Raw Materials a Hurdle in AerospaceThu, 12/01/2016 - 11:05
Q: What is Gonzalez Aerospace’s main competitive advantage?
A: Gonzalez Aerospace has many different services, all of which are AWS and ISO certified. Some worth highlighting are laser tracker measurements and machining, design and fabrication services. A key characteristic of Gonzalez Aerospace, which sets us apart from the competition, is the constant training our employees receive so we can continue to be the best option in the market. Laser tracking measurement is one of our main strengths. While many companies perform these measurements, most only provide an informed report of necessary repairs, Gonzalez Aerospace is able to perform these repairs on instruction.
Q: In which ways does your design division represent a competitive advantage?
A: Our design division uses CATIA V5, Solidworks, BobCAD, AutoCad and MasterCAM licenses. Most aerospace companies have their own design divisions and only require these specific services when they have a demand spike. For instance, three years ago we developed a project with a customer who required five CATIA designers. However, the project started with only two, then reduced to one before eventually cancelling the project entirely. For that reason, we decided to develop our own design division.
As part of our service, we have developed a unique and registered project management software internally, which gives access to a design from any location worldwide. Aerospace projects are collaborative projects from all over the world and managers at different locations often require real-time access to the fabrication progress. This software allows instant access from all over the world to up to date information and operates alongside a different project called Four Clicks. This service grants simple access to the specifics of the most complex projects with a maximum of four clicks and has been extremely well received by clients.
Q: What are the greatest challenges of machining and manufacturing aerospace components in Mexico?
A: Our production in Mexico is divided into 90 percent aerospace and 10 percent automotive. One of the greatest challenges in aerospace is acquiring raw materials. While it is simple to find the most frequently used materials for machining, aerospace requires significantly more complex alloys. Local companies have to pay freight costs to import these materials, transport them and then again to export the final product. Competitors in the US and Canada are much closer to suppliers and thus save considerably on transportation.
Some companies become interested in Mexico as a lowcost manufacturing country but the cost of machining one part is the same here as in Canada or any other country because the cost of the equipment is almost equal in any country. For large numbers of pieces requiring extensive welding, cutting and tooling, Mexico is more cost-effective. This is not the case for tools and pieces that require low labor and a lot of standard components as their manufacturing costs are similar to those in the US and Canada due to the costs of importing raw materials.
Q: What is Gonzalez Aerospace’s next step to consolidate itself here?
A: We will strengthen our Aerospace division with new machining services, including new CNC machining centers and a boring mill. We are strengthening our internal processes to continue providing high-quality products and services. Our goal is to continue developing and offering fully comprehensive and integrated services. Every single step of our process is closely monitored and documented, allowing us to be aware of everything that happens to any given product. At this point we are competing for a large tender which will allow Gonzalez Aerospace to grow in many areas, including personnel.
This year we are expanding our Mexican operations as we are going to target the automotive industry more. This does not mean that we will be putting aerospace aside, but that we are interested in capitalizing on our 40 years of experience in the automotive sector which is extremely strong in Mexico. Furthermore, we already possess the appropriate technology and expertise to tackle it.