Mexico City — As sustainability becomes more of a prerequisite for doing business, compounder Mocom Compounds Corp. is positioning itself as an expert that will help customers meet environmental goals, the company said.
The compounder, which has operations in Duncan, S.C., as well as a staff of about a dozen in offices in Monterrey, Mexico, serving that country, knows how to make formulations with high percentages of recycled resin — up to 100 percent, said Tony Smith, CEO of Mocom's operations in the Americas.
In fact, most of the company's output these days includes some level of recycled content.
Mexico, which accounts for about a third of the output from Duncan, is an important market for Mocom as the company looks to continue growth in that country. The company also has an office in Brazil to sell into that market.
"Where Mocom differentiates ourselves from other manufacturers, we have a hyper focus on sustainability," Smith said during a recent interview at Plastimagen, the plastics industry trade show held in Mexico City.
Mocom previously served the Americas from operations in Europe but put a stake in the ground in South Carolina by first creating a joint venture with carpet recycler and resin and fiber supplier William Barnet & Son LLC in 2016. Compounding capabilities were opened the following year. Mocom, then operating as Albis Plastic, soon bought out its joint venture partner.
Mocom is a unit of Mocom Compounds GmbH & Co. KG of Hamburg, Germany. That business spun off from Albis, a European resin distributor, in late 2020. Mocom, Albis and recycler Wipag all are part of Otto Krahn Group.
With multinational companies looking to do business with the same companies across their manufacturing footprint, Mocom has been able to leverage existing business relationships forged in Europe into supply agreements in the Americas. That has served as a basis for the firm that looks to expand even further.
As Mocom looks to expand its sales in the Americas from its headquarters in Duncan, Mexico will play its part, the company said.
"Mexico is extremely important. I would say today probably 30 percent of our volume comes into Mexico. The future of Mexico is to become even more." Smith said.
Cesar Estrada Melo is managing director of Mocom in Mexico and sales director for Latin America.
"Mexico fits perfectly with our strategy due to the opportunities that are coming for the country. We are in the middle of a trend of near shoring due to the economic situation between China and the U.S.," Estrada said.
He said there is real momentum in Mexico for manufacturers to either establish operations there or bring back business that moved elsewhere over time. "That will allow us to have a bloom in our business in the coming years," Estrada said.
"Right now, we are focusing 90 percent of our business in automotive and trying to diversify our portfolio of customers to non-automotive industries," Estrada said about the company's business in Mexico.
As manufacturing plants "continue to expand and grow in Mexico, we are very well positioned for that," Smith added.
Mocom currently has the compounding capacity in Duncan to respond to future growth, Smith said.
"We have assets in our Duncan facility. We just put in a new compounding line," he said. "So we have capacity in Duncan. Our growth plans over the next five years, including Mexico and Brazil, we are going to fill those assets pretty quickly," he said. "We like to be in the region in which our customers are."
While circularity and globalization are key trends helping Mocom, Smith added the company's ability to offer specialty compounds is another key differentiator. While others might turn away, Mocom is willing to take orders for smaller amounts of compounded resin and still be profitable thanks to the equipment the company has in Duncan.
"Our future and our focus is on the sustainability and the specialties in those applications. Yes, we will give you a prime-based compound all day long. But that's not going to differentiate us," he said.
But growth, the CEO said, takes time. Companies can take years to decide to switch compounders.
The company is banking on its combination of high performance and sustainability as a way to further break through to suppliers in the market.
"A lot of North American companies, it's not quite on their radar right now, but I think it will be. They will be looking at suppliers who have answers and we will be one of those suppliers that can help answer questions and ... accelerate their paths to targets that will be coming," Smith said.
"We have a strong presence in Europe. European OEMs know who Mocom is. In North America, we are still trying to get our brand and our expertise and our awareness out there of who Mocom is. Our short-term focus is to continue to deliver value propositions and expertise," Smith said. "And we are making headway. ... People are starting to know who Mocom is."