Consolidating Nuevo Leon’s Aerospace CapabilitiesWed, 03/27/2019 - 17:50
Q: How has Monterrey Aerocluster promoted the certification of aerospace companies in Nuevo Leon?
CB: In 2018, Monterrey Aerocluster offered auditing training on the AS9100 quality norm for the aerospace sector that was well-received. 2018 was a year of transition from AS9100 to the new AS9100 Revision D, so several companies were interested in updating their certifications. We also worked closely with the US FAA to certify three MRO shops based in Nuevo Leon. These companies received the 14 CFR Part 145 certifications, which allows them to service US aircraft.
Q: What strategies is Monterrey Aerocluster implementing to boost local aerospace companies?
RC: Special chemical finishes, thermal treatments and other services that fall under the scope of metal finishes are the most important gaps. This challenge prevents us from producing more machined or sheet metal components in Nuevo Leon. Certifications needed for some of these processes are an area of opportunity that local companies have not yet developed. Monterrey Aerocluster plans to launch a new initiative to help members close this gap before the end of 2021.
Aside from supporting technical training for certifications, Monterrey Aerocluster also offers a series of seminars to help SMEs meet potential buyers and to attract more metal-mechanic companies to the aerospace sector. Our objective is to develop a solid supplier base that consolidates Nuevo Leon’s manufacturing capabilities.
CB: Monterrey Aerocluster saw its membership grow with 12 new companies. These are metal-mechanic companies, thermal treatment suppliers, manufacturing companies and MRO services for executive aviation. Some of our new members do not target the aerospace sector directly but are interested in improving their production processes, which is one of the advantages of being part of Monterrey Aerocluster.
Q: How can Mexico’s new federal administration support the development of the aerospace sector?
CB: There is no federal policy that requires foreign aerospace investors to engage in supplier development, integration of local content or technical training for locals. Such a policy would have a positive effect on the development of regional aerospace value chains. A project to create a public sector-specific fund that supports Mexico’s aeronautics industry would also be an advantage. There is a similar fund that supports research, technology development and innovation for the space sector, despite Mexico having a small participation in the development of space components, but there is nothing of the sort for aerospace production.
RC: The government must implement a policy to level Mexico’s aerospace trade balance. There is a significant trade deficit for this sector but no government-backed project that requires aerospace companies to develop the capabilities of local suppliers.
Q: What milestones has Monterrey Aerocluster reached in its collaboration with local academic institutions?
CB: Monterrey Aerocluster opened new offices at the Center for Research and Innovation in Aeronautics Engineering (CIIIA) of the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL). Having a direct presence at the center fostered greater participation between UANL and Monterrey Aerocluster’s work committees and enabled us to organize more matchmaking events for suppliers and clients. We have also collaborated with ITESM in entrepreneurial areas, such as the definition of a strategic plan for our manufacturing work committee, as well as with the Monterrey University and the Regiomontana University to a minor extent.
That being said, our cooperation with academic institutions is more with technical schools. Monterrey Aerocluster works with CONALEP, CECATI and CBTIS, all of which graduate technicians in areas such as tooling and machinery.
Monterrey Aerocluster is a nonprofit organization that promotes the development of the aerospace sector in Nuevo Leon. It works to incorporate local suppliers into the national and international aerospace value chains