José Luis Alonso
Director General
LDM
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View from the Top

Plastic Applications Seal Success

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 17:30

Q: How important is the mining industry for LDM?
A: The mining sector accounts for approximately 20 percent of our income. The principal products we sell in this area are geosynthetic membranes, tubes, plates, grids, and equipment for the manipulation of plastic. The geosynthetic membranes have different applications. One is the protection of soil around aquifers. When mining uses chemical solutions such as acids, they need to be stopped from passing into the subsoil as mandated by regulation.
In mining, there is widespread use of double seals, or double barriers. This technology is made up of a plastic barrier and a second consisting of powder. This powder is entrapped between two textiles. When a liquid reaches it, the powder expands and stops the liquid from continuing into the subsoil. This is a specialty we offer. We also offer geogrids to stop displacement of terrain, and control mats to counter soil erosion. In addition, we offer plastic plating for the exterior protection of trucks. Plastic is highly resilient, which makes it suitable for this purpose.
Q: LDM is a supplier of the German manufacturer Naue. What advantages does Naue offer?
A: Naue is a prestigious brand that is very well-known in the area of geosynthetics for protection purposes. It invented the concept of a powder solution being entrapped between two textiles and it held the patent for this for a long time. The company’s advantage is its wide range of products: geomembranes, geotextiles, geosynthetics, geogrids, mats for drainage and erosion, amongst others. Competing producers tend to only focus on one of these areas. Having such extensive engineering experience and installations gives the company the upper hand in the industry.
Q: What other strategic alliances do you rely on and what advantages do they provide?
A: We work with the Swiss manufacturer Leister, which is specialized in equipment for technology to weld plastics. The advantage of working with European companies is that they meet strict national and European norms. Many of these norms are focused on prevention. In Mexico, American norms are often applied, which are not as strict. In reality, this means that to meet American norms, the company welds a trial product first, and then measures it. To meet European norms, that company needs equipment which measures speed, temperature and pressure during welding.
This is then used to test welding of a section of membrane. Only if it holds, it is approved for trial application in the field. Leister produces the machines necessary for this process. It can provide an accurate report for each line of welding, and if there is an error in the process the machine will turn off immediately. This is safer and provides a better product. Leister is now a leader in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. Ten years ago, however, this was not the case. We believe that we have changed the market and brought it closer to the European standard.
Q: What are your plans for Mexico, and further expansion in Latin America?
A: In Mexico, our plan is to continue increasing our share of the market. There is a great deal of competition in pricing. We intend to grow closer to our clients, and integrate our solutions and brands so that we can offer integral packages.
We will pursue the same strategy in the rest of Latin America. We are already present in Colombia and Panama. This year we will arrive in Chile and Peru. These countries have different styles of mining, particularly due to higher altitudes and a distinct climate. Chile is also different because it has a long mining history, with an established presence of many mining-related companies. As for Argentina and Bolivia, there is a higher specification required to meet the demands for protecting subsoil. Particularly in the area of lithium mining, our products have a lot of potential there. We can also sell to other sectors which use our products.