Nationwide Support for Automation UsersSat, 09/01/2018 - 10:28
Q: Why would a company choose to purchase its equipment through Grupo Kopar, instead of going directly to the manufacturer?
A: The main advantage we offer to clients is our national coverage and Mexican market knowledge. We have 14 branch offices in the country with vision technology, robotics and connectivity laboratories, supported by almost US$2.8 million in inventory. Our automotive clients are demanding in terms of service and maintenance and they know they are supported by our offices and our teams trained in Germany and the US.
We closely collaborate with our partner brands and we have a specialist focused on each. Our strength is market knowledge; we support our clients in their cities and adapt to their needs. Our aftersales service is completely adapted to a local environment, while at the same time being nation-wide supported. Our partner brands cannot offer that same service but we are here for our clients when they need us.
Q: How involved is Grupo Kopar in a client’s decision-making process when acquiring new automation equipment?
A: We communicate with our international and national partners right from their design phases, allowing us to be a key player in the implementation of one automation solution or another. At the same time, we are constantly working on a visits plan to our clients’ plants to identify process bottlenecks and areas where material is being wasted, that way we help both our customers and partners brands identify areas of opportunity to improve their solutions.
Our Customer Profit Reinforcement (CPR) analysis is another tool we employ to determine which solution best fits our clients’ operations. We help companies understand how their process is developing in terms of cycle times, waste and downtime, thus evaluating how much they can save with the right automation solution and how long it would take for them to see a return on their investment.
Q: What do you see as the main trends regarding automation within the automotive sector?
A: Automotive companies are under pressure to increase their competitiveness due to the economic and political environment in Mexico. We want to help them wade through these obstacles, so we must understand the latest trends in the industry, including the concept of Industry 4.0. In the metrology area, for example, companies are now realizing that it makes much more sense to have a camera connected to a robotic arm, instead of having a whole array of sensors.
Collaborative robots have also revolutionized the industry by offering an effective and cost-competitive solution with a user-friendly interface. Having a robotic solution under US$7,500 would be unthinkable in the past but now, companies like Universal Robots and EPSON are making this possible. Furthermore, while companies previously would need to bring someone from Germany or the US to their plants in other to get a project going, systems are now much more intuitive and they do not need safety equipment to operate near humans.
Q: How important has energy efficiency become for both equipment manufacturers and potential clients?
A: Most brands in our portfolio have energy efficiency as a priority in their product development process. In pneumatics, particularly, there is a huge area of opportunity to improve operations since most companies work while compensating for leaks, which eventually translate to monetary losses. Although it is hard to measure accurately, energy efficiency can represent a 20-25 percent shorter time in the return on investment. The initial investment may be higher but that is compensated over the long run, which is why energy efficiency has become a key decision-making factor for many of our clients.