Fabio Negrao
Director General
Atlas Copco Industrial Technique Division
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View from the Top

Mapping Out the Tooling and Assembly Needs of the Market

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 16:11

Q: Atlas Copco has different industry solution segments. Which of these interact with the Mexican automotive sector?

A: Atlas Copco’s four business areas are compressors, power tools, mining, and construction. Both Compressor Technique and Industrial Technique, which respectively deal with compressors, power tools, and assembly systems, each have a high level of interaction with the Mexican automotive industry. Additionally, within Industrial Technique, our three divisions are Motor Vehicle Industry (MVI), General Industry (GI), and Service (SCE). Globally, MVI represents half of our business and it has become a key factor to our success. Industrial Technique is present in every automotive company in Mexico supplying industrial power tools, assembly solutions, quality assurance products, software, and service. Furthermore, Atlas Copco is intimately linked to the automotive industry’s production development process.

Q: Given Atlas Copco’s extensive presence in the industry, what are your most important products for manufacturing plants?

A: Our customers are demanding advanced industrial tools and assembly systems to be equipped on new and existing assembly lines. Similarly, the motor vehicle industry has been demanding more accurate tools to minimize errors in production, enabling recording and traceability in every operation. For that reason, we have developed advanced electric industrial tools and assembly systems that assist our customers, minimizing errors and production interruptions. This also includes a large portfolio of quality assurance and quality improvement solutions. With the increasing requirements of lower fuel consumption and the use of lighter materials, the automotive industry is looking for alternative assembly solutions. To address this, Industrial Technique offers adhesive and sealant dispensing equipment, as well as self-pierce riveting machines. In terms of service, we have the capability to train our customers on how to use and repair our products, in order to obtain leaner operations. However, there is a trend among our clients to transfer their tools management operations to us. In response to this, we have developed our Tool Management Center (TMC) service to repair and calibrate tools inside our clients’ operations, focusing on reducing their mean time between failures (MTBF).

Q: How do your automotive solutions compare with solutions applied to other industries?

A: The usual requirements in the automotive sector are quality, productivity, flexibility, ergonomics, and decreased environmental impact. Additionally, there is a need for better service, know-how, and training. Power tools with electric motors are partly replacing pneumatic tools, and the demand for lower fuel consumption is leading to alternative assembly methods like adhesives and self-pierce riveting. Inside the MVI division, we have sub-segments to better understand our customers, separating the industry into the four main areas of Western final assembly, Asian final assembly, heavy truck and buses, and powertrain solutions. Western companies are much more automated, while Asian OEMs tend to work with a manual approach. Of course, this does not mean the quality output is any different. In order to be the number one supplier in its segment, Atlas Copco’s approach is to provide the most complete solution in terms of products and services, as well as being the only company that works through constructive segmented sales. We are constantly looking to transform our clients’ technology based on their specific strategies.

Q: What are Atlas Copco’s strategies in terms of innovation, compared to those of its competitors?

A: Regarding Atlas Copco’s vision and strategy, we want to be the first option for our clients when it comes to industrial power tools, assembly systems, quality assurance products, software, and services in the motor vehicle industry. Our current strategy in Mexico is to have local sales and a service center, while our entire R&D operations are based in Stockholm. Nevertheless, we have presence in 170 countries, each of which brings a valuable input to our product development process. Part of our global strategy is accomplished through key account managers that take care of each OEM’s global requirements. We have local presence in multiple plant sites around the globe, allowing us to always be one step ahead of our competitors. We know every new project these companies will launch, and we have staff closely related to the needs and culture of our clients.