As automakers and their supply chain slowly resume work in the midst of the managed quarantine – with a demand for vehicles that is in one of its worst moments in both Argentina and Brazil – agricultural machinery factories show a very different picture .
With the soybean harvest almost finished and the corn harvest progressing at a good pace, producers continue to work and demand “iron” to avoid the technological train and ensure good yields in their lots.
For this reason, the activity is at almost normal levels and even with companies that have projects to incorporate personnel in the short term. One of them is the Metalfor sprayer factory, located in Marcos Juárez.
The businessman who bought it in 2017, Eduardo Borri, told The voice they are working at 60 percent, but they should be at 100 percent by now. “The terminals are already full, the process is slower on the side of the suppliers,” he summarized.
This deficit in the supply of parts for factory production led Borri, from his role as president of the Chamber of Industrial Metals and Components of Córdoba, to accelerate a plan that he had been promoting and which aims at a “reconversion” of SMEs autopartists so that they are also “agropartists”.
“We can make a reconversion of automotive partists into agroindustrial partists, there is a lot of installed capacity in Córdoba that can be reused,” says Borri.
His vision is based on the contrasts between an automotive market that, beyond the negative effect that the quarantine had, has been falling unchecked for two years and that does not foresee a significant recovery.
On the contrary, Argentina maintains its strength and its high weight globally in food production.
“Although there is a negative situation, the auto industry has been doing badly for years and will continue like this for a while longer. This causes the number of providers of the first ring to be reduced; there are many companies with very good quality, which can be used in agricultural machinery ”, summarizes Borri.
The Industrial Cluster of Oil, Gas and Mining of Córdoba, which was born in 2014 with the metallurgical chamber as one of its main drivers to take advantage of the boom of Vaca Muerta, is an example that Borri looks at.
According to their analysis, this means some paradigm shifts: for example, that suppliers must modify their plans to “stop making thousands of parts and transform to make hundreds.” “The advantage is that the quantity may be low, but the price, perhaps higher,” he says.
This also leads to challenges from the agroindustrial side: Borri is also part of the Association of Agricultural Machinery Factories of Córdoba (Afamac) and ensures that the sector must work to further standardize its components.
“What I have seen are auto parts plants with a level of automation and robotization that, if they were agricultural players, would have a performance tremendous. But to achieve this, they also have to work in commercial departments to sell new products or to incorporate technicians in other aspects of engineering, ”he adds.
Borri estimates that between 100 and 200 local companies would be in a position to expand and diversify their client portfolio, abandoning their historical dependence on the automotive sector.
To move forward, the idea is to incorporate the help of the Province, through the Ministry of Industry, and also from other business chambers, such as the Córdoba Technology Cluster, due to the increasing degree of digitization and demand for software that agricultural machines have.
Metallurgists: Agreement with Ceprocor
They signed a technological development agreement.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Pablo De Chiara, and the president of the Chamber of Metallurgical and Component Industrialists of Córdoba, Eduardo Borri, signed a technological link agreement for research projects and technical assistance.
The agreement will materialize through the Center of Excellence in Products and Processes (Ceprocor) and the Technological Center of Arteaga (CTDA). One of the projects that have already been launched between the two is that of a device that reduces the viral load of the coronavirus on objects through UVC technology (type C ultraviolet rays).
The original text of this article was published on 05/19/2020 in our printed edition.
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