Increased Focus on R&D from the OutsetTue, 09/01/2015 - 17:32
The Center of Engineering and Industrial Development (CIDESI) is a public R&D center that was set up by CONACYT in 1984. Headquartered in Queretaro, the institute has centers in Nuevo Leon, the State of Mexico and Baja California, offering postgraduate programs that are accredited by the National Registry of Postgraduate Programs (PNPC) with a focus on science and technology. Within this program, students can choose between a variety of fields, including mechatronics, manufacturing, energy or advanced materials.
Collaborating with the science and technology industry in Mexico is the main focus of the center, as well as working with industrial sectors like automotive, aerospace, and energy. CIDESI is one of the most innovative and wellequipped centers in the country in terms of system automation and mechatronics, and supports companies with projects that allow increased competition and global visibility. Due to CIDESI’s expertise on the subject, 40% of the postgraduate students related to R&D processes have a connection with manufacturing, making it the most popular subject in the center. In terms of complementary disciplines, applicants for mechatronics constitute about 60% of the students, with design and mechanical systems development representing close to 30%, and the remaining 10% focusing on other fields.
CIDESI’s specialized services laboratories have more than 100 people working within 13 calibration magnitudes in Queretaro, Tijuana, and Nuevo Leon, as well as four inspection and testing laboratories in Queretaro. As the second most capable metrology center in the country, just after CENAM in Queretaro, CIDESI has the most precise equipment in Mexico, which is regularly capitalized by the automotive industry. More than 10,000 annual metrology services are offered for almost 1,200 companies, a third of which are in the automotive sector. Furthermore, the center provides an exclusive metrology team for GM’s facilities in Silao. “We have competitors in other metrology companies, but we are much better equipped than them, albeit more expensive,” admits the center’s Director General, Dr. Jesús González Hernández. Last year, CIDESI offered its services to PEMEX for US$5 million, which was a price PEMEX was willing to pay in recognition of the level of quality CIDESI provides. Some companies are willing to pay 20% more, with the knowledge that the experience and skills of CIDESI’s personnel are among the best in the country. The center has developed strong testing capabilities, with autonomous instruments controlled by high precision telematics that can detect virtually any problem. Its calibration and testing laboratories have highly specialized personnel in each of the technical areas, providing support through open courses and specialized training. Likewise, students can acquire this knowledge and these skills through programs that CIDESI implements in partnership with educational institutions. In addition to the specialized services, the calibration and testing laboratories provide advisory services in each area of expertise, as well as accreditation and laboratory certification. Other services CIDESI offers include method development and validation, laboratory facility design, software development for quality control and certainty measurement, as well as certification of personnel in nondestructive testing methods.
One of CIDESI’s measures of success was the increased workforce from 200 to almost 500 since 2012. Around 60% of the employees are paid out of revenue generated from contracts, with 70% of the budget spent each year coming from the private sector, and 30% from the federal government. Government funding is awarded for a number of reasons, including publishing papers and degree certifications, as well as supporting micron and small companies. In terms of future initiatives, the center recently made an agreement with Balzers, a leading German company in the area of coatings. CIDESI will develop and provide solutions, with Balzers, subsequently moving the finished products toward commercialization. Another area of development is in the fabrication of MEMs. Although CIDESI already designs micro electro-mechanical systems, the center lacks the ability to produce them in-house. However, the center has secured US$7 million in funding for the development of this technology and expects to begin production in 2017.
Finally, with another investment of over US$7 million, the center has recently broken ground on a new center in Campeche. This project is designed to support the industry with the necessary equipment for the inspection, exploration, and development of wells, and will provide employment for at least 40 development R&D staff. Construction will be carried out in two stages, covering 7,000m2 and 1,200m2 respectively. The building is set to have five levels that will house the administrative staff, investigators, and engineers, as well as sports complexes and three applied R&D laboratories.