Mexico City — Beverage packaging equipment supplier AGR International Inc. has opened its first sales and service center in Mexico.
Called AGR Packaging Services, the new subsidiary is located in Mexico City. It handles sales, parts supply, service and support for AGR equipment not only in Mexico but also in Central America and the Caribbean.
"Mexico has been a hotbed for the beverage industry for many years," AGR Marketing Director David Dineff said in an April 6 telephone interview. "This necessitated us having more people available [in the country]."
However, another significant reason behind the company's decision was "the political situation" between the U.S. and Mexican governments. "Getting parts across the border is getting more difficult," Dineff told Plastics News.
AGR, which describes itself as a world class, innovative supplier of quality assurance and process automation equipment to the global packaging markets, has scores of customers in Mexico, gleaned over the past 20 years, according to Dineff.
"We do business with the majority of the beverage fillers and glass bottle manufacturers. Plastics is by far the larger part of the business, in terms of the number of customers we have," he added.
In a news release coinciding with the new operation's inauguration, AGR spoke of an ever-expanding customer base in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
According to Robert Cowden, AGR's chief operating officer, the opening of AGR Packaging Services allows the company to respond to customer calls "in a timely and cost-effective fashion via locally based service technicians."
Israel Hernández heads the new company's service and technical support side, overseeing four service engineers.
AGR has a service center in Butler, Pa., its home base, and another six outside the United States, including Mexico.
The others are in:
• Asia — AGR Bangkok Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand.
• Northern Europe — AGR Europe GmbH, Lesse, Germany.
• Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa — Montecchio Emilia, Italy.
• China — AGR China, WuXi, Jiang Su province.
• Russia — Moscow.
Founded in 1927 as a supplier of technology for the glass industry, AGR moved into plastics in 1980, according to its website. It has 200 full-time employees today and says it invests 10 percent of its revenue in research and development.