Jorge Cosio
General Manager of Yaskawa México
Yasawa México

Local Engineering a Value Add for Systems Integrators

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 09:46

Building and implementing automation and collaborative robot applications is no longer a game just for foreign players. As smaller, local manufacturing companies improve their processes, opportunities arise for automation companies to integrate Mexican engineering into their solutions and to target SMEs.
Jorge Cosio, General Manager of Japan-based robot supplier and technology integrator Yaskawa México, says the automotive industry’s mindset toward Mexican engineering is changing as distrust in the country’s capabilities fades away. “Competitive design and engineering processes for automotive applications can be made in Mexico,” he says.
Yaskawa México’s core business is the sale of industrial robots and integrated robotic solutions for arc welding, material handling, palletizing, adhesive and coating applications. According to Cosio, the company has achieved a strong position in the arc welding and coating segment as a medium-sized integrator. Yaskawa México is using this momentum to introduce its turnkey projects to the Mexican automotive industry. “Aside from the robots we sell, Yaskawa México adds value to its integrated offering by incorporating local engineering and proven solutions,” he says.
Cosio enumerates project management and the complicated way turnkey projects are marketed as key challenges that technology integrators face. “Project management can sometimes be difficult and integrators need to improve communication with clients and to stick to partial and final delivery dates,” he says. Yaskawa México addresses this issue by integrating local engineering. “This gives us the advantage of controlling projects from start to end,” says Cosio. “Our goal is to sell products with 50 percent local engineering content and even more when possible.”
Yaskawa México already works with several automotive OEMs with presence in Mexico. Many of these companies, as well as their main suppliers, have corporate agreements with robotics suppliers from their headquarters. “We need to offer these players appropriate service and customer support,” says Cosio. The importance of customer care in Mexico’s robot market lies in the ability to keep systems running. “Our goal is to provide fast response for robot service issues to minimize production downtime,” he underlines.
While the company wants to boost its presence in more OEM assembly plants in Mexico, smaller manufacturers are also an attractive market. Cosio says the company’ strategy to target automotive SMEs in Mexico is threefold: “We offer competitive prices, look for leverage among Mexican financial institutions and participate in the market for used robots.” Competitive prices are Yaskawa México’s strategy to close the gap between Tier 1s and OEMs that demand large robot volumes and smaller players that only buy one or two units. The company looks for support from banks willing to offer SMEs credit to buy automation solutions. “If clients lack liquidity, we bring in financial institutions that can help them,” says Cosio. In the secondary robot market, the company buys back robots with five to seven years of use from previous clients. It then refurbishes and resells them to smaller companies.
As Industry 4.0 storms into Mexico’s manufacturing industry, Yaskawa strives to include more self-diagnostic, communication and cloud capabilities to its solutions. “Yaskawa products will be able to communicate wirelessly with a network or cloud, as well as obtain robot production information and send alerts when there are problems,” says Cosio. Yaskawa expects to shake the robotics market through new products. “We will change the way robots are programmed and introduce a new solution that could represent a breakthrough in robotics,” he says. The company has already launched the CHC10 collaborative robot, which, according to Cosio, is fast for its segment and can carry up to 10kg. “This robot can increase collaboration between man and machine,” he says.
Although Yaskawa has a strong presence in the automotive sector, Cosio expects to have a balance across more sectors. The priority for the company is to grow its market share. “We need to focus on the robotic systems that are implemented in Mexico, attack the most attractive segments and reach our target users,” Cosio says.