Daniel Kuchenbecker
Market Manager Industry
Pfeiffer Vacuum
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Vacuum Equipment Supplier Fills Automotive Holes

By Alejandro Salas | Mon, 07/13/2020 - 05:00

Q: How does Pfeiffer Vacuum add value to Mexico’s automotive industry?

A: While Pfeiffer Vacuum is present in several sectors, including metallurgy and healthcare, the automotive industry is one of the major markets for our products. Globally, there is growing demand for vacuum solutions in this sector, particularly for leak-detection applications, as companies look for better-quality components. Leak-proofing ensures quality, reliability and a longer life cycle for fuel, brake, cooling and airbag systems. Pfeiffer Vacuum is also launching new products for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles that require leak-prevention solutions to keep moisture out of the battery cells.

There are several automotive manufacturing processes that require vacuum pumps and which would benefit from our solutions. For instance, Pfeiffer Vacuum’s Vacu2 system is a niche product oriented to die casting processes. This solution can evacuate both the shot sleeve and the mold cavity and prevent air pockets in the die cast process, which translates to superior component quality. Pfeiffer Vacuum plans to target aluminum die casting components in this process to ride the light weighting wave. We also support additive manufacturing processes, such as the 3D printing of components using metal dust.

Q: What are your main targets for these solutions in the Mexican market?

A:  Our leak detection and Vacu2 portfolio mainly focuses on high-quality, advanced components. Our solutions can have a positive impact on their manufacturing processes and testing times. We are also working hard to help clients reduce the processing time for their components by targeting pre-processing, for example in upstream stages in the manufacturing of chemicals used to produce foams used in car interiors.

Q: What role does Pfeiffer Vacuum want to play in boosting sustainability in the automotive industry?

A: Our contribution includes the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries that power electrified cars. We can conduct integrity tests to detect leaks in these components and help in the processes of electrolyte filling and component drying that require vacuum to prevent moisture from seeping in. Pfeiffer Vacuum also boosts the efficiency of combustion engine vehicles through leak detection tests. By ensuring that combustion engine fuel systems are leak-proof, our products also have an impact on vehicle emissions. Our products are also strongly involved in reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing components. We have introduced highly energy-efficient pumps for vacuum systems that reduce energy consumption during production processes.

Q: What opportunities did Pfeiffer Vacuum identify in Mexico that prompted the company to target the local automotive industry?

A: Mexico is a growing market for vacuum products and other industry-related applications. Automotive leak detection requirements offer key opportunities for Pfeiffer Vacuum’s solutions. We started investing in the country thanks to the support of Intercovamex, which is a local partner that has broad knowledge of the Mexican market. Pfeiffer Vacuum works with European OEMs and automotive suppliers with operations in Mexico. We can add value to our clients’ operations by offering a full range of vacuum components, including pumps, fittings and measurement and analytical equipment.

Q: What challenges did Pfeiffer Vacuum encounter while establishing in Mexico?

A: Concerns related to NAFTA were one of the main challenges that we faced. Now that USMCA is in place, Pfeiffer Vacuum sees a fast-growing market for its solutions in Mexico. The country is in a great position to develop its automotive industry thanks to its know-how and infrastructure. While there are some areas of opportunity in the area of trading contracts to ease imports and exports, the country is well-prepared for the future.

Starting operations of new vehicle assembly plants in Mexico will result in exponential growth in the regions where these plants are based. This provides new opportunities for us to grow and to work with the suppliers working with these OEMs. Pfeiffer Vacuum has great relationships with several world-class Tier 1 suppliers, which gives us early access to their plants and activities. We are optimistic about our results for 2019 as 1Q19 was a strong quarter for our local operations and business lines. Pfeiffer Vacuum, together with Intercovamex, plans to grow its sales and service structure in the country and hire a larger staff to reach more potential clients.

 

Pfeiffer Vacuum is a European supplier of vacuum pumps, leak detectors and measurement and analysis equipment for various applications in the automotive, pharmaceutical, electronics and metallurgy industries

Alejandro Salas Alejandro Salas Senior Editorial Manager