A Pause To Breathe and RecconectFri, 12/01/2017 - 13:28
Products for the aerospace sector are designed according to a key truth: keep weight and volume low, while ensuring reliability and quality. Cables are no exception to the rule. Queretaro-based Axon’ Interconex has followed that axiom with success, introducing products for aerospace applications among others, but a general slowdown in local manufacturing has led the company to take a moment to tweak its processes.
“Our aerospace division manufactures cables for harnesses and cockpit equipment,” says Beatriz Aguilar, General Manager of Axon’ Interconex. Cables used in airplanes manage high frequencies and data rates while ensuring reliability, electromagnetic protection and resistance to low temperatures at high altitude. Above the Karman line, conditions become much harsher. This line, set at 100km above sea level, represents the boundary between the atmosphere and space, where cables for satellites and space shuttles have to tolerate even lower temperatures and higher radiation levels. “Because of these characteristics, manufacturing them involves a very artisanal process.”
“We work with Picocoax® wires, tiny cables that compromise between a very small diameter (e.g. 0.20mm) and a capacitance of 50 to 100pF/m, meaning their thickness is less than that of a human hair. Axon’ Cable, a specialist in interconnect solutions, has wide expertise in the manufacturing of coaxial cables and harnesses for applications where a large number of signals have to be transmitted with no interference.”
Axon’ Interconex supplies the automotive, electronics, aerospace and energy industries. The Queretaro division sells to different OEMs established in Mexico, local research centers and Mexican UAV manufacturers. Based on demand and a positive reception, the company is investing in Queretaro. “We have moved operations from our foreign offices into Mexico, which has allowed us to streamline our processes.” says Aguilar. Axon’ Interconex was established to serve Axon’s customers in the US and Mexico with a competitive labor rate and proven quality.
The company’s work with the aerospace industry is not limited to airplanes. “We are working with a Mexican drone manufacturer that is well-positioned due to its work with the Mexican Air Force, among other drone startups,” says Aguilar.
Axon’ Interconex is also looking beyond the skies. “We are working closely with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and several academic institutions to develop electronics for the space sector,” says Aguilar. Through its work with AEM, the company plans to generate regulations for harnesses and their parts. Alongside the agency, it also participated in ProMéxico’s Plan Órbita 2.0 (Orbit Plan 2.0), which aims to strengthen the Mexican space sector. The plan was developed under the triple helix collaborative model. Axon’ is participating in the tender for the construction of platforms for the new satellites required by the Mexican government and is developing another astronautics project with an academic center. “These many projects reflect a wish to diversify our services.”
Diversity is especially important now. Queretaro is facing a period of uncertainty in its manufacturing sector and orders did not grow as expected, explains Aguilar. In the meantime, Axon’ Interconex will be internally restructured to allow it to remain strong. “This period will affect costs throughout the supply chain so we had to review our processes to avoid raising our prices,” says Aguilar. She expects this internal restructuring, which includes training and process revision, will allow the company to weather the slowdown until the market bounces back. The timing, however, is opportune. “In 2017, ISO standards were updated. Slower demand will give us time to invest in renovating these processes.”
Axon’ Interconex’s goal is to continue focusing on the generation of new projects. “We are now increasing our capacities, such as moulding, overmoulding, stamping, mechatronic components, assemblies, wire pines, interconnect pin headers or nanotechnologies,” says Aguilar. The company is confident of its future and is investing in restructuring its operations. “We will focus on increasing sales by ensuring we maintain our high-quality standards.”