That's when they started collaborating with Nynas, which resulted in Caufit rewriting all their formulae and increasing exports.
When Alberto Gomez bought Caufit in 1965, the company's main focus was on pharmaceutical products. However, after investigating the market for industrial rubbers he redirected most of the operations towards this segment, since the company's production facilities were more suited to this and he felt there was great potential in that market. Caufit still operates from the same factory today, but the company has also expanded into two new premises, both in Buenos Aires. Among the products Caufit started manufacturing – and still manufactures today – are weatherstrips for the automotive industry, products for the construction industry, and for printing roll applications. They also produce base products such as cross-linking oils, industrial rubber components and factice (vulcanized oil, used as a substitute for rubber), the latter of which Caufit is the sole producer of in Argentina.
Among Caufit's more recent products are metallic stearates and processing aids for rubber and industrial rubber compounds using natural rubber. "When it comes to industrial rubber compounds we have developed a series of formulae of our own," explains Luis Wolgeshaffen, Caufit's Technical Manager. "These are for customers who come to us with their specifications. But of course we also make compounds that are based on our customers' own formulae."
Caufit has its own research and development department where they develop the various products and also carry out comprehensive quality control processes. Around one fifth of Caufit’s operations comprise what they call "raw material packages". "This means that we put together packages with all of the ingredients for, e.g., carbon black, accelerators and rubber compounds, in exact volumes and weights and send them to the customer who then mixes everything to produce their own products," explains Jorge Poretti, Sales Manager.
Caufit's main markets are the automotive, construction, printing ink, cosmetics, rubber and pharmaceutical industries. Among customers are companies such as Reebok, Dunlop, General Electric, Colgate, Alpargatas Argentina, Hutchinson, Saint Gobain Weber and Lobel Chemical Corporation, as well as regional manufacturers of Citroën and Volkswagen. These customers can be found not only in Argentina but also spread over South America, the USA and South Korea. "Regardless of product and market, it goes without saying that our customers demand the highest possible quality, just-in-time-deliveries and competitive prices," continues Poretti. "Another important aspect for them is that our products are safe from the health viewpoint. Eliminating aromatic extracts from our products, which in the last few years has become an ever more important requirement, first and foremost from the automotive industry, has therefore been given very high priority by us for some time now."
In connection with meeting the new requirements, Caufit started collaborating with Nynas in 2005. "For both quality and health reasons we started at that time to change all our oil-containing formulae so that today they only contain naphthenic oils from Nynas," continues Wolgeschaffen. He is very positive about all the expertise, seminars, tradeshows and technical discussions that Nynas has invited Caufit to participate in.
"We consider Nynas to be a leading supplier of naphthenic oils, with both a tremendous technical know-how and broad experience of health and environment issues. We have gained significant advantages through our collaboration. We experience Nynas as a reliable supplier of high quality products. The company provides a constistently high level of service and quality, and with a high degree of assurance when it comes to delivery times." Poretti adds that since 2005 Caufit has shown positive growth. "We've grown considerably within the automotive and construction segments – by around ten percent a year. But the market that has really exploded is our export of factice to the Lobel Chemical Corporation."
The company buys a specialty product from Caufit and sells it on to its own customers as a raw material for the manufacture of scuba diving suits. "What's special about this product," interjects Wolgeschaffen, "is that we use a blend of Nynas oil and our factice as plasticizer in the compound. With this combination there is cross-linking between the oil and the sulphur in the factice, so we can create a stabile and homogeneous material that doesn't leak oil."
Caufit also manufactures a corresponding type of material for printing rolls in the printing press industry, to satisfy the same need in terms of characteristics. Wolgeschaffen explains that Caufit has been greatly aided by Nynas in their work with developing this product.
"Nynas supported us in our testing and finding the right combination for the right solution. Through the assistance we received from Nynas experts, a number of whom visited us in person, I can say that we have been able to increase both our exports and the market's awareness of our company. We would definitely like to further increase the degree of cooperation in the future." "We have an optimistic view of the future," sums up Poretti. "We are turning the economic crisis into an opportunity: a chance to further increase volumes and expand our markets."
Company: Caufit S.R.L.
General Manager and Chairman of the Board: Alberto Gomez.
Head Office: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Owner: The Gomez family.
Main activity: Production of industrial rubbers.
Production: 2,500 tonnes (2007).
Sales value: US$ 6 million (2007).