Importance of Industry Collaboration with AcademiaTue, 09/01/2015 - 15:22
Q: What have been Mahr’s major achievements and challenges within the automotive industry in Mexico?
A: We have had a presence in Mexico since 1996, and the company’s headquarters are aware that Mexico is an important market that should be significantly impacted. Excluding 2009, we have experienced double-digit growth over the past eight years. Although we are a subsidiary of Mahr Germany, we do not have calibration laboratories or other important infrastructure within Mexico. Even so, by 2016 we expect to build the calibration laboratory, which will probably be located in Monterrey in order to benefit from its close proximity to the US border, as well as the OEMs near the territory. Eight years ago, resellers and distributors did not trust the brand, despite being a German, high-precision technology provider. However, this is no longer an issue, so my projection is that from now on we will grow at a faster pace.
Q: To what extent has Mahr been able to advance the establishment of metrology programs at universities such as ITESM and the University of Nuevo Leon?
A: We have been working with the University of Nuevo Leon’s Faculty of Electro Mechanic Engineering (FIME). Additionally, through one of our engineers who works as a professor at ITESM, we are starting to develop a relationship with the institute in order to sponsor and provide some of Mahr’s tools. Finally, we have also been working with the Technological Institute of Nuevo Leon, and although it is a small university, we consider it to be equally as important to establish these links. The Industry Chamber of Nuevo Leon (CAINTRA) is organizing networking meetings with local companies and universities, where Mahr is going to have the opportunity to approach young students in order to be part of a potential internship. Right now we have six interns, mostly coming from the University of Nuevo Leon, and we look forward to continuing to develop that program.
Q: With Mahr’s headquarters in Germany working on new market trends, such as nanotechnology, green manufacturing, and intelligent materials, how much of this focus is then trickled down into your Mexican operations?
A: Mahr’s R&D centers are solely in Germany, boasting a team of approximately 100 people. They are carrying forward the development of technologies, but they do not distribute any new technology into foreign markets until it is ready. Nevertheless, we have brought in new products in 2015 that are mainly focused on optic technology, which is one of the areas the company is most interested in. With this in mind, we are working with Mexican optic centers that have a relationship with universities, but we are still in the early stages. Mahr has also been acquiring companies that are focused on this technology, as well as on measuring automation technology. Mahr Germany also works alongside the University of Göttingen on their R&D programs. Once the project reaches a certain level, it is pulled into the company’s centers for further development, and thereafter it is launched onto the market.
Q: What have been the main technological advancements in the metrology side of the business?
A: While most of our equipment is contact based, we are now offering non-contact equipment that utilizes vision cameras, lasers, and refraction technology. Through our development processes, we are attempting to increase the accuracy of our products while reducing their cost. We know that Mahr is not the only company that is doing this, but we are working toward being the best. The longevity of Mahr’s market presence gives us an advantage since it infers experience and stability, as well as generating domestic and global support. Although some of our competitors have been in the Mexican market longer than we have, companies are starting to realize that the durability, reliability, usage, spare part availability, and support in our products give us an edge, further developing trust in our brand. Some people within our industry believe that producing machinery with such longevity is bad for business, but this approach has been beneficial for our customers, just as ZF Sachs, FAMOSA, and others can confirm. We have five main focuses on dimensional metrology, including length, roughness, form, control and optics. Universities sometimes offer technical symposiums through FIME, and Mahr gives brand and technical presentations. As a result, we can show them dimensional metrology’s current position and its future development.