Thermal Treatments: Hot Market with Strong FutureBy MBN Staff | Mon, 04/01/2019 - 11:21
Q: How is Bodycote’s Mexico operation positioned in the market?
A: Bodycote’s portfolio in Mexico is mainly dedicated to the automotive industry. Up to 70 percent of the components that we treat are exported to the US and the remaining 30 percent are destined for the domestic market. Around 90 percent of our clients in Mexico are global customers that have Bodycote as their go-to heat-treatments supplier. The rest of our client portfolio is made up of Mexican companies that want to meet OEM specifications. We also supply these services to several OEMs, which makes us an attractive option for their suppliers.
Being a direct supplier to OEMs helps us to market our heat treatments throughout the supply chain. When Bodycote serves other Tier 1 and Tier 2 customers, the company takes advantage of its experience as a Tier 1 to help them. Bodycote’s experience also helps our customers to be better positioned in their quest toward obtaining the certifications that OEMs request.
Q: What are the key automotive trends boosting growth in the heat-treatment market?
A: As cars become increasingly complex, the size and weight of their parts are reduced progressively. For instance, new transmissions coming to the market have up to 10 speeds and require more elaborate parts with more complex functions than previous models. These smaller components require more technologically advanced heat treatments to work properly; Bodycote’s investments in new technologies have become a key strength that enabled the company to achieve double-digit growth in Mexico in 2018.
Q: How does Bodycote ensure it stands out in a highly competitive industry like automotive?
A: Our business is supported by three pillars: technology, quality and service. In terms of technology, Bodycote focuses on offering premium heat treatments, such as low-pressure carburizing. In terms of quality, Bodycote places great importance on delivering cutting-edge heat treatments. This translates to better components, as well as reductions in the levels of scrap generated at our customers’ operations and the costs this entails. In terms of service, Bodycote remains close to its customers to reduce response times and remain a competitive option.
In some cases, we can deliver heat-treatment services to OEMs in less than 24 hours. While each Bodycote plant is largely autonomous, all regions have a team that handles quality, engineering, metallurgy and health and safety. These teams not only support local Bodycote plants but also our customers’ operations.
Q: What impact do you expect from USMCA on European companies?
A: Bodycote’s customers consider USMCA’s ratification a likely outcome. It will make investing in Mexico extremely attractive for European companies because companies will have to deploy their business in the country to comply with new regional content requirements. Heat treatments are also factored when calculating regional content; all services that Bodycote offers locally are considered Mexican content that add to our customers’ regional content.
Q: How open are European companies present in Mexico to reinvesting in the country?
A: The Mexican automotive industry’s impressive advancement can be seen by Kia’s growth, GM’s new projects in Ramos Arizpe and BMW’s new plant in San Luis Potosi. Opportunities for European companies to develop are there. In the case of Bodycote, the arrival of new OEMs to Mexico, including BMW in San Luis Potosi and Toyota in Guanajuato, means demand for new parts that will require heat treatments.
Q: What are Bodycote’s growth projections and expansion plans for 2019?
A: In 2019, Bodycote plans to increase its operations’ capacity in San Luis Potosi and also grow its Silao plant. In the medium to long term, Bodycote plans to build new heat-treatment plants in Mexico to cater to the local heat-treatment needs of regions like Celaya, Toluca, Puebla, Ramos Arizpe and Queretaro. In doing so, the company will remain close to its automotive customers, delivering better and faster service and offering lower logistics costs.
Bodycote is a UK-based supplier of thermal treatment processes. With over 180 plants and several technology development centers, Bodycote is the global leader in the heat-treatment market