Modernization Can Boost Productivity, Lead to Better DecisionsBy Alejandro Salas | Fri, 03/29/2019 - 05:00
Ancient industrial machines, difficult access to credit and a lack of well-trained operators are only a few of the issues that hamper the development of Mexico’s industrial sector, not to mention the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies. Rafael López, Technical Manager for Tooling at Mexican industrial equipment and tooling distributor DISMA, says it is not a matter of Mexican companies not wanting to adopt new machines but that the country’s market conditions make it hard for metal-mechanic companies to evolve.
“The average age of Mexico’s industrial machines is between 20 and 25 years,” says López. “Mexican manufacturing companies remain in business with old, fully mechanical machines, so imagine what they could do with advanced, digitalized equipment.”
López points to presses, benders and turret-punching machines as the main areas of opportunity for Mexican metal-mechanic companies to acquire high-tech industrial equipment. The main challenges these companies face to acquire new equipment is a lack of access to competitive credit to purchase new equipment. “Clients may want the machine but lack the financing capacity to purchase it,” he says. “Government incentives could play a key role in helping Mexican industrial businesses acquire the new manufacturing technologies they need.”
To support potential customers in this conundrum, DISMA works with its machine suppliers to offer greater payment flexibility and partners with financial institutions like BanRegio and Banorte to lease its industrial equipment at competitive interest rates. “These strategies help metal-mechanic companies to access the opportunities that technology offers, create jobs and new opportunities for workers,” López says.
In terms of tooling, López says DISMA must import its equipment from Italy because the specialty steels and processes needed to produce high-precision bending machines do not exist in the country yet. “For Mexico to develop a solid tooling equipment supplier base, the country needs to develop its own engineering metals,” he says.
DISMA bets on product availability, talent training and technical service to stand out in the Mexican industrial equipment market and support its customers. Despite the financial cost that keeping inventories entails, having available equipment enables DISMA to swiftly respond to market needs. In terms of talent, the company covers the existing gap in the country by training machine operators in areas such as installation, maintenance and operation of a machine as an added-value service to its customers. “The seminars that DISMA offers at client companies’ facilities help customers make the best of their machine,” López says.
Service and maintenance is also a big part of that and DISMA makes an effort to send a service crew within 24 hours after a machine failure is reported, which helps clients resume production swiftly. “All machines fail at some point,” says López. “Companies need to know that there will be spare parts and technicians who can troubleshoot any issue and get machines back in operation.” The company also offers systems that connect directly to its clients’ machines allowing DISMA to monitor their performance over the internet and troubleshoot remotely.
As Industry 4.0 permeates the industry, Lopez points out that industrial businesses are looking for digital features like CNC capacity when replacing older machines. DISMA focuses on promoting the adoption of Industry 4.0 practices and technologies by adding increasingly digitalized technologies to its product portfolio. “We educate clients on the advantages that Industry 4.0 can provide,” says López. “An increasingly digitalized industry can empower decision-makers to make better calls in real time to improve their companies’ operations.” For instance, a multinational company with manufacturing operations based in Mexico, headquarters in London, a financial department in France and its design area in Italy can interconnect all these locations so data on all these areas is visible, allowing better decision-making.
Sustainability is also a key element in the factory of the future and DISMA’s new machines offer several energy-saving features through the use of electronic servomotors that do not require hydraulic oil. “This enables companies to only operate the machine when needed rather than keeping it on for the 16 hours that two shifts last,” says López. This translates to operational advantages, including more effective investments, reduced waste, greater productivity and greater quality in metallic products.
Although the automotive industry only accounts for 10 percent of DISMA’s client portfolio, the company expects the arrival of recent automotive investments to provide opportunities in the medium to long term. “We mainly support Tier 3 suppliers with industrial equipment for metal transformation and tooling products,” says López. Once automotive suppliers start requiring maquila service from third parties, DISMA will more easily supply its technology, machines and tools to the automotive industry.