SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — Autotec Inc., an Ohio company with just 20 employees, finds itself at the doorstep to all of Latin America, thanks to its in-mold labeling technology.
Autotec President Thomas Ballay, who attended Brasilplast '97 to demonstrate the equipment, said having the right product at the right time, and working with some big-player partners, brought the Sylvania, Ohio, firm to Brazil.
Autotec had developed an in-mold labeling system specifically fitted to go on Bekum shuttle blow molding machines. Then Ballay got a call from label maker Avery Dennison Corp., which was studying the Latin American market.
The technology fuses a label to a plastic bottle inside the mold. In-mold labeling now is common in many parts of the world, but Avery Dennison discovered Latin America was untapped. Bottle molders there still apply labels with adhesive outside the mold.
``In-mold labeling exists in a few isolated pockets here,'' Balley said. ``It's just getting started.''
Autotec officials made several tours of blow molding factories throughout Latin America. Autotec has yet to make a sale there. But demonstrations of the equipment at Bekum's Brasilplast '97 booth drew big crowds.
Ballay admitted that, as manager of a small company, plunging into the global economy made him nervous.
``I tried to talk myself out of this two or three times, but the level of interest in the technology here is very high,'' he said.