Final Link in Supply Chain Enters QueretaroThu, 12/01/2016 - 10:32
Q: What led Aeroprocess TTT to enter the manufacturing chain in Mexico?
A: Aeroprocess TTT’s entrance into Mexico, specifically Queretaro, was based on the state’s proximity to our customers. We focus on engine and landing gear treatments and although the Chihuahua cluster has a strong supply base for engine production, the majority of our clients also have facilities in Queretaro. We are the last link in the supply chain for aeronautic parts production.
Demand is already high and we regularly receive requests for our services. We are a small team of five people and expect to grow to up to 20 in the next five years but we do not need large teams to manage our processes. Automatization has allowed us to hire very specialized crews and avoid increasing operational costs.
Q: What added value do you TTT offer clients in Mexico?
A: We were awarded the AS 9100 certification in 2015, with which we hope to gain contracts with OEMs based in Mexico and expand our treatments beyond testing. Two furnaces are already installed in our Queretaro facilities representing a €2 million (US$2.2 million) investment. Another will arrive shortly as we expand the laboratory’s equipment.
There are very few companies that manage special processes for aeronautics in Mexico and even fewer in Queretaro. Heat treatment adds flexibility, strength and resistance to parts and requires precision to guarantee the quality of aircraft pieces. Our heat and superficial treatment operations dominate the local market because we are specialists in these processes. Before our arrival heat treatment had to be carried out in the US, implying elevated transportation costs significantly. There are similar companies in Chihuahua and Sonora but the logistics to reach those states is not as straightforward.
Q: What challenges have you overcome in terms of logistics and infrastructure?
A: We have taken advantage of the existing infrastructure but there is a need for greater development. A direct link to Mexico City and the capital’s airport would benefit the cluster as a whole. If we could travel and transport goods more easily between states and specifically aero clusters, we would see a significant improvement in the industry.
Q: How does Grupo TTT, Aeroprocess TTT’s parent company, support and influence your company’s expansion plans?
A: The group as a whole manages 23 different technologies, all of which are approved and certified by NADCAP for the aeronautics sector. In Mexico, we started with heat treatments but we manage other processes at different locations such as cryogenic treatments, carburizing, carbonitriding, shot peening, chroming and high-velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) spraying. We grow according to market needs, so we have to consider what is lacking in the market before we decide to either add more technologies or introduce something completely new. Globally we employ 170 people and the group registers turnover of €20 million (US$22.3 million) per year.
ITP was a client of ours in Spain and we continue to work with them here. Eaton is also supporting our company because they share our need to develop the supply chain in Mexico, to meet their forging and machining needs.
Q: What alliances are you planning with local entities to boost technological development?
A: Our Mexican plant supports innovations coming from our headquarters in Spain and we hope to create local alliances with universities to generate new ideas for engines and landing gears. Every piece requires a special process and we rely heavily on our technology centers to develop new technologies and applications. The advantage of being part of a group means that we can adapt either here or at our headquarters to offer a variety of treatments.
We believe that Aeroprocess TTT could attract other companies to the area. In light of our experience and the trust awarded to us by our clients, we are confident we will continue to grow. Following the new NADCAP certification to our product portfolio, growth should be even easier to achieve.