Tech Era Puts More Solutions in ReachThu, 09/01/2016 - 13:00
Q: How has Fronius’ TPS/i technology impacted the automotive industry?
A: TPS/i has been wonderfully received. Guarantees on powertrains and other vital components have become essential and new ideas involve the materials we use. The US market developed a new technology for employing galvanized steel for structural components that requires unusual welding processes to protect the metal. To cater to these needs, Fronius released its TPS/i line of products, featuring an intelligent system that reacts to the properties of these materials, achieving better welding and generating higher-quality products.
Galvanized materials are essential in the manufacturing processes for vehicle parts. TPS/i applies an exact amount of heat to minimize its negative impact on zinc, without compromising the component’s strength. A number of our Mexican clients have already implemented this type of technology in their processes and, while OEMs have very specific welding requirements, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers have the most specific needs. For every welding machine found in an OEM manufacturing plant, we see 100 more at suppliers’ locations. Our highest sales volumes are with Tier 1 and 2 companies.
Q: How has Fronius integrated its solutions to meet the rising trend toward automation?
A: Fronius is flexible regarding the needs and preferences of its clients. We can adapt in terms of industrial robots that many companies work with, and to the programming tools and communication networks with which they operate. To address expressed needs, we developed a wide range of solutions. Close to 80 percent of the products that Fronius commercializes in Mexico are related to automated systems. We provide packages that allow customers to integrate automation solutions to our equipment.
Q: What steps do SMEs need to take to be part of this new automation wave?
A: Mexico’s academic system should refocus on market needs. The country is a growing automotive manufacturing hub and the government must act as the link between the industry and academia. Mexico has enough resources for the industry to succeed, but a stronger support network between technical centers, training centers, academic institutions and companies must be established. Fronius collaborates with Monterrey’s largest academic institutions and is creating a link with Puebla and Tlalnepantla to develop solutions. Countries like the US and Germany have succeeded in developing students’ problem-solving abilities. Now it is our responsibility to create the right springboard for Mexican students to improve these skills.
Over the next 10 years, Mexico will continue to be regarded as a qualified human capital developer and we might start making a case for the country to become a stronger R&D center. We have detected that local companies need certain product adaptations to suit the country and we have received so many orders that Mexico may soon be considered the market with the biggest projects for Fronius.
Q: How has Fronius modified its technology to make it more user-friendly?
A: The tech era has put more solutions within our reach. The information that we have access to has made for a broad and interesting transformation in technology solutions that, consequently, has forced society to adapt. Our machinery is designed to meet specific industry needs, while also making sure that we cover the gap between novice users and experienced technicians in welding processes. We strive for systems that are as easy to operate as a smartphone.
Q: What are Fronius’ growth expectations in its Solar Energy division?
A: Mexico’s geographical position is enviable in terms of energy creation, as the country has exceptional fields for wind and solar power, so we expect the market to fully open up. Last year, the government put a number of initiatives in place that are very attractive on paper and that touch upon the Energy Reform and the manufacturing segment. Our task is to create and control energy and we are applying our technology to the fields in which Mexico needs it the most.