After a booming growth rate during the last two years, Clayton de México, S.A. de C.V., a subsidiary of Clayton Industries that produces steam generators and hot water generators in a large range of sizes, plans to continue solidifying its leading role in Mexico and Latin America. Rachel Hartman tells the story.
In the last five years, we’ve doubled our production,” says Jorge Miguel Henríquez, engineer and general director of Clayton de México. “We now have two shifts at the plant to keep up.”
Is the increase due to a growing market? Not necessarily, according to Henríquez. He owes the company’s fastpaced growth to its high standards, premium quality equipment, remarkable service and selling techniques, all of which surpass competitors in Mexico and Latin America.
Clayton de México is a subsidiary of Clayton Industries, a company founded in 1930 with its headquarters in City of Industry, Calif. Operations in Mexico began in 1959, when Tomás Valladares Rodriguez started a company to distribute imported equipment. Soon Clayton de México started to participate in the manufacturing process, building both steam and hot water generators, waste heat and exhaust gas boilers, high pressure boilers, superheat boilers, and fluid heaters.
Today, production continues at the company’s plant in the Zona del Norte, an area near Mexico City. The plant covers 14,000 square meters, and produces between 190 and 220 units per year. The company is also responsible for manufacturing accessories and additional equipment.
One of the company’s main products, the steam generator, comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from 10 to 185 BHP. Its hot water heater line starts at 15 BHP and extends to 100 BHP. Clayton de México also manufactures heat exchangers, which vary in size from 0.7 square meters to 11.2 square meters, and steam plants. In addition to these, the company makes water treatment systems and condensate return equipment, systems with low NOx burners, exhaust and recovery systems, high pressure steam generators, and superheated steam generators. The company also produces condensate tanks, deaereator tanks, water softeners, and blow down tanks, among other products.
EXPERTS IN STEAM
“With 50 years of experience, we’re considered to be experts in the industry,” says Henríquez. This may be one of the reasons Clayton appeals to so many top companies in the world. Its client list includes well-known names in the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
These clients are also attracted to many of the features Clayton products offer. “Our units take up one-third of the space normally needed for a generator,” notes Henríquez. This is especially important to businesses that need a generator, but have limited space. “Clayton is ideal for confined places such as basements or areas where space is critical,” he adds. Hospitals, hotels, and laboratories are just a few of the many businesses that benefit from this quality.
The units also weigh a considerable 40 percent less than other brands. And they start up quickly. “Clayton equipment can go from zero to 100 percent in just five minutes,” says Henríquez. He explains that equipment belonging to the competition often takes between an hour and an hour-and a- half to have the same effect.
Another characteristic that makes Clayton de México stand out, and perhaps the most important in terms of safety, is that the units it manufactures are virtually inexplosive, according to Henríquez. “Usually, when an explosion occurs, it is a result of accumulated water in the area of combustion,” he explains. “Clayton equipment is designed so that it does not have any accumulated water in this area, or so little that it does not cause an explosion.”
Recently the company released a new line of steam generators known as SigmaFire. These products require less time and money to install than previous models. According to Clayton’s Web site, this is largely due to modular construction of the main components: the steam generator, the feedwater tank and other feedwater equipment. Each one of these is built on two rails that slide and bolt together. This design allows the units to be transferred in a much simpler fashion. The SigmaFire line also comes in more sizes than previously offered, and runs in a quiet, smooth manner.
To aid customers, Henríquez notes that the SigmaFire comes with a completely digital screen. It is also significantly smaller than previous versions. “The design is so compact that it can fit in practically any place,” he adds.
Along with state-of-the-art features attached to its products, Henríquez credits the company’s emarkable performance to its emphasis on distributors. “We have a network of 86 distributors in Mexico and Latin America,” he says. “In Mexico, we not only sell, we provide installation services, maintenance, technical support and other services. We do this not only in all of the capitals, but in all of the major cities throughout the Republic.” In short, he says, “We have the territory completely covered.”
This strong presence has helped the company become Mexico’s clear leader in the industry. In Latin America, Clayton de México is working to solidify its presence. “We have 40 distributors in Latin America,” says Henríquez. This personal contact helps the company establish strong relationships with its customers.
In the coming years, Clayton de México plans to add more distributors to increase its market share throughout the region. “We want to have a local presence in all of the cities in Latin America,” he notes. During the next five years the company plans to double the number of distributors it has outside of Mexico. The goal is to have a total of 80 to 85 distribution points throughout Latin America. Henríquez adds that the company wants to cover all of the territory south of the United States, from Mexico to the far reaching points of Latin America.
Clayton de México places a strong emphasis on education for its various workers. “All of our training programs are set up so that our distributors, office workers, and other personnel can participate,” Henríquez explains. Employees can learn about a large assortment of subjects, ranging from thermodynamics to electronics. Courses are also offered to help them learn about the installation process, identify typical problems, and repair common mishaps, among other topics. “This is separate from the commercial part,” notes Henríquez. By equipping employees with the knowledge they need to properly produce, install, and repair the units, Clayton de México is better able to serve its clients.
And these clients take notice. Starting in 2003, sales and production increased significantly. During the last five years, Clayton de México has experienced a period of explosive growth. Looking into the next few years, company officials are ready for more of the same. While the company currently has two shifts working at the plant to keep up with the needed production, it plans to add another shift. “Within the next five years, we expect to have three shifts at the plant, so that we will be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Henríquez.
This, together with the plans to create more distributing centers throughout Latin America, will keep the company running, full steam ahead.