Rust and dreams
A small job shop for sheet metal, sited in Mexico’s counterpart to Silicon Valley? That has to be a winner, thought Alejandro Salazar and Omar Rojas. Realizing that, they set out to make their fortune.
It was old and pretty rusty when Alejandro Salazar and Omar Rojas found it in a warehouse — an abandoned laser cutting machine, built in 1984 and in serious need of repairs. But it opened the door to self-employment with their own job shop, Salazar y Rojas Maquinados, or “Syrma” for short. “The resonator, electronics and control circuits turned out to be inoperable,” Rojas recalls.
The two rolled up their sleeves and brought their prize back up to snuff — from the ground up. “We used that machine for our very first order,” says Salazar. That premiere commission now stands on the campus of the University of Guadalajara: a metal sculpture bearing an inscription, as a tribute to Mexican poet Fernando del Paso Morante. Thus public awareness of their work was guaranteed and this made for a perfect business launch.
High-tech from Guadalajara
That was in 2010. A lot has happened since then. That ancient, stopgap machine has made way for a modern TruLaser 1030. Salazar and Rojas see this as the perfect entry-level machine — for production runs of from one to hundreds of items, made of steel, aluminum and stainless steel. Their customers are to be found in the construction, transportation and medical equipment industries.
Things continue to look up, particularly since this small company is in Guadalajara — at the heart of Mexico’s Silicon Valley. This city with its 1.6 million people is located 500 kilometers from Mexico City and is considered to be the country’s primary high-technology cluster. The city is growing rapidly and boasts the highest GDP in Mexico. International corporations including HP, IBM and Siemens maintain manufacturing operations in this up-and-coming industrial metropolis, which has been honored as “Latin America’s most business-friendly city”.
Numerous public and private colleges and universities provide educational opportunities for students and future entrepreneurs. Salazar and Rojas are two of them. After earning their degrees at Monterrey Tech, Guadalajara Campus, there was no question that these new mechatronics engineers would soon be running their own company. This duo certainly shows no short-age of ingenuity and stamina. They make up for their lack of experience with a generous portion of courage and mettle. “We told ourselves from the very outset that we were going to make it,” says Rojas. “We took the obstacles as a challenge.” And with this attitude they have already overcome a number of hurdles.
Business is booming and the management twosome has defined its roles: “Alejandro devotes himself primarily to technical matters — the machinery, parts design and programming,” Rojas explains. Rojas concentrates on customer service. This is quite important to him. “We want to help our customers minimize costs and maximize profits,” Salazar emphasizes.
Sustainable and socially aware
And there is something else which has enjoyed prime importance from the very start. Syrma is to be both ecologically sustainable and socially aware. It goes without saying that oils and hazardous materials are disposed of properly. What’s more, LED lamps are used exclusively at Syrma and they shine thanks to solar power. You would search in vain for paper in these operations. “Our business is almost entirely paperless, the only exception being the invoices we print for our customers,” says Rojas with a smile. Every December they host Las Posadas, following Mexican tradition, for the children in the neighboring Ferrocarril district. This is quite an event, with music, food and the traditional piñatas.
The young businessmen look confidently into the future: “We want to become recognized as a business leader in Mexico,” says Salazar, full of self-assurance. “As our business grows we will add new TRUMPF equipment to help us maintain our commitment to our customers — and to the quality of our work in accordance with international standards,” Rojas adds. That’s what it’s all about: High-tech from Guadalajara.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in spring 2012.