SaO PAULO, BRAZIL - Antonio Augusto Machado is a young Brazilian headed for the big time in the custom injection molding business. At just 29, the president and chief executive officer of Plajax Industria de Comercio de Plasticos Ltda. of Bauru, Brazil, has built a growing custom business from a base of making polypropylene car battery cases.
Four years ago, with the competition building and Brazil's battery market saturated, Ma-chado decided to diversify into custom molding.
He assembled an array of 24 injection presses, including seven large machines with clamping forces of 1,000 tons or greater. He plans to buy six new large presses during the next five years.
The young entrepreneur, who started out running his own tube extrusion company at age 17, already has attracted a variety of custom business. The company currently injection molds PP garden furniture for the French firm Grosfillex sarl, electrical and electronic parts of high density polyethylene, polystyrene and ABS for Bosch and Philips, and a range parts for kitchen appliances from PE, PS and PP copolymer.
Plajax is in the midst of upgrading its molding lines and Machado just purchased his biggest machine, a US$1.7 million, 1,760-ton Sandretto injection press, from leading Brazilian supplier IrmÃos Semeraro Ltda. The press anchored a corner of the Semeraro booth at Brasilplast '95, held May 18-24 in SÃo Paulo.
Machado actively is seeking parts business in Brazil's booming automotive sector and expects to have some contracts in that area by the end of the year. He believes his firm is centrally placed to attract a variety of new molding business.
Despite his rapid expansion into custom molding of big parts, Machado still relies on the mainstay battery component business, which accounts for 70 percent of his work.
Plajax reported 1994 sales of about $15 million. Machado estimates the company has grown 5 percent annually during the past four years. He predicted 7 percent growth this year, thanks to his new equipment and a more stable Brazilian marketplace.
Plajax, with 320 employees, also exports throughout South America, last year exporting about 7 percent of its total output.