Itziar Larrañaga
Director General
Aeroprocess TTT

Spanish Company Certified to Help Local Aerospace

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 13:45

The growth of Queretaro’s aerospace sector has created new needs that can be addressed by small local companies performing processes and treatments locally to reduce transportation costs and boost competitiveness. TTT Group, a Spanish company that specializes in heat treatments, is bringing these services to Queretaro under the name Aeroprocess TTT.

“Logistics used to be too expensive because there was no company here that could provide the required heat treatments. The parts had to be outsourced to the US and brought back to Mexico,” says Itziar Larrañaga, Director General of Aeroprocess TTT. “Providing this process locally saves companies a lot of money. Aeroprocess TTT has the necessary services, quality and accreditations to provide these services, she adds."

TTT Group has over 50 years of experience in heat and surface treatments. The company is a leader in Spain, Larrañaga says, and is increasing its market share in France. The group is made up of four companies, each specializing in a different process: vacuum heat treatments, cryogenic treatments, HVOF and hard chrome. The main customers for these processes are in the aerospace and automotive industries but the company also has operations in machine tools, capital goods, oil and gas, among others. In Queretaro, the company operates as Aeroprocess TTT and specializes in the aerospace and automotive industries. Aeroprocess TTT has had the AS 9100 certification for heat treatments since 2015 and in September 2016 the company acquired the Nadcap certification for the same process. Larrañaga says that the investment to improve the company’s procedures has placed it in a favorable position in the local aerospace sector.

"As Mexico becomes less reliant on the US, its manufacturing sectors are moving faster," says Larrañaga. According to El Financiero, the aerospace industry in the region has grown 17 percent on an annual basis since 2007. In 2016, Queretaro attracted 45 percent of Mexico’s total foreign direct investment for aerospace. Yet, there are still hurdles to overcome. “Since the beginning of 2017, Queretaro has faced an economic slowdown that affected our automotive

division,” says Larrañaga. In 2016, the company had no invoicing for aerospace but from the beginning of 2017 it has been incorporating aerospace customers. Now, its aerospace operations represent 15 percent of all operations. Overall, Aeroprocess TTT has grown 40 percent in Mexico.

"The aerospace sector is a long-term investment because certifications must be approved by OEMs, a process that can take a long time," says Larrañaga. TTT Group handles 23 different processes developed according to its clients’ needs and Aeroprocess TTT is planning to continue expanding, adding more certifications and installing new technologies.

“The vision of Juan Carlos Corral, president of Queretaro Aerocluster, has been excellent. We are now part of the cluster’s board for local aerospace SMEs. We work with the cluster and receive support from the government of Queretaro,” says Larrañaga. Aeroprocess TTT also belongs to Querétaro Aerosme’s S.C., a network of seven aerospace SMEs. According to ProMéxico, the network is one of 12 new business groups created as part of an International Promotion Program called Export Network Manager (REDEX). Members of REDEX come from all parts of Mexico and export worldwide. Aerosme's S.C. also works in the US and offers several services for the aerospace industry, including machining, laser cutting, heat treatments, engineering, design and composites.

Larrañaga says Queretaro will grow much more as local manufacturers push other companies to enter the state and acquire industry accreditation. However, these companies also require an investment program that will allow them to adapt their entire systems to the needs of OEMs. She compares the aerospace sector in Queretaro to that in Spain’s Basque Country, which went from zero to a steady multibillion-dollar industry in just 25 years. Larrañaga credits this growth to the trust that has developed between large companies and SMEs. “The industry is starting to trust small companies. When the latter start operations, they lack knowledge but this changes in time. We now work with big companies like Safran, ITP, Aernnova, which know we can do an excellent job.”