Juan Carlos Padilla
Director General
Hexagon Metrology Mexico
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View from the Top

Training Integrated into Product Provision

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 15:19

Q: What have been Hexagon’s major achievements in the automotive sector since its arrival in Mexico?

A: Internationally, Hexagon has a positive relationship with the automotive industry and all the contracts that we acquired in Mexico were based on that reputation. We have worked closely with US OEMs like Chrysler, Ford, and GM, and we have gained new business with companies like Nissan. There is plenty of room for development in the industry, thanks to new investments from companies like Mazda and KIA, offering us new opportunities to work locally and globally with them.

Q: What are the main solutions that Hexagon offers in Mexico for the automotive industry?

A: Hexagon is fully dedicated to measurements and we strive to collect the data while being able to use and analyze it. We want to develop tools that help companies make decisions about how to control their production processes. The technologies that we use for this are portable measuring arms, laser trackers, white light scanning systems, and multi-sensor and optical systems. We also have a division that focuses on hand tools for which we offer distribution services. We currently have two main facilities, one in Queretaro and one in our headquarters in Monterrey. We are developing a new facility in Puebla and we plan to open smaller offices mostly in the northern and western parts of the country. The main purpose of these laboratories is to offer support and market the products to all the surrounding companies in the area. Our new facility in Puebla will have enough people and equipment to offer demonstrations and training to our customers.

Q: What are the main factors that differentiate Hexagon’s services from its competitors?

A: One of our main advantages is that we have developed a software platform that is common to all technologies. Our competitors focus on just one technology and they build software for that particular product. Therefore, when clients move from one product to another, they need to adapt to new software, which complicates data management. Our software is called PC-DMIS, which is able to communicate and link to all our machines and equipment. That is useful for the customer because once they have used one of our products, it is easy to migrate to other equipment without the delay of a learning curve. The software is also compatible with equipment from other brands, which facilitates the use and integration of all different technologies.

Q: What are the main challenges that you detect with CMM inspections for automotive clients?

A: The major challenge that we face is cycle time. Our clients want to measure more in less time and that is where technology has to improve. CMM has been in the market for more than 30 years and CNC machines have been around for 20-25 years. Both systems are much faster now, but CMM systems are still a slow measurement method, which is why new technologies have appeared to complement them. The real development now is surface scanning, which allows you to instantly acquire the geometry of a surface and use it for inspection. With this technology, we have created new equipment that combines the detection systems of surface scanning with the testing methods of CMM. We can use vision systems, laser technology, and white light scanning technology that allows us to take pictures of the part’s many angles and break down the surface into millions of points. The advantage of this development is that you can obtain an enormous amount of data in minimal time and with minimal effort.

Q: What experience does Hexagon have with developing and retaining talent in the field of metrology?

A: While we have access to excellent human capital in Mexico, we have found that there is not enough talent in the technology business. Nobody can study metrology because there is not yet a university in Mexico that offers a degree in this area. Metrology is a truly special field and should be established as a profession in the industry. There is room for development in this area; we need specialized training and we need universities to develop these kinds of programs. Here at Hexagon, we try to train people in the use of our products, but in most cases we end up teaching them the basics of metrology. Most universities now offer specializations in robotics and automation, but students do not know how to interpret the information they are getting from the equipment.