Rafael Stifano
Regional Director for Mexico and Central America
Rockwell Automation
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View from the Top

Adding Value Through Automation

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 17:11

Q: What benefits do Rockwell Automation solutions bring to companies working in Mexico’s mining sector?

A: Mining is probably the industry that reaps the most benefits from our solutions. This is because mines require many motors, whether they are used for power crushers, conveyor belts, separation systems, wheel loaders, or concentrator plants. Integration between motors can hugely benefit the transportation and processing of minerals. A diagnosis for all motors can be tied together through our control system, and any anomalies can be detected from one central screen. Our system lets managers detect if a particular motor is on the verge of overheating and thus react before the motor fails. From an operative standpoint, this reduces downtime. From an engineering standpoint, we have documented testimonials that indicate we are reducing commissioning times by two weeks. In mining, that two week reduction translates into a lot of money that is being saved.

We need to develop architecture that brings more intelligence to the field. We have developed controllers that are interconnected through networks and closely monitor the mining operations, which are complemented by software solutions. We see a new world of information. The industry is demanding much more data, however data is meaningless unless you have a system that can process it and turn it into information. It is information – as opposed to data – that allows miners to decide whether to explore and drill a certain area. We typically help our customers increase their margins by reducing the whole life-cycle cost through our automation products. We help mining companies to drastically lower their maintenance costs, and we are reducing total life-cycle costs by using less parts and further integrating components into one single infrastructure. We also have Parts Management Agreements (PMA) through which Rockwell becomes the owner of spare parts. The intention is to eliminate the need to buy the asset and be able to replace parts that have become obsolete. We own the asset, we put it in the mine and we make sure that all the necessary spare parts are readily available at the site. Downtime is significantly lowered under this scheme because through it we efficiently deliver parts to the mining facility.

Q: How does Rockwell Automation reduce risk and ensure the highest safety standards in its systems and processes?

A: Safety is one of Rockwell Automation’s main concerns, and the concept of safety is very well developed within the company. We manufacture quality safety components, but on top of that we are the only company that complements this product offering with a safety consultancy service. We are able to go to a plant, analyze the safety situation, bring in certified consultants, and perform a risk assessment. Afterwards, our consultants come up with a series of mechanisms to reduce risks to a certain level, and they can lead the risk remediation process. Finally, we can show the customer that we have reduced risk from point A to point B and ensured compliance according to worldwide standards.

Q: What role will Mexico play in Rockwell Automation’s international portfolio in the coming years?

A: Our value comes from the knowledge we possess, and knowledge comes with hiring the best talent that is available in Mexico. We recently conducted a study throughout Latin America, and we were happy to discover that Mexico is the country that educates the largest number of engineers in the region. The proportion of students that are engineers in Mexico is much higher than it is in the US. We typically hire engineers for all of Rockwell’s business areas. Our sales people, our consultants, and our distributors are all engineers.

With the wave of investment that is currently coming to Mexico we expect that the country will become a manufacturing hub for Rockwell Automation. The automotive, pharmaceutical, and aerospace industries are investing a lot in the country. Similarly, Rockwell is currently investing heavily in emerging countries, and we believe that 30% of our business will come from emerging countries in the future. In Latin America our main markets are Mexico and Brazil. Mexico has become one of the biggest manufacturing centers for Rockwell, and it is now the second most important worldwide, after the US. Our intention is to double our business in the next five years. We will influence more partners, our partners will influence more customers, and more customers will benefit.