sumio Tanaka told the Business Journal that the plant represents an important step for the company’s plans to increase its presence in the Americas.

"San Antonio is the center of the United States," Tanaka said. "It’s not only the center of the United States — it’s North America and South America. We can send our machines anywhere in the American continent."

In a process that takes eight days to one month, the company’s San Antonio plant is able to make up to five plastic injected molding machines at a time. The plant currently has nine employees. That number is expected to grow to 20 by the end of the year and up to 60 employees in three years. The new plant includes offices, a learning center, a showroom for customers and a service center.

Brooks President and CEO Leo Gomez was part of the original September 2014 trade mission that brought the plant to San Antonio. The event, he said, fulfills the company’s plans to meet demand in a growing sector in the manufacturing industry.

"It’s a real source of pride for the leadership of Nissei plastics," Gomez said. "This has been a dream of theirs for three years now since that first visit. This operation will allow them to reach their customers across North America, Central America and South America."

Nissei considered several locations before deciding on Brooks, which it says it chose due to its proximity to Mexico and the company’s automotive and maquiladora customers there. The company’s San Antonio facility did not receive public incentives for the project.

"They’re a good fit here because they’re a light manufacturing operation that’s trying to attract a workforce that is going to appreciate living within a community where there’s market-rate housing, good restaurants down the street and other opportunities for members of their families," Gomez said.

Nissei officials held a Monday evening reception at the Embassy Suites at Brooks for more than 200 dignitaries including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, District 3 City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran and people already working with the company.

"A bulk of the people here that are celebrating this along with Nissei are the very [people that ] build their machines, supply them with the parts to build their machines and the very people who buy their machines," Gomez said.

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