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Monday, May 20, 2013 | Seven days in Sao Paulo – an eventful week

Our week begins early Monday morning in the car park of a shopping centre in Barueri in the district of Sao Paulo. We are to visit Grupo Ravi, which produces, amongst other products, closures for PET bottles in South America. Director Aurelio Silva welcomed us in his brand new office together with Erica Rodrigues from the research and development department and accountant Claudia Mello. In the course of a most interesting interview we learned about the company’s broad portfolio of products and their coverage of the South American market.

The next day started dramatically. As Waldemar and I were driving towards Jundiai en route to our next appointment, the satnav suddenly gave up the ghost. It looked like the cable connector was broken. A hasty stop at the nearest electronics shop proved fruitless – they had no spare parts for the gizmo. We have no time to waste - we don’t want to miss our appointment, so we take an executive decision to buy a new satnav equipped, of course, with a map of Brazil. Problem solved! By the afternoon we are pulling up at the Amcor premises near Jundiai to be greeted by Bruna Robaldo.

Ruben Melara, General Manager, Waldemar Schmitke und Enrique Raphael, Director of Business Development, (v.l.n.r.) bei Amcor in Jundiai, Sao Paulo

At Amcor we have a most entertaining and informative interview with General Manager Ruben Melara. Delighted at the way things are going, we discuss the characteristics of the Brazilian market. As the interview draws to a close we are joined by Enrique Raphael, Director of Business Development. Discussions over, Frau Robaldo invites us for a bite to eat in the works canteen. We are also relieved to find that we can fill up the Editourmobil’s fresh water tank. Now thoroughly replete, we park the Editourmobil on the Amcor premises and settle down for a peaceful night.

We have another drama the next day. On the short journey to our next appointment at Husky in the dark of the early morning, we have a (minor) accident. It was bound to happen sooner or later. We are attempting to negotiate our way down a narrow lane which gets even narrower at the edge of a construction site. Suddenly, there is a horrible grinding noise coming from the back of the vehicle and running up to the driver’s cockpit. A swift glance at the offside mirror reveals the awful truth. Somehow or other we have driven over a concrete post on the other side of the construction site and it is slowly but surely scraping the underbody of the Editourmobil. Using the automatic transmission we carry out a complex, jerky manoeuvre and we manage to salvage the situation as best we can. We both jump out of the cab to assess the damage. We come to the conclusion that the biggest problem is the brake warning light which has been on for the past 700km. Fortunately, the only damage caused by the post was to shatter the bumper. A broken bumper is not going to prevent us driving on.

The next morning I drop my colleague Waldemar off at the Husky South American Beverage Packaging Conference, part of the Husky World Tour. During the conference, he has an interesting interview with Keith Carlton, VP of Global Sales. Meanwhile, my job is to get the Editourmobil over to a nearby Iveco garage with the aim of sorting out the red warning light. Six very long hours later, having driven the vehicle and tested the brakes under the watchful eyes of the last two remaining mechanics who have stayed behind specially, I can now slowly move out of the Iveco workshop. On the way to Husky, where I will pick up Waldemar, I marvel at the great improvisational skills of the Brazilians: four rear brake pads needed to be replaced, but the official Iveco pads were not available anywhere in the locality. Thiago, the mechanic, came up with the brilliant idea of getting hold of four similar brake pads and milling them to shape so that they fit neatly in the wheels. No sooner said than done. That’ll do you for 10,000 km, he said. Can’t be bad...

The Editourmobil is fitted with new brake pads

On Wednesday we are guests of Bericap, where Aurel Forgaci, Managing Director, and Fernando Seabra, Plant Manager, prove to be generous hosts. After a long and good-humoured interview, a detailed tour of the plant and a delicious lunch, we are permitted to park the Editourmobil on their premises for the night.

We mentioned that the two front tyres on the Editourmobil were dangerously worn, so our hosts immediately arranged for the company buyer to ring round tyre depots to find replacements. Unfortunately tyres of the right size proved impossible to locate so they got the local tyre replacement service to come up with a solution. Words can scarcely express our gratitude for all the help we received. Now equipped with two spanking new front tyres we crawl through the Thursday morning rush hour traffic to our next appointment in Sao Paulo. Here we meet with Thiago Hackradt Guedes and Leandro Gleria of AmBev, who give us a detailed rundown on the recycling concept known under the brand name of Guarana Antarctica.

(left to right) Aurel Forgaci, Managing Director, Fernando Seabra, Plant Manager, Florian Roscheck and Waldemar Schmitke at Bericap in Sorocaba, Sao Paulo

In the evening construction work on the Feiplastic exhibition proves a fascinating spectacle. After lengthy discussions with park security we manage to find a suitable spot to park for the night. For security reasons, we are leaving Sao Paulo for the weekend and taking a little break from writing duties in Aguas de Lindoia, but before we do so, we still have one further visit to make on Friday.

Together with Thomas Herkert, Area Sales Manager PET Systems at Netstal and his colleague Italo Zavaglia, Head of the Netstal Division of Kraus Maffei, Group do Brasil, we drive to Shefa in the city of Amparo, where PET preforms are produced and blown for milk.

In the neighbouring facility, the milk is bottled. Our interview takes the form of a round table discussion with an interesting mix of representatives from the various companies. The discussions conclude with a tour of the plant where we get a detailed briefing on all the machines and the filling lines.

This week has been exceptionally busy with numerous appointments. Although it is very tiring, it is nonetheless extremely interesting to compare and contrast the many different companies we have visited. Over the past seven days, we have been able to build up and expand our mosaic of South America’s PET industry.

(left to right) Paulo Vitor R. Mendonca, responsible for designing and building Shefa’s entire production line, Thomas Herkert, Area Sales Manager PET system, Netstal, Ricardo David, Operations Director of Logoplaste, Leandro Sponchiado, head of production Logoplaste, Italo Zavaglia , Head of the Netstal Division of Kraus Maffei, Netstal Group do Brasil, Vitor Vila Verde, Brazil R & D manager of Logoplaste, Fabio Salik, Managing Director of Logoplaste and Waldemar Schmitke at Shefa in Amparo, São Paulo

Best wishes
Florian Roscheck