Blow molders in Mexico looking to add more technology, automation

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Stephen Downer Siva Krish, left, and John McCormick of Proco Machinery Inc. say that blow molders in Mexico are ready for more automation.

GUADALAJARA, MEXICO – John McCormick, president of Canadian blow molding industry supplier Proco Machinery Inc., believes blow molders in Mexico are reaching a familiar turning point. And that’s good news for his company.

“We are kind of optimistic about Mexico,” he said at the Expo Plásticos trade show in Guadalajara. “It’s where the United States was 20-25 years ago. Initially there was resistance to new technology but once they got the taste…”

Siva Krish, Proco’s sales manager, agreed. “We’ve been in Mexico for a couple of shows and we see huge potential for automation in the blow molding industry [here],” he told Plastics News in Guadalajara.

“There are hundreds of blow molding companies here and I would say that at least 50 percent are Mexican. People are keen to understand the technology and what we are offering. Since it’s quite new to them they [often] don’t want to take the plunge. But if they don’t, they won’t be competitive in the sector.”

Krish said that in quality control “they still do everything manually in Mexico. But the end users are more quality conscious and you can’t get a good quality bottle when you do everything manually. When you automate, nobody touches the bottle.”

Founded 35 years ago by McCormick, who immigrated to Canada after serving an apprenticeship in his native England, Proco is a $5 million, family-owned company, based in Mississauga, Ontario. It employs about 40.

“We are unique in a lot of ways,” said Krish. “We have a big customer base in North America, with hundreds of customers in Canada and the United States. We’ve sold a couple of units in Mexico but we’re still in the early stages.”

Francisco Ollervides, managing director of Technipet SA de CV, of Mexico City, represents the company in Mexico.

McCormick, who still speaks with a thick Yorkshire accent, admits that he was a bit of a tearaway in his youth. “I was going nowhere in the U.K.”

In Canada he started building machines for a variety of industries before “gravitating” to the plastics industry.

“Someone in the plastics industry asked me to build a certain kind of machine,” he said. “Others heard of us through the grapevine. Over the years we have sold literally thousands of machines.”