Molds, Dies the Path to Fewer ImportsBy Alejandro Salas | Fri, 03/29/2019 - 05:00
Molds and dies are necessary to transform metal or plastic into finished automotive components. Automotive companies based in Mexico tend to procure these components from abroad and Heinz Ulb, Director of Engineering and Sales at BIG KAISER, says this hampers the development of Mexico’s tooling market. “Most companies tend to purchase tooling equipment in Portugal, China, Spain, Germany and the US,” he says. “Mexico has the capacity to produce more of these components but users based in the country need to trust local suppliers.”
According to Ulb, the hope of finding a better price leads companies away from local suppliers, which in some cases means sacrificing local aftersales support and market development in the tooling area. “Aside from unfair competition and corporate corruption, imports are the largest obstacles harming the Mexican tooling equipment sector,” he says.
As a Japanese-based supplier of high-precision tooling equipment with more than 70 years of experience, BIG KAISER designs, manufactures and repairs cutting-edge tooling equipment for various advanced-manufacturing sectors. “The automotive industry represents 30 percent of BIG KAISER’s operations in Mexico. The rest is divided between the aerospace, construction, agribusiness, electronics and medical sectors,” says Ulb. The company is present in the country’s main automotive hubs, such as Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, the Bajio region and central Mexico, where SMEs account for 60 percent of its client portfolio.
According to Ulb, the company’s main objective is solving its clients’ machining issues with a strong focus on quality and precision. “Our products can increase our clients’ productivity while also reducing machine downtime,” he says. “At the end of the day, companies pay attention to the cost of producing each part and constantly look for ways to become more productive and efficient.”
Ulb says the company’s ISO 9001:2015 certification helps it assure clients that there is a quality management system in place backing the company’s products and services. Coupled with on-the-line tests at potential clients’ plants, the company can guarantee the high performance of its tooling products. “Purchasing tooling equipment is a long-term investment and companies will not go for equipment that does not perform as promised,” he says. These tests help convince potential clients of the advantages of adopting BIG KAISER’s equipment.
BIG KAISER’s R&D operations and aftersales services help BIG KAISER differentiate in the competitive industrial equipment market, where players usually stick to selling molds and dies. “BIG KAISER constantly invests in innovation, promoting the development of Industry 4.0 technology,” Ulb says. In terms of connectivity, BIG KAISER has added Bluetooth capabilities to its equipment and now uses auto-adjusting boring equipment, for instance.
The company expects to reach growth of 5-10 percent in Mexico in 2019 after achieving double-digit growth in sales in 2018. “The arrival of Toyota to Guanajuato represents several opportunities for BIG KAISER to grow, especially since many Japanese companies will set up shop in the region to support these new operations,” says Ulb. “Japanese companies tend to support each other, so when new suppliers land to support Toyota, new opportunities will emerge.”
In the meantime, BIG KAISER is investing in strengthening its sales force by hiring new staff and partnering with new distributors. The company’s expansion plans include opening a new office in either the State of Mexico or Queretaro to remain close to current and potential clients. “BIG KAISER wants a compact, yet highly efficient distribution network that delivers solid results,” Ulb says.