Carlos Morteral
General Manager

Rise of Avant-Garde Manufacturing Technology

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 14:07

The adoption of avant- garde manufacturing technology has spread across a wide range of industries, with automotive being no exception. Emerging markets like Mexico have begun to distinguish themselves due to the rise in demand and consumption of advanced their automotive sectors.  The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), with 112 years of experience, has witnessed the evolution of Mexico into one of the largest export destinations for manufacturing technology for the US. Mexico’s proximity to the US means it has acquired a 90% market share for such equipment, amounting to approximately US$3.5 billion of manufactured technology in a range of applications. Carlos Morteral, General Manager of AMT, traces the manufacturing relationship between the US and Mexico back to the 1960s, when the Mexican manufacturing industry began to bloom. “The US industry was among the first to invest and show interest in Mexico back in the 1960s and 1970s, creating a long-term preference which AMT had made its best effort to maintain and nurture.” A competitive advantage Mexico has developed by being a primary consumer of manufacturing technology is the country’s familiarity with both imperial and metric standards. This means that blueprint readings, systems, and programming of controls are simplified.

As Mexico continues to rise as a global industrial player, while the NAFTA region continues to dominate as a consumer market, Morteral predicts sophistication will rise in manufacturing processes. “AMT has seen a lot of interest from Mexican companies in investing in manufacturing technology,” he says. This was made evident at Chicago’s annual International Manufacturing Technology Show, where the largest international delegation was Mexican. “This reflects Mexico’s desire to seek new technology and go further in the understanding of sophisticated systems.” Furthermore, 40% of the consumption of machine manufacturing technology that enters Mexico goes to the automotive industry. As a result, between 2012 and 2013, the consumption of manufacturing technology increased by 10% and Morteral expects to see this grow by 15% in 2014.

Despite there being more automated and sophisticated systems entering the Mexican market, there is still a long road ahead to reach full integration. “Sourcing local components in Mexico is an attribute to be fostered that will promote the adoption of more technology. Local Tier 1 and 2 companies trying to become global players can become so by implementing the right level of technology to meet the expectations of international customers,” Morteral points out. The idea of Mexico hosting more technological capacity has strengthened in AMT’s agenda through the Manufacturing Process Advisory Board initiative. “The board meets every six to eight months, gathering plant managers and presidents of international and domestic companies from a wide range of industries to discuss sourcing plans and the further integration of parts and components,” he explains. These meetings have also borne witness to an evolution of Mexican industry. The traditional industrial background of Mexico has tended to be in the northeastern states. However, the recent boom in the central regions has led AMT to begin promoting business development tour focusing on places like Irapuato, Silao, and Queretaro to generate the adoption of technology in the plethora of manufacturing operations emerging there.