MEXICO CITY - Exhibitors at the PlastImagen '96 trade show were encouraged by a bigger turnout and a higher level of buying interest compared to last year's show, which followed Mexico's disastrous peso de-valuation by less than two months. Attendance totaled 12,178 at the eighth annual Plast-Imagen during March 12-15 in Mexico City, according to show organizer Oprex SA de CV. The attendance marked a 10 percent increase over last year's total of 11,117.
``It's the best show in Mexico yet for us,'' said Hector V. Sosa, president and general manager of Plastec U.S.A. Inc., a Miami-based machinery distributor.
At the show or immediately afterward, he expected to firm up orders for as many as eight Cincinnati Milacron injection molding machines, with clamping forces of 55-300 tons. The ma-chines would be used to make products for the textile, electrical, telecommunications and housewares end markets.
Sosa said he also was pleased with the interest shown in the various lines of auxiliary equipment that Plastec distributes.
Husky Injection Molding Sys-tems Mexico SA de CV also had a good show, with several undisclosed new projects likely to result, said Francisco Gonzalez, area manager for Mexico.
``The economic situation in Mexico now is better than last year,'' he said. ``This helps us a lot. And we hope that next year will be even better.''
Mexican processors still need to modernize and, for many, the peso devaluation has only delayed the inevitable, said Peter Kramer, general manager of Avance Industrial SA, a Mexico City-based distributor of Demag and Van Dorn Demag machinery.
``Everybody wants to know how they can improve and make their production more efficient,'' he said.
The Mexican domestic market still is ``absolutely down'' but Avance has been able to maintain its business ``thanks to the fact that big international companies have invested quite heavily'' in Mexico, Kramer said.
Before the December 1994 peso devaluation, most of Avance's customers were small to medium-sized Mexican firms. Now its customer base is mostly composed of large, international companies, Kramer said.
Still, some exhibitors are not so sure that more attendees at PlastImagen will necessarily translate into more sales.
``The problem is that there is no money,'' said Jorge Mu¤oz, Mexico City sales representative for On-Time Molde. ``We have many quotations but realistically, there is no cash.''
On-Time represents 45 mold makers based in Portugal. Mu¤oz said the PlastImagen show was much better than last year but he still detects a lack of commitment by Mexican companies for new projects.
``If you ask them what they're waiting for, they don't know,'' he said.
Machinery supplier Jatec Latinoamericana SA de CV, representing Nissei and Aoki, had a ``so-so'' PlastImagen even though many attendees expressed interest in investing in new equipment, Chief Executive Officer Kaoru Yoshimatsu said.
Still, the year has started well for Jatec. The company sold 25 Nissei machines in Mexico in the first two months, he said. Jatec has been ``attacking'' export industries and the expanding auto parts sector, Yoshimatsu said.