Tere had purchased a carrocera from one of the outfits and we drove there to have it installed.
It’s interesting to me that, generally speaking, manufacturers of the same product seem to locate in the same areas. Likewise, here in Xalapa, also in Merida, retailers of the same products seem to congregate in the same locations. Naolinco, for example, is home to quite a number of shoe and other leather good manufacturers. The carrocerias are concentrated in a couple of pueblas this side of Perote. Likewise, there are towns where they manufacture furniture and there are perhaps a hundred concrete block manufacturers in the area just East of Perote.
The manufacturers typically are one machine outfits, employing three or four folks, making two blocks every 15 or 20 seconds. There are stacks of various styles of blocks everywhere.
I had been curious to examine a block making machine and to observe the process, so today while waiting for completion of the carrocero installation I walked to a nearby manufacturer for a look.
The picture above shows the block making machine. There sets on the table a wooden plank upon which fresh blocks set when the mold is lifted and which is used to transport the blocks to the drying pile. Above the plank is the metal block mold (below the fellow’s hands in the upper picture), which in this case forms two solid blocks.
Above the mold is an arrangement of six tubes through which the aggregate falls into the mold. Above the tube array is a hopper into which a couple of fellows would each throw a shovelful of the barely moist (I was astonished at how dry the mixture seemed) aggregate/cement mixture, with the excess falling to the floor where it was scrapped back into the pile for future use.
These guys were quite amused that there was some gringo loco so interested in what they were doing that he was actually taking pictures. Though the fellow in the green shirt noticed that I was having a bit of a problem getting a good shot and removed a tarp used, I suppose, to protect from blowing rain.
AT the left in t he lower photo you can see fresh blocks stacked on the fabric covered wooden planks.