This Venture Is Cooking With Gas

An engineer huddles over an Apollo workstation from Hewlett-Packard, designing parts for a gas-range prototype. Nearby, a hermetically sealed chamber recreates the heat and humidity of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and 40 probes tell a computer how well a refrigerator is performing under tropical conditions. "Just a few years ago, we had to take readings by hand," recalls Luis Hoyos Parrao. He's director of the new $7 million research and development center built by appliance maker Organizacion Mabe in Queretaro, in central Mexico, soon to be dedicated by none other than President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. With its state-of-the-art technology and top-notch research, it's just the kind of project Salinas loves--proof that Mexican manufacturers can compete at the highest levels.

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