Driving force of Innovation Across R&D and ManufacturingTue, 09/01/2015 - 14:12
Q: How is Delphi currently serving the Mexican automotive industry, and what opportunities has the company recently seized?
A: Delphi Mexico currently operates 41 manufacturing plants, three technical centers and employs 59,000 people in Mexico across 12 states, and our clients are some of the largest commercial vehicle assembly companies in the world. In Mexico, Delphi produces more than 13 million pieces every day, and ships more than 20 million components to over 8,000 client installations all over the world. All shipments are achieved with 99.5% punctuality and fewer than two parts per million are rejected by our clients. This has been possible thanks to the implementation of the Delphi Manufacturing System, which has been credited with several awards from both the private industry and the authorities.
Our products can be categorized in three central trends, namely driving safety, green components for managing fuel efficiency, and products for internal and external communications. Most of our customers are based outside of Mexico, especially Tier 2 providers supplied by Delphi. However, we have a group of development specialists that encourage providers to establish facilities in Mexico, which still has plenty of room to grow in terms of manufacturing and logistics. This would ultimately benefit Delphi as much as our clients and the locality.
Q: What is the main focus of Delphi’s three technical centers in Ciudad Juarez, Saltillo, and Queretaro, and what have been their flagship achievements?
A: The technical center in Ciudad Juarez is the largest Delphi center in the world. With approximately 1,000 engineers, it has registered 300 patents and has more than 1,000 registered inventions. The proximity to several of our assembly plants, as well as the proximity to the US, has facilitated client visits on the occasions that they need to assess the development of their products in our laboratories. To address this, the center in Saltillo is specialized in creating diverse connectors for communication systems in vehicles. The evolution of electric and electronic systems in vehicles today has meant that connectivity between all the elements in a vehicle is vital to functionality. Finally, the center based in Queretaro is specialized in software development for the Delphi Electronics and Safety division, and has consequently formed a successful alliance with Condumex, which is part of the Carso Group.
Q: How is Mexico collaborating in the development of autonomous technologies, and how would you change this technology to make it more approachable in the domestic market?
A: The autonomous vehicle (AV) developed by Delphi was designed with diverse technology, which, to a lesser or greater extent, is already being used in modern vehicles. This is truly a reflection of the three aforementioned tendencies in which Delphi is currently involved. The Delphi AV was able to cross the US from San Francisco to New York completely automated 99% of the time. For this to be a marketable reality, laws would have to be adjusted regarding vehicle transit and infrastructure in cities and on highways, which would need to be adapted to the radars and cameras that this car requires to make decisions. The most important focus of AVs should be on accident avoidance, the technologies of which would arrive almost immediately in Mexico because of its position in North America.
Q: What new developments has Delphi made in safety, and how will R&D efforts be directed toward this area?
A: Unfortunately, Mexico still does not require the inclusion of all safety systems in every vehicle in the market. However, the measures we have identified as emerging megatrends at Delphi include active security systems, driver monitoring, battery disconnection, human-machine interfaces, and occupant classification systems. With hybrid and electric systems come new opportunities to take advantage of the whole combustion process in terms of regeneration and the use of thermoelectric materials. As a pioneer in propulsion systems for this type of vehicle, Delphi is trying to reduce the cost of electrifying the motor and the systems architecture in order to increase safety. Part of this is the development of cables and connectors to operate safely with high voltages, and software for regenerating energy via braking in hybrid cars. Delphi aims to develop the safest motor with the lowest fuel consumption. Moreover, the company is investing in innovative technologies to increase its recycling-to-waste ratio.