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22 febrero 2024

Sergio Juste, manager of Kryfil Methacrylate: “In the Arab market the quality of the product is more appreciated and the price factor is not so much looked at”

Sergio Juste is manager of Kryfil Methacrylate, a family business founded by his father, Felix Juste, who for decades has been sending products made of methacrylate all over the world. The lecterns that have been seen in the electoral debates of TVE in recent municipal and regional elections are the work of this Aragonese company, as well as conference lecterns from which we have seen so many world leaders at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Part of the large display cases in the Vatican Museums are the work of Kryfil, as are the 22 conference lecterns in the halls of the Bordeaux Congress and Exhibition Center in France. A methacrylate guitar made by them adorns their offices, and a set of colored tables, destined for an erotic product store in Barcelona, are ready to go to their destination.

All a progression that began in the metal carpentry of his grandfather, also called Felix Juste, the founder of a business saga that saw in the methacrylate a way to grow and innovate within the Aragonese industry. In fact, Kryfil Methacrylate has already consolidated both the domestic market and various international markets, although its current goal is to enter the Arab market, with the help of Natalia Oweiss, secretary of the company, knowledgeable in both the language and the Arab culture. Present, past and future of a family business that has been able to adapt to the new times.

Sergio Juste poses with some colorful tables made for an erotic product store in Barcelona. Photo: N.M

How did Kryfil Metacrilato come about?

Kryfil is a small family business that was born from an idea of my father, who worked in a metal carpentry in the 80s owned by my grandfather. When my grandfather retired, my father, Felix Juste, wanted to change the type of material with which to work, and looked at the methacrylate, which at that time began to emerge and was a fairly new material and less exploited than the world of metals. My father started in a tiny workshop in the neighborhood of Las Delicias, with his brother and my mother. But when he acquired his first laser cutting machine, he had to move from there (because of the smoke emissions) to the current building in Cuarte de Huerva. Over the years, the building became too small, especially after starting to work with Yudigar, which demanded more work volume. For this reason, we took over the adjoining building.

In the end, we continued with the carpentry business, since methacrylate is another type of carpentry: instead of being made of metal or wood, it is with another material, but we work in a very similar way.

What professional profiles currently requires the activity of Kryfil Methacrylate?

My father, who founded the company, has always been a very self-taught and restless person when it comes to researching new technologies, and with an amazing ability to learn. When I arrived at the company and the volume of work was expanding, we were introducing professional profiles of the branches of engineering. In fact, right now, of the seven people who work here, three of us are engineers.

Lecterns for NATO headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Kryfil Methacrylate.

What is the main activity of Kryfil Methacrylate?

We are dedicated to the distribution of technical plastic materials, such as PMMA, PC, PVC, PET, PETG, Dibond … either in whole sheets or cut to size. But our main strength, and what we like the most, is the finished end product, in order to give the best service to our customers. That is to say, we are basically manipulators or transformers of this type of plastic materials, and from plates, bars, tubes, etc. we manufacture the final product ready to be used.

MY FATHER, WHO FOUNDED THE COMPANY, HAS ALWAYS BEEN A RESTLESS PERSON WHEN IT COMES TO RESEARCHING NEW TECHNOLOGIES.

Our most prized value is the speed and reliability of our delivery times without neglecting the quality of our products. And we try to adapt to the budget of each customer, always choosing the most suitable material for its use or function. We always work with materials of the highest quality, and we have a portfolio of proven suppliers, with whom we have had an excellent relationship for years.

The industrial laser Kryfil Methacrylate is one of the few in Spain. Photo Kryfil Methacrylate.

And they also have a unique industrial laser in Aragon.

In Kryfil for many years, we have opted for technology to help us in our daily production. Above all, it is remarkable our laser cutting machine, unique in Aragon (and one of the few that exist in Spain) specialized for cutting methacrylate up to plate thicknesses of 30 millimeters. It is an industrial machine, with a performance in terms of power and speed, which has nothing to do with other Chinese laser machines. When it broke down we did not find another company in Zaragoza that had a machine similar to this one, or that cut methacrylate with high thicknesses and with certain quality.

We also have a CNC milling machine of 3×2 meters for cutting and machining of multiple materials (plastics or others). This machine gives us a wide versatility in the choice of the most suitable material for each job.

And the latest acquisition is a digital printing machine on rigid materials, which allows us to customize the product.

Lecterns for the electoral debates of the municipal and regional elections of 2023 in TVE. Photo: Kryfil Methacrylate

What kind of work is done in Kryfil Methacrylate?

From key chains, trophies and merchandising material, to furniture, with tables, chairs, lecterns … We have a very fixed clientele in Spain and France. We have also made tables for a chain of erotic product stores, for a store that will open in Barcelona.

For example, we have made the lecterns that have been used in TVE in the electoral debates of the municipal and autonomic elections of May 2023. A total of 27 lecterns for TVE territorial delegations.

WE WOULD LIKE TO ENTER THE ARAB MARKET, THE MIDDLE EAST.

The museum theme is another of our usual strong points. We even set up something in the Vatican museums. In Spain we have set up quite a few museums, with large showcases that are a bit more complicated to manufacture in methacrylate. But now, with the variety of materials available in methacrylate, with different finishes and colors, we can make the whole set of showcase ourselves, not only the transparent part, but also the pedestal. My parents started here the museum theme, in ecclesiastical museums, thanks to a nun who contacted them, who was a museologist, dedicated to the assembly of museums. As a result of that, they began to chain contracts and that is how we started with the specialty of large showcases.

Museum showcases. Kryfil Methacrylate. Photo: Kryfil Methacrylate

In which markets is Kryfil Methacrylate present?

Currently, we operate throughout the national territory, and we also have regular customers in France. Perhaps because of the proximity to our neighboring country, where it has been easier for us to access is the French market, although occasionally we have also sent our products to countries as diverse as Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Andorra, Portugal, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Benin…

Which markets would you like to enter?

We would love to enter the Arab market, the Middle East, as they appreciate the quality of the product and do not look so much at the price factor. Although it is a somewhat difficult market because of the cultural and language differences, we have Arabic-speaking staff and we believe it would be possible in the medium to long term.

WE HAVE MADE THE LECTERNS THAT HAVE BEEN USED BY TVE IN THE ELECTORAL DEBATES.

Methacrylate is a product that is more of a luxury product. In the Arab market, money is not as important as in Europe. At Kryfil we are lucky to have Natalia, our secretary, who is fluent in Arabic. That’s why we see a possibility of communication with Middle Eastern companies where our product could fit perfectly. In addition, Natalia is of Jordanian descent, so she also knows the culture and how to gain their trust. It is a market that we do not rule out, through AREX (Aragón Exterior). In fact I am in Contract Aragon, which provides contacts periodically, or Chamber of Commerce, institutions that facilitate the ways to enter international markets.

Guitar made in Kryfil Methacrylate. Photo: Kryfil Methacrylate

What types of work has made Kryfil Methacrylate abroad?

The last outstanding work has been the shipment of 22 units of conference lecterns, to equip the halls of the Palace of Congresses and Exhibitions in Bordeaux (France) at the end of last year. Also worth mentioning is the work we did a few years ago at the Vatican Museums, where we set up several display cases, or the shipment of three conference lecterns to the NATO headquarters in Brussels (which, by the way, are frequently in the news on TV, although it has been more than 14 years since then).

Getting customers in foreign markets is a complicated task, how do you deal with it?

Mainly, we have always been committed to being present on the Internet. When practically nobody had a website, we already had one. Right now, this is not something that makes a difference, but a few years ago it did, and you could make yourself known beyond our borders without much effort.

WE SENT THREE LECTERNS TO THE NATO HEADQUARTERS IN BRUSSELS. WE ARE FREQUENTLY IN THE NEWS, ALTHOUGH IT’S BEEN MORE THAN 14 YEARS SINCE THEN.

Nowadays we have to work more on mailing, social networks and, above all, make our clients happy with our work, so that word of mouth continues to work.

We firmly believe that we have a good product (especially in lecterns) and at a competitive price, to be able to get more customers abroad.

Its presence on the internet, before other companies, has been an interesting milestone for the company. In fact, its website is currently under renovation.

It is necessary to keep updating and try to be up to date in terms of the company image that is given through your website. We already had an online store for more than 10 years, but perhaps the platform had become a little obsolete. We have tried to keep the essence of our website, but with a more comfortable and simple handling for the customer, trying to position better in Google.

At the same time, through the same professionals who have made us the change of web, we are also working social networks (Instagram and Linkedin), to also enhance our brand image.

Kryfil is one of the Aragonese companies that bet on the foreign market. What differential element do you consider that the Aragonese industrial fabric has for its projection in international markets?

In Aragon we have an unbeatable logistic position, in order to provide a fast service, and a series of very competent companies, with which we can create very positive synergies.

Facade of Kryfil Methacrylate. Photo: N.M.

What do you think public institutions could do to encourage the birth and growth of business initiatives?

Facilitate and simplify the paperwork and bureaucracy, which are the ones that push you back when it comes to requesting subsidies. And above all, lowering taxes for companies, since we are the ones who have to create jobs. For micro-enterprises like ours, it is very difficult to survive today, with this kind of tax burden we have.

And to contribute to the export of products and services?

It would be necessary to provide more information about all the instruments available to companies (which are available), through institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce, AREX, etc.

FOR MICRO-COMPANIES LIKE OURS, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO SURVIVE NOWADAYS WITH THIS KIND OF TAX BURDEN WE HAVE.

To what extent has business associationism influenced the growth of the company?

It is always important to surround yourself with associations that can provide solutions or help you, especially for companies that are just starting out. In them you can find companies like yours, where you can find a supplier or even a possible client, with whom you can work together. We are currently members of the Zaragoza Convention Bureau, because of the events sector in which they operate. But we have also had contacts with other institutions such as the Zaragoza Chamber of Commerce or Aragón Exterior (AREX), to name a few. Today, there are many different business associations, and it is simply to find the one in which you feel more comfortable and identified.

How do you see Kryfil Methacrylate in the coming years?

I would like to tell you that, growing a lot, but being realistic with the current scenario of economic instability, and having our feet on the ground, we would simply like to continue to offer the same quality of service to our customers, maintain our team, already consolidated for many years, and continue to be at the forefront of technology related to the plastics market. We have always been a company of taking small steps forward, and not wanting to run more than necessary.

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