Jesús González Hernández
Director General
View from the Top

Adapting Industry 4.0 to Innovative Endeavors

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 15:02

Q: How is CIDESI integrating new automation and advanced manufacturing processes?

A: Industry 4.0 is the global trend leading the industry and we align our efforts with this concept. CONACYT also has strict instructions to develop and integrate technology, which we must follow to support national companies. The government and CONACYT have implemented Long- lasting Research Programs (PILAs) to incentivize research in Mexico and CIDESI is coordinating two investigative projects focused on Energy and Advanced Manufacturing. Consortiums created by CONACYT among research centers with similar vocational goals provided CIDESI with the opportunity to lead advanced manufacturing and hydrocarbon ventures. We support Mexico’s transition from a traditional manufacturing scheme. The country is ranked the sixth most-attractive manufacturing location, but to remain competitive we must delve into intelligent manufacturing processes.

Q: How is Mexico evolving in technology development strategies and its relationship with the US?

A: Mexico is participating in technology development initiatives with several countries. CIDESI, in particular, is collaborating with the US government in Binational Intelligent Manufacturing Initiatives, part of a program created by former US President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2013.

The program focuses on sharing best practices in intelligent manufacturing developments. Few companies are betting on intelligent manufacturing practices but some players are making this a priority, and local governments are supporting these initiatives. Nuevo Leon is a perfect example, where three major companies have established a goal to transform their entire manufacturing platform to an intelligence-based system by 2020.

Additive manufacturing solutions are another cornerstone for the industry’s development. High-value industries like automotive and aerospace no longer consider simply manufacturing components as effective and are considering re-engineering activities to restore used parts  and increase their useful lifecycle. CIDESI is focusing on hybrid manufacturing systems that can incorporate additive solutions with traditional production techniques.

CIDESI also has an interest in electronics development. We manufacture components for Texas Instruments that allow companies to connect their operations to the Cloud. These are essential to make the internet of Things a reality for industrial operations, connecting with all other intelligent manufacturing developments. We began micro- electromechanical (MEM) component production in May 2017, which will give companies a much more cost-effective alternative when needed for custom-made applications. We will be the only player in the country with MEM manufacturing capabilities, including design, simulation, optimization and production operations.

Q: What projects is CIDESI developing under the Innovation Stimuli Program (PEI)?

A: As the leading center in PEI, 46 percent of the projects we supported were related to intelligent manufacturing. Approximately 50 projects fell into this category, including automation projects, human-machine interfaces and collaborative robots. This resulted in an investment of over MX$44,300 (US$2,514). Early in 2017, we delivered a collaborative-robot assembly platform for Ford starter engines capable of manufacturing one component every 17 seconds, differentiating between four different types of starters.

The PEI budget was cut by 30 percent in 2017 and CONACYT approved only 26 projects for CIDESI in intelligent manufacturing. This year, these initiatives account for approximately 25 percent of the number of programs supported by CONACYT and Big Data, SCADA, mobile applications and software will support the growth of intelligent and sustainable manufacturing practices.