Hector Moreno, managing director of KraussMaffei de México S de RL de CV, believes a more serious problem for the Mexican plastics industry than plastic bag bans is the importation of used machinery, primarily from the United States.
The Mexican market is about 700 new and secondhand machines per year, of which 60 percent are secondhand, he said in a Sept. 2 interview.
Everybody is worried about the fight over plastic bag bans, but this is a bigger problem. How can you develop an industry when you're bringing in this rubbish? And Mexico's celebrating 200 years of independence from Spain this year.
Speaking at a KraussMaffei open house in Querétaro, Moreno said the German injection press maker has 18-20 percent of the Mexican market for new and used machines, when Chinese manufacturers are excluded.
Importation of used machinery has always been a problem in Mexico, Moreno said, adding that used presses imported into Mexico are often sold on to Central America, thus continuing the cycle of companies working with old or obsolete equipment.
Importers of old machinery think they're saving money, he said, but in fact, he argued, they face higher maintenance and energy-consumption costs, plus longer cycle times and greater levels of wasted material.
Moreno represented Munich, Germany-based KraussMaffei AG as an agent from 1995 through 1998 prior to the establishment of the company's Mexican affiliate in 1999.
He said the local company's business is strong enough for executives to consider increasing the current number of employees. Up to 40 people work for the company in Mexico and maybe we will need a new facility, Moreno said.
While KraussMaffei imports all the machinery and auxiliary equipment sold in Mexico from Germany, it has operated a technical center in Querétaro, in central Mexico, for two years. It employs 20 there.
The corporate offices are close to Mexico City, in the municipality of Atizapan de Zaragoza.
We're doing very well, Moreno said. We've been here in Mexico as an officially registered company for 11 years. In that time we've sold 650 machines.
Fifty percent of them were for the automotive industry and had clamping forces ranging from 400-4,000 tons.
About 15 percent have been sold to the packaging sector, 3-4 percent to medical, 5 percent to electrical apparatus makers, 15 percent to maquiladora producers of refrigerators and the remainder to maquiladoras in general.
I can tell you that last year and this year have been among our best two years in Mexico.
He said the importation of used machinery mainly affects the border region between Mexico and the United States.
Our strategy [for combating it] is to improve and develop our service. This is the first thing we've tried to do. Our service includes sales and machine maintenance. Our main focus is on the customer. Everybody in the organization has to be committed, he said.
In Mexico, the company trains its customers, Moreno said.
Last year we introduced a diploma and we make presentations to tell them what they can do with this technology.
Among the most innovative KraussMaffei equipment on sale in Mexico, he said, is a compounder, designed to recycle, that combines extrusion and injection operations. We have two companies in the automotive sector using this technology, Moreno said.
Another is a multicomponent machine. We have 10 of these installed in Mexico. Our PET system is the fastest and has the lowest maintenance costs. We've just sold one in Monterrey.
At the open house KraussMaffei de México exhibited a new-generation Volkswagen Jetta sedan, assembled in Puebla, Mexico, which contained components supplied by such Mexico-based companies as Peguform (front and rear fascias and wheel cases), Mecaplast (door pillars and headrests) and Plastic Tec, all of them KraussMaffei customers.