Automotive Sector Leads Robotization of Mexican IndustryBy María Fernanda Barría | Tue, 03/02/2021 - 09:21
In recent years, the automotive sector has become a primary driver of the Mexican industry’s robotization. According to data from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), 62 percent of all robots installed in Mexico are involved in the automotive value chain, followed by the plastics and chemical industries. “Many industries are opening to robotization processes in Mexico, such as consumer goods and machinery and capital goods manufacturers. It is in continuous manufacturing where we see more opportunities for automation and robotization,” Bruno Juanes, Director of Digital Transformation at Xignux, told Milenio.
According to Milton Guerry, President of the IFR, “today, the number of industrial robots working daily in factories around the world is the highest in history.” Mexico is considered an emerging market for the production and installation of industrial robots, although installation decreased by 20 percent in 2019. The country ranks ninth worldwide among countries with the most industrial robot installations per year. However, its 44 robots per 44,000 employees are still far from the more than 228 robots per 10,000 employees in the US.
Mexican automotive clusters are already focusing on the electrification and automation of the sector’s supply chain, a path that some experts say involves much more than merely installing robots. “Manufacturing 4.0 is not just about taking technology to the next level. It also involves taking employees to the next level,” said Francisco Maciel, CFO and Country Lead of Faurecia, in an interview with MBN. According to Forbes, Ford’s factories, where robots perform about 80 percent of the stamping and body fabrication, are a clear example of industry automation. When it comes to the painting process, the presence of automation equipment stands at around 40 percent.
One of the biggest challenges facing the Mexican automotive industry in terms of automation is north of the border, where President Joe Biden recently launched his Made in America program. The goal? To create more jobs by building more factories on US soil. “Our neighbor is serious about automation. President Biden’s goal is to make their industry more productive. What consequences will this bring? If we do not become competitive, we will lose opportunities for manufacturing, which represents 20 percent of Mexico’s GDP,” Juanes told to Milenio.