About us

Founded as a chemical company in 1938 by Rafael Fernández Saldaña, VIAKEM formerly PYOSA has consolidated and grown as a family-owned company with a humanistic philosophy based on solid values.

VIAKEM’s mission is offering integral solutions to the chemical industry. Based on this central objective and a clear definition of its long term goals, company efforts are oriented towards development, production and commercialization of the highest quality chemicals available in the market.

As a part of its integral offering, VIAKEM provides its customers with consulting and technical services for application of VIAKEM products to their transformation processes. These customers participate in diverse industrial markets such as manufacture of petroleum products, agrofinechemicals, fragrances, pharmaceuticals, detergents, and more.

In order to successfully participate in the global market, VIAKEM applies Total Quality Control (TQC) concepts and techniques in all of its manufacturing and administration processes. It permanently optimizes its distribution channels and maintains a special focus on customer service to ensure total customer satisfaction.

To summarize, it can be said that VIAKEM is a group of quality people doing world class chemistry.

VIAKEM plant are located in the Nuevo Leon’s metropolitan area, Mexico, recognized as the country’s industrial heart and an important technological development center.

Productive Plant

VIAKEM has his productive plant in San Nicolas de los Garza, where it manufactures and commercializes a wide range of products for its customers around the world.  Additionally, the company has commercial offices in Mexico City and Guadalajara, to serve an important portfolio of clientes located in the mexican central and south regions.

Certification ISO-9001:2008

Our Quality Policy is put into practice through our Total Quality Administration System (SACaT). This system establishes guidelines governing the operation of the company’s internal processes, which are oriented towards customer satisfaction and ongoing improvement.

The quality system operating at VIAKEM meets the requirements specified in the world’s most widely recognized standard: ISO-9001:2008.

This way, VIAKEM offers its customers a quality warranty backed up by the International Standards Organization.

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ISO-9001:2008 certification number MQA 4001348 granted by  Lloyd´s Register Quality Assurance Limited.

VIAKEM, quality people doing world class chemistry.

Quality Policy

“To guarantee that the customer consistently perceives a greater value according to his own measurement indexes.  Being a quality company, which implies quality in associates, administration, products, services, plant, equipment and economic results.  It is mandatory for associates in VIAKEM to apply TQC in all of their personal and work activities”.

Occupational Health and Environmental Policy

“To conduct all operations in such a way as to guarantee safety and integrity for personnel, the community and our clients, as well as protecting the environment.  In the framework of the TQC philosophy, health, safety and environmental protection are as important as production, quality, cost and morale.  We consider that all injuries, occupational diseases and incidents impinging upon safety, health and the environment can and must be prevented”.

VIAKEM as it is known nowadays, derives its strength from over 65 years of work and dedication devoted to manufacturing and commercializing the highest quality chemicals available in the market. VIAKEM clients throughout the world recognize our company for its rich tradition of excellence in fine chemicals and colors.
1930 - 1937
Rafael Fernández Saldaña, PYOSA founder, worked for Quaker Oats. He and his brother, Julio, founded Convertibles Monterrey S.A., a firm devoted to commercializing lead oxides in Nuevo León state.

A technological change in gasoline refining methods put an end to the utilization of lead oxide as a sulfur eliminating agent.  Having lost its main market, Convertibles Monterrey was forced to close.

1938 - 1940
Late in 1938, Rafael, at age 60, together with his son Alberto (then 20), formalized a commercial and industrial firm, Mercantil Fernández.  With a capital of five thousand pesos, they started operating in a old rented house in downtown Monterrey.

In the commercial sector, they sterilized and packed Kremo wheat breakfast cereal and conducted purchase – sale activities and commercial representation of all kinds of products related to cream of wheat.

In the industrial field, Mercantil Fernández purchased raw litharge from Minera y Metalúrgica Peñoles foundry operations and milled molten litharge, and then sold it to potters, battery manufacturers, and others.  Producing minium and lead oxides was the first diversification of the company that was to become Mexico’s leader in this field.

The scenario at the onset of World War II proved favorable for Mercantil Fernández exports.  Construction of Plant 1 began in 1940 and an oven to produce minium (PB3O4 ) was installed.  Minium is a special variety of lead used in pottery and anticorrosive paint.  It pertains to the yellow and chrome orange family (inorganic pigments).

Also in 1940, Rafael Fernández Ruiloba joined the firm.  The original commercialization and representation areas were liquidated and all available resources were devoted to production, commercialization, research and development of oxides and pigments from lead.

1941 - 1946
Early in 1941, Mercantil Fernández moved onto the first plant of its own, at Industrias 930 Poniente.  The demand for lead oxide for electric battery manufacturing called for a more specialized product, one that was manufactured using new technologies: the Barton System and rotary mills.

Rafael Fernández Ruiloba developed the Barton reactor in order to expedite the production of special leaded litharge for the car battery industry, high purity yellow litharge and minium for the pottery, leaded glass and anticorrosive paint industries.

1947 - 1954
In 1947 Pigmentos y Oxidos, S.A. (PYOSA) was legally incorporated.  Also in 1941, the company began exporting leaded litharge to U.S. battery manufacturers.  In this field, PYOSA competed with American producers such as Eagle Picher, a company with which PYOSA established a partnership that allowed it to purchase new equipment and thus four-fold its plant capacity.

In 1948, research began to enter the agricultural insecticide market.  It was back in 1948 too, when Rafael Fernández Saldaña’s youngest son, Jorge Fernández Ruiloba, joined the company. Jorge had a degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University in Indiana, and developed the first chrome yellow pigment line in 1950.  This brought about the first synthesis processes that turned PYOSA into a chemical specialty company with internally developed processes.

Agrochemicals production started in 1948 and reached the broad market in 1950 with the manufacture of agricultural insecticides based on calcium arseniate. Insecticidas Cruz Negra was incorporated in 1951.  The company’s objective was to manufacture, transform, commercialize and industrialize all kinds of insecticides, fertilizers and their derivatives.

In 1953, engineer Erick Simon Lehman joined the company.  New products were developed based on his knowledge.  In 1954, new technological development work started to complete the line of lead-derived pigments.  Also in 1954, PYOSA had a shipping railroad line.

1955 - 1962
In 1955, Plant 2 was built.  The new Plant accommodated the company’s expanded textile pigment and colorant areas as well as facilities for its certified colors for food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.  It was also in 1955 when Pigmentos y Oxidos merged with its agrochemical subsidiary, Insecticidas Cruz Negra.

During the fifties, a higher degree of technological development was available; the Mexican industrial culture emerged as a result of a period of great stability and real growth.  PYOSA sales increased by a factor of 10, and product development was evident in organic pigments such as azoic yellows and reds as well as certified food grade colors.

PYOSA workers union was created in the 1957 – 1959 period and the first collective work agreement was signed.  The employee dinning room was established and Unión Magazine was published for the first time, this is PYOSA’s internal information organ.

In the early sixties, a 43 hectare tract of land was purchased in the metropolitan municipality of San Nicolás de los Garza.  Plant 3 would eventually be established on that property.  Late in 1961, part of this land was allocated to install a plant to produce colors and ceramic frits.  This way, Colores Cerámicos Mexicanos was founded in a partnership with the American company O’Homel Corporation, which would later sell their shares to PYOSA. In 1962, the firm’s first analysis laboratory was established.

1963 - 1971
The first textile colorant manufactured at PYOSA was congo red, a direct colorant.  Almost simultaneously, direct blue 86 was manufactured.  This is a sulfonation of ftalocianine blue.  In order to evaluate colorants, a photometer was acquired, which determines the concentration index of a colorant in solution.

Direct colorants manufactures by PYOSA were for cotton and wool applications, but polyester and nylon became the fashion in the sixties and they called for dispersed colorants.  This is why, in 1967, PYOSA established a partnership with the American Aniline Corporation in order to establish a commercialization operation for a product line for the textile industry.  This operation was named Anilinas Panamericanas and was located in the state of Mexico.

In 1968, dispersed colorants began being produced at Plant 3 and, by 1969, dispersed colorant production led the company to develop solvent colorants for Pemex to differentiate greases and oils and, later on, for gasoline too.  In 1971, Insecticidas Cruz Negra was liquidated.

1972 - 1980
In the first half of the seventies, indigo blue was developed; this is used as a colorant for denim.  For many years only five manufacturers in the world produced it, one of them was PYOSA.

In 1977, the Facek Unit was created to produce chemicals, intermediate products and agrochemicals.  Also in 1977, Engineer Alberto Fernández Garza (the founder’s grandson) was appointed CEO.

Late in 1977, the first organizational diagnosis was conducted based on Ichack Adizes principles.  This management technology became the basis of PYOSA’s organizational development, thus establishing a product-focused structure by 1979: Lead Oxides, Pigments, Textile Colorants and Chemicals.

By 1980, PYOSA’s workforce exceeded 1,000 associates.  Anilinas Panamericanas moved to PYOSA’s new commercial offices in Mexico City.

1981 - 1990
In order to strengthen organizational growth, PYOSA applies McKinsey ideas and concepts.  In 1983, under the influence of Japanese management (Z Theory), five twenty-member teams were formed, each one was charged with the purpose of establishing the firm’s values and objectives.

Late in 1983, in a quest for choices to achieve excellence at top management levels and through application of Adizes theory, a diagnosis was conducted to obtain and formalize each business unit director responsibilities and commitments.  In mid 1985, Boston Consulting Group concepts were introduced, mostly in commercial areas.  This model shows the way to become strategically positioned in markets.

In 1987 the decision was made to utilize MRP-II in order to improve production management, reduce inventory costs and maintain a high level of customer service. The implementation of this management tool took 24 months of work, including installation of a satellite based communications network that was necessary for system operation.  A few months later, PYOSA became the first Latin American firm to achieve MRP-II Class A User classification.

In 1989, Esmacer S.A. de C.V. was founded, as a result of a joint venture of Colores Cerámicos Mexicanos and Gruppo Colorobbia, from Italy.  The objective of Esmacer was to offer their customers the added values of design, consulting and technical support in the use of ceramic frits to manufacture products such as floor tiles and coatings.

In the early nineties, PYOSA faced dramatic changes that were brought about in the world economic scenario.  Market globalization was imminent.  The challenge facing the company was being flexible enough and highly productive without compromising its customer service levels.  Under this context, the company made the strategic decision of adopting Total Quality Control (TQC) following the Japanese model.  In order to do so, PYOSA hired the consulting services from the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers through Dr. Ichiro Miyauchi.

1991 - 1998
The process of implementing the Total Quality philosophy at PYOSA started in 1991 by training personnel at all levels.  Then came the first Quality Control Circle, consisting mostly of associates from production lines, who applied their newly acquired knowledge both for their personal development and to improve their work activities. The widespread application of TQC concepts and tools allowed PYOSA to integrate the permanent quest for ongoing improvement into its organizational culture.

By the end of 1992, the new Research and Development Laboratory built within the premises of Plant 3 was opened.  A select group of researchers, engineers al other personnel specialized in analytical chemistry was assigned to these facilities with the purpose of expediting the offer of new products to a growingly demanding market.

In mid 1993, with the assistance of EDS consulting firm, a plan was established to make strategic use of information technology.  As the main outcome of this action, early in 1995, SAP computer system was implemented at PYOSA to manage company resources.  PYOSA was one of the very first companies to use this system in Mexico.

Early in 1996, Ftalmex, S.A. de C.V. came into existence as a result of a joint venture between PYOSA and the Japanese firm Toyo Ink Mfg.  This company is oriented to produce green and blue pigments derived from copper ftalocyanine as well as carbazol violets to supply the geographic zone included in the newly signed North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

A year later, Pyosa Oxides S.A. de C.V. was created, as a result of a joint venture between PYOSA and the French-German company Penarroya GmbH.  Its objective is to manufacture and commercialize lead oxides globally, using European leading edge technology in their manufacture.

1999 - Actualidad
In 1999, Emilio Assam Helú was appointed CEO.  He had previously been PYOSA Fine Chemicals CEO and had also been responsible for other process engineering activities.

In 2001, “PYOSA 21st Century” vision was established.  The dawn of a new millennium poses major challenges in a highly competitive market.  However, excellent growth opportunities are envisioned.

In the following years, true to its vision, VIAKEM implemented actions to transform itself in order to offer its customers more and better solutions, not just through products but by integrating added value services too.

This way, VIAKEM history is being written through its daily effort to achieve excellence based on hard teamwork, just as the company founders did more than 65 years ago.