SALTILLO, MEXICO - Luis Ramos, director of the Applied Chemistry Research Center, has developed a succinct operating philosophy. ``We do what industry wants,'' he said.
The center is, by Ramos' own description, the largest organization in Mexico devoted to applied polymer research and processing technology. Its staff of 125 people includes 70 researchers involved in such areas as quality control, materials testing and recycling.
The center is known locally as CIQA, the acronym formed by its Spanish name, Centro de Investigaci¢n en Qu¡mica Aplicada. It is based in Saltillo, a major automotive center, and only an hour's drive from Monterrey, the third-largest city in Mexico.
Ramos said that about a third of the center's budget is derived from contract research and training work for industry, including both Mexican and American plastics processors. The center houses an array of sophisticated testing instruments and two pilot plants, also available for use by industry, for trying out mixing, molding and extrusion processes.
Part of its mission is education. About 45 staff members are pursuing master's or doctorate degrees in polymer science in a cooperative program with the University of Coahuila and the University of Nuevo Leon.
The center also is involved in research on plastics used in agriculture, including mulching films and greenhouse covers.