The balloon industry in Sao Roque, Brazil is literally popping.
For almost three decades, Valter N. Sakaguchi has worked as the production supervisor at Latex Sao Roque. In a recent episode of the Popular Mechanics series “Made Here,” he walks us around the latex balloon factory.
With the increase in demand, the company could no longer function by using just Brazilian latex. They started importing latex to keep up with the supply requirements, and now Sao Roque only uses imported Latex.
As his job title indicates, Sakaguchi overlooks multiple parts of production at the balloon factory. To keep the production standards the same, the balloons are tested regularly. If they pop during the testing, Sakaguchi utilizes that opportunity to perform a quality test instead of getting upset.
Latex Sao produces an amazing 650 plus types of balloons for various kinds of occasions. They are of varied sizes, colors, finishes and also have custom designs. To keep up with the supply-demand, the company runs 24 hours a day and will be operational 7 days a week. Balloons are not the only product being produced in Sao Roque; they also produce latex gloves.
Sakaguchi told Popular Mechanics that a part of the latex is used in balloon production, and the other part is used for multipurpose gloves.
Latex Rao came into being in 1953 and has since then employed multiple generations of the same families. Sakaguchi says, “Half of my life has been spent in the factory. I feel a belonging to this place like a family.” For Sakaguchi, balloons evoke a feeling of wonder and happiness. “A world without balloons, I believe, would be a world with less joy.”
Sakaguchi believes that balloons instill a feeling of wonder and joy in us, and a world without balloons would be a world with less happiness.