Another SME that reacts: from concrete mixers to disinfecting “tunnels”

Santiago Núñez had not welded for many years, but, as he says, this quarantine made him “go back to the origin” and dust off skills that he kept intact.

He and his brother Mario together manage Tecnus, an SME based in this Capital that develops machinery and technology for the dosage, processing and transportation of concrete made for 17 years.

The company of almost 60 employees, which billed more than three million dollars in 2019, saw its activity, public and private construction, freeze victim of the Covid-19 crisis.

“At least he found us well ordered because everything froze, including the delivery of orders that we have pending here and abroad,” Santiago graphs. “We had no debt with banks; yes, some checks drawn and no more debt with suppliers. We stopped all those payments to focus on meeting salaries,” he explains.

In this way they paid the March wages in full, they were renegotiating terms with suppliers, covering partial payments as they could and looking for how to cover April. The staff that could, from administration, sales, technology, design and networks, went into mode home office.

“At first fear paralyzed us, but, as Mario says, luck is friendly to action.” Thus Santiago explains how with his brother and nephews Nicolás and Martín they focused on devising, using their know how, its network of contacts and stock that they had, products that may be in demand in the context of this pandemic.

Using inventiveness

“We are specialists in automation of concrete equipment and we were asked how to apply automatic systems to the practice of disinfecting, which is now required. So we started to think about it and that’s how we designed the tunnels. I started welding the prototype myself, ”he says.

In a week, and after trials and consultations with specialists on the health spectrum, they achieved a range of sanitation systems.

They include versions of panels and an automatic disinfection tunnel; before movement, apply a cloud of liquid product (authorized as quaternary ammonium or aqueous solution with chlorine can be used) on people and on vehicles that pass through it.

The most massive version manages to “disinfect” six per minute, 360 people per hour.

“It is designed for factories, distribution centers, service centers, public institutions, banks, supermarkets and all environments where it is necessary to apply this kind of sanitary measure to a large number of people quickly,” explains Santiago.

The group designed different versions of equipment: from individual modules to 2.6-meter tunnels, which can be easily folded, assembled and moved.

Prices range from 80,000 to 120,000 pesos.

Orders ripped

“These disinfection systems are intended to be used within the framework of a health plan or protocol that does not neglect other measures, such as hand washing or temperature controls. In the world they are being used and, like everything new that is appearing in this pandemic, they have defenders and critics, “says Santiago.

The truth is that, as the quarantine becomes more flexible, the application of protocols to coexist with the Covid-19 grows. The Núñez indicate that they have already sold a dozen equipment to municipalities and are beginning to receive inquiries and orders from here and abroad.

Although their activity enters those authorized to function (as providers of public and road works), only the owners have come to the factory so far, for prevention. Meanwhile, they manage, on the advice of their branch union (UOM), a permit from the Ministry of Labor to add part of the staff (from 10 to 15 employees) and thus begin to respond to more requests.

“There is a lot of interest, despite the fact that until now we have only put together brochures and a video that we promote on our networks. This is not going to be the equivalent of starting Tecnus. It is only a palliative and a way to keep moving,” he concludes.