Taking on the Industry with a Strong TeamFri, 09/01/2017 - 14:51
Mexico stands out in the global industry as a manufacturing hub with distinct benefits in terms of labor costs and logistics, but it has not moved past this image in the eyes of many companies. There are players that strive to change this situation and put Mexico on the map as a competitive region in terms of design and engineering. CIM Co. is one of these companies, distributing 3D optical scanning equipment for reverse engineering and metrology, CAD and CAM software and offering reverse engineering services to companies looking to provide added value to their clients. 3D scanning precisely captures the topology of a part or tool and reverse engineering can help manufacturers understand how worn-out molds, tools and dies are made to enhance or reconstruct them.
The idea behind CIM Co.’s value proposition was to offer a way for clients to analyze components and tooling equipment, detecting potential flaws while reducing costs and time. After 16 years working in reverse engineering, CIM Co. has collaborated on projects with OEMs and direct suppliers located in Mexico, US, Italy, Spain, China and Brazil and smaller projects in other European and Asian countries. The company has helped them evaluate their processes and improve parts such as cylinder heads, engine blocks, complex plastic components and lateral body panels, as well as turbine parts, housings and blades for aerospace companies.
Since 2001, CIM Co. has been the distributor of the GOM brand in Mexico, focused on software and equipment for 3D measuring and testing. “Changes in technology from tactile to optical required us to break paradigms. When the industry standard was contact-measuring equipment, we were among the first to apply scanning technology to reverse engineering processes in Mexico,” says Hans Schwerdt, Managing Director of CIM Co. “After benchmarking GOM as the brand and CIM Co. as the provider, we convinced customers to switch to our new optical 3D-scanning technology." The company installed its first GOM system at an OEM and a Tier 1 in 2003 and 14 years later, it became the main 3D optical scanner provider, with installations in all OEMs in Mexico.
Schwerdt says that one of the main reasons that CIM Co. stands out in the market is its outlay on training and talent development focused on understanding how its metrology equipment works. “We like to invest in our people, not just in theoretical knowledge but in practical applications. Because of that, we can compete with any GOM distributor globally,” he says.
The company stays true to its goals and the idea that a good team is the basis for growth. “The best equipment without people who know how to operate it, is useless,” says Muganes Musharrafie, Project Manager of CIM Co. The company has 39 employees in Mexico. “International companies tend to work with partners that have the same cultural background, but we have used our competitive advantages to acquire business with OEMs and Tier 1s from several countries,” he says.
Schwerdt and Musharrafie agree that Mexico could explore design and engineering activities much more. President Enrique Peña Nieto set the country a goal of investing 1 percent of the national GDP in science, technology and innovation activities by 2018, from the current 0.5 percent invested. “Most design and engineering takes place at the company’s headquarters and Mexico is pushing to develop training programs and experience to grow from a maquila industry into engineering that adds value,” Musharrafie says.
Musharrafie adds that the country should work on improving initiatives like the dual-education program that has been successful for German companies. “I would like to see more initiatives like the dual-education program to develop industry practice and skills before students enter the job market.” He highlights an opportunity for the education system to promote initiatives involving students in the industry parallel to their studies as part of their curriculum.
CIM Co. has ambitious development plans in the automotive industry and other sectors. The company is negotiating several projects outside Mexico for new investments yet to be announced. “We are currently focused 70 percent on the automotive industry,” Musharrafie says.