Martín Toscano
President and General Manager
Evonik Industries de México
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View from the Top

Automotive Innovations Replicated in Other Industries

By Alejandro Enríquez | Mon, 08/17/2020 - 15:38

Q: What are Evonik’s solutions for the automotive industry?

A: We participate directly with OEMs and with Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies. We participate in different business segments related to the automotive industry, including coatings and additives, as well as raw materials like silica used for tire production and that helps to improve fuel efficiency in vehicles. We offer high-performance polymers, which are used in different stages of production and manufacturing, and also additives for polyurethane production employed in automotive production. Many of our projects are a collaborative effort with OEMs and Tier companies.

The automotive industry in the country represents more than 20 percent of our portfolio. Some of the projects we have developed focus on material substitution in favor of environmentally-friendly materials, circular economy initiatives, technologies and materials to make vehicles more efficient. In Mexico, we have seen major manufacturing players starting to develop new innovations. Most companies in the country are looking to create partnerships with companies like ours since our collaboration goes beyond a commercial transaction. We focus on applied technology and R&D activities in the country.

Q: What has helped Evonik introduce R&D operations to the country?

A: We receive support from our offices around the world, as well as our regional and global headquarters. Through these communications channels, we attempt to understand our role in Mexico, particularly in the automotive sector through our technologies and products. Evonik’s goal is to establish a relationship with customers, regardless of their location. Notably, the role that the Mexican automotive and manufacturing sectors play at the global level is relevant and often sets the stage for the technologies that will arrive to other sectors. Several technologies among our more than 15 business segments began in the auto industry. It is a proven recipe.

Lightweighting, for example, is important for both the automotive and aerospace sectors. Aerospace is taking a similar path as the automotive industry. Queretaro now concentrates the greatest amount of FDI in this sector, probably on global basis. The model developed by the Mexican automotive industry has transformed the country into a global production hub. There is a greater appetite to attend the needs of the market under a really strong export-oriented manufacturing sector. We have an interesting overview of what is happening in most sectors and I can confirm that most of them consider Mexico a global production hub just as the automotive industry did a few years ago. More companies are bringing new production assets into the country or transferring their operations to Mexico.

Q: Where is the automotive industry heading?

A: Mexico is part of the global automotive industry agenda. The electrification trend is coming to the country, as well as other technologies that can make vehicles more sustainable and efficient. In addition, the concept of mobility is fundamental for the industry and it will keep all companies throughout the supply chain very busy. Evonik contributes to these trends through its polymers’ division, among others. Alongside our customers, we can innovate by making vehicles structurally lighter and even more efficient.

Q: How does Evonik, as a chemicals company, ensure the sustainability of its operations?

A: We mitigate our environmental footprint through two main mechanisms. First, we are constantly improving our operations and analyzing how we can be more eco-friendly in our production processes through the use of alternative raw materials, for instance. As a German chemicals company, we take sustainability very seriously and are mindful about our environmental impact. Second, we analyze how our products make our customers’ operations more efficient and reduce their own environmental footprint. There are several examples in each of our business lines of how our products reduce the environmental impact of our client’s production processes.

A particular Mexican case in this regard was our involvement in the sanitation process of the Atoyac River in Puebla, one of the most polluted rivers in the country. Together with other companies and the government, we are setting an example of how to manage these kinds of initiatives. In the private sector, we are also working on the sanitation of small tributaries in other regions. These projects require the participation of several stakeholders to be successful.

 

Evonik is one of the world's top specialty chemicals companies. The company focuses on improving the value of its 15 business segments from automotive to animal feeding. The automotive industry represents 20 percent of the company’s portfolio

Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst