Sika has witnessed strong growth in Latin America over the past few years. And the prospects for the building sector continue to look good despite political and economic uncertainties in individual countries. More than 80% of the population is projected to live in cities by 2025 - a development that is driving the construction of housing, utilities and transport systems. Major infrastructure projects and private-sector investment are also bolstering building activity in Mexico, presenting attractive opportunities for Sika.
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world. And it is still growing, giving rise to huge investments in infrastructure construction, including the new airport expansion, which alone is estimated at the equivalent of CHF 4.6 billion. Mexico’s high energy and commodity resources and its large domestic market with 120 million inhabitants are also attracting foreign private-sector investment. Recognizing this trend early on, Sika invested in additional factories, production lines and the distribution network. As well as expanding production capacity for products already manufactured in the country, Sika also produces new intermediate and end products in Mexico itself – and always as close as possible to the major business centers.
Targeted investments translate into market advantages
The new roof membrane factory in Altamira is a recent addition to Sika’s Mexican network. Serving mainly the mining industry in Northwest Mexico, a new production site for concrete admixtures was built in Tijuana. New production lines were also commissioned for acrylic resins and acrylic-based sealants as well as interior finishing products. Two new polymer reactors in Querétaro, a mortar factory for the Sikafloor® and PurCem® flooring systems, and a second mortar plant for interior finishing also came on stream. A mortar factory in Coatzacoalcos in the southeast of the country will openin early 2017. With five large production sites in Mexico, Sika is currently equipped to manufacture and distribute flexible quantities of products at short notice in the country itself and deliver fast to customers and their projects.
End of September 2016, Audi opened a new CHF 1 billion car plant on a 400-hectare site in San José Chiapa in the Mexican state of Puebla. This is the company’s first such facility on this continent. The plant has 4,200 workplaces and a production capacity of 150,000 premium SUVs per annum. The new generation of Audi Q5 is to be manufactured here for the global market.
Shared quality mindset
PSP Architects and Engineers from Germany were contracted to design, tender and supervise the entire automotive plant project. Since PSP has experience of overseeing VW plant building works for the Volkswagen Group, they are well placed to ensure that Audi’s key targets and standards are met when it comes to costs, deadlines and, above all else, quality, as qualified architect Alex Muñoz, PSP Architects’ project manager at the Audi plant in Mexico, points out. The architects had recommended Sika flooring to Audi for the project and worked with Audi in the selection process. It proved an advantage that Sika products had already been specified for other Audi plants and had proven their worth. But what made Sika stand out was its international network plus the fact that the company manufactures its products in Mexico itself. To ensure everything went smoothly, Sika appointed a local project manager as soon as construction work started in 2012. His job was to interface between Sika and the customer and settle any questions fast and competently.
Sika flooring solutions for all requirements
A total area of more than 230,000 m2, approximately equivalent to 32 soccer pitches, were installed with various products from the Sikafloor® systems range. Depending on where in the plant these products were being applied, they needed to satisfy different requirements. Sometimes they had to be anti-slip or resistant to heavy mechanical or chemical loads, in other cases electrostatic conductivity was the core property. Delivering the flooring in Audi’s corporate design colors posed a particular challenge. For the press shop, for instance, Sika developed a customized Sikafloor® flooring system in a gray tone, precisely matching the color specified by Audi. To ensure maximum fulfilment of the customer’s requirement, part of the flooring was manufactured in Germany. What’s more, the supplier companies that are setting up around the Audi plant have also opted for Sika flooring solutions.
Nestlé opened its first subsidiary in Mexico 86 years ago in the vicinity of Guadalajara, near Ocotlán. This is the very location where the company built the first of six new factories in Mexico under a recently launched investment program worth a total of CHF 1 billion. It represents the largest single investment that the group has ever made in Latin America. At the plant near Guadalajara, Nestlé plans to produce baby foods for the Mexican market, as well as markets in the Caribbean and Central America.
Speed, coordination and maximum standards
Edgar Fernando Barrientos is a project specialist with Nestlé. He remarks that keeping to the construction plan was the central challenge when building the plant because numerous operations were running in parallel. On top of that, the entire facility must at all times satisfy hygiene standard MR1, which is being increasingly applied in many branches of industry and reflects a general trend toward raising levels of cleanliness in manufacturing processes. This had implications for flooring requirements. The floors must have an extremely even surface with no pores, however small, since contaminants such as dust or bacteria could collect in uneven spots. But the flooring still needs to be anti-slip and electrostatically conductive. Sika fulfilled all these requirements. For an area totaling 24,000 m2, it consistently delivered products from the Sikafloor® systems range that exactly met specifications. Sika also supplied energy-efficient Sika Sarnafil® waterproofing systems for the flat roofing. The systems’ strong sun reflectivity properties reduce heat transmission to the building.
Excellent collaboration and high quality
Also on this project a Sika manager was available to the customer at all times. Edgar Fernando Barrientos is full of praise for the fast, reliable and, as he puts it, “excellent collaboration”. The invariably high quality of the Sika solutions makes him proud of the joint achievements. He sums up with a resounding “Sika, anytime again!”