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Mexico-based manufacturer leapfrogs competition by jumping from metals to thermoplastics

Mexico City entrepreneur Javier Robles started Compañia Automotriz De Ventiladores S.A. (CAVSA) in the mid-1980s, manufacturing and supplying aftermarket automotive fans for a wide variety of vehicles. For years, these were purely metals-driven applications, but as time went on, Robles started to notice a slow but growing demand for thermoplastic fans, first in smaller vehicles, then in heavy trucks. He decided that he was going to build a competitive niche by using these materials.

“We were knowledgeable about metal machining, but didn’t really know much about plastics, so we learned on the fly,” Robles explained.

The demand for thermoplastic fans grew quickly and Robles’ bold decision led to accelerating success for CAVSA, but behind the scenes, he notes, the story was different.

“We had processing issues with our materials for a long time. The flexibility of the fan blades was inconsistent and some would be brittle and break. We had good quality control to help make sure that these imperfect parts would not leave the factory, but we wasted a lot of money and time over the years,” he explained. “We worked with many different Nylon suppliers, but no one seemed to be able to help us get it exactly right.”

The turning point, Robles says, came when he met RTP Company in 2011.

“RTP Company looked over our issues very carefully and saw where there were problems. They went through a few trials and created a custom compound for us that worked a lot better than anything else we had ever tried,” said Robles. “Since then, we have not had one single reject or failure due to materials. The flex properties in our fans are excellent and cracking and breaking have stopped completely.”

Today, CAVSA is more successful than ever, supplying more than three dozen types of aftermarket automotive fans for nameplates as diverse as Volkswagen, Mercedes, Cummins and Caterpillar; vehicles including small sedans, heavy trucks, SUVs and pick-up trucks; and those running on gas, diesel and hybrid electric. In addition, they manufacture industrial fans for energy plants and large HVAC applications—all using the same custom compounded RTP Company glass-filled Nylon material.

“RTP Company was able to supply the perfect material and outstanding technical advice, and as a result our business continues to grow,” said Robles. “I think the best years of our company are still ahead, and RTP Company will continue to be a big part of that success.”