Mexico City — COVID-19 has been a turning point for many toolmakers in Mexico, according to a speaker at the Plastimagen Light virtual trade show and conference in late March.
Plastics processors, who would normally expect service engineers at mold supply companies to travel from Europe and elsewhere when necessary, turned to local technicians during the pandemic because of global travel restrictions, Daniela Calderón said.
"The pandemic has served as a watershed for many of our mold makers," said Calderón, administrative director of Querétaro, Mexico-based Hasco Normalie SA de CV, part of mold supplier Hasco Hasenclever GmbH + Co. KG, of Lüdenscheid, Germany.
Participating in a forum about the "role of women in the plastics industry in challenging times," Calderón said many women were natural administrators as they combined motherhood and sisterhood with business activities.
"The plastics industry in Mexico is becoming more sophisticated by the day," she said. "As a result, more women have been entering the industry." Opportunities abounded but the key to success was training.
She said she had seen plastics processing and mold making plants in Mexico that in quality terms were on a par with — and even superior to — those in Portugal, Germany, Italy and Spain.
"This is the advantage that Mexico has over a lot of other countries. We have foreign investors who are prepared to invest in new machinery, whereas in other countries they are still using machines that are 50 years old.
"Our [plastics industry] infrastructure is so new that it allows us to have fewer problems than others. … We are doing well but we have to dedicate more time and money to training," she said.
Evelyn Hernández, a specialist in business development at Braskem Idesa S.A.P.I., described her passion for plastics. She expected the medical sector to grow and said there was a "great opportunity to improve the performance of products that already exist."
Romina Dávila, operations and programs director of non-profit environment-protection organization Ecoce A.C. (Ecología y Compromiso Empresarial), said: "Education is essential."
Mexico's plastic injection molders import $1.7 billion worth of molds a year, Eduardo Medrano, president of mold and die makers association AMMMT (Asociación Mexicana de Manufactura de Moldes y Troqueles), said in late 2019.
On its website, AMMMT says one of its objectives is to "collaborate with educational institutions to train technicians and specialized engineers."
She was the third participant on the panel, moderated by Natalia Ortega, editorial director of Tecnología del Plástico magazine, of Mexico City.