Migration to Industry 4.0 InevitableThu, 10/17/2019 - 12:17
The Mexican mining industry is at a turning point, with Industry 4.0 staring it in the face and demanding a migration to new technologies, says Luis Rodríguez, Director of Operations of IIPSA, which specializes in helping miners take the leap to automation. “Mine facilities and equipment are becoming obsolete so mining companies are preparing for the modernization that the Fourth Industrial Revolution promises to deliver.”
Dependability is an essential factor in an industry that is expected to deliver on the world’s incessant demand for minerals, and automation solutions like those provided by IIPSA could become make or break for many companies. “The mining industry has a very broad value chain. We add value by making the industry’s processes reliable so they keep up with the never-ending demand for minerals,” Rodríguez says. “Facilities need to remain productive and operate efficiently; we provide automation equipment that enables this goal.”
IIPSA has worked in the Mexican market for 40 years and offers a broad solutions portfolio, including but not limited to instrumentation, valves and control systems. Rodríguez says that control systems are among the company’s most popular solutions. “These systems are revolutionizing the amount of information a company can obtain, allowing for enhanced decision-making. Our control systems work collaboratively with instrumentation, valves and even other equipment that we have not provided.”
The company also focuses on partnerships to bolster its offering. Emerson, for example, has been one of IIPSA’s main business partners since 2007. “Emerson provides automation and control equipment,” Rodríguez says. “Together, we can guarantee the mine plant’s efficiency and dependability.” IIPSA alliances also include strategic partnerships with suppliers across the value chain, such as Phoenix Contact, Delta Electronics and Rittal. Rodríguez says the goal of the company’s in-house offer is to put Industry 4.0 into the hands of its clients. “We offer a combination of software and hardware that is collaboratively adapted to each customer’s needs,” he says. “When working on a client’s projects, it is crucial to understand the company’s expectations about what is to be accomplished. These are translated to productivity and efficiency indicators.”
IIPSA works with its clients, including Industrias Peñoles, Fresnillo and Grupo México, to choose the technology that will deliver the highest ROI. “We always speak to our clients in terms of the ROI they can expect per dollar invested in us. Our team then focuses on fulfilling all our promises,” Rodríguez says. “The promise we make is that we will help our clients be more efficient so they can reduce operating costs.” The ROI a company can expect depends on each solution. “For example, for control systems specifically designed for optimization, we can guarantee an ROI from 1 to 2 percent,” Rodríguez says. “This may seem like a low percentage but given the high levels of investment, it becomes a significant win for the client.”
To adhere to its commitments, IIPSA continuously invests in the training of its people and in R&D to improve its services. “We work with our partners and our clients to get the right feedback that allows us to be strategic in our R&D programs,” Rodríguez says. IIPSA also provides training to its clients on the systems it offers so the client understands the benefits beforehand. In Mexico, IIPSA mainly works along the Pacific coast, covering the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Jalisco. “We have a direct presence in this area with offices and technical staff. While this is our natural territory, we also work in the mining regions of Zacatecas and Durango.” IIPSA previously worked in Arizona but decided to focus its operations mainly in Mexico.
Rodríguez sees a bright future for both the company and the country in mining as long as the focus remains on Mexico as a whole and not on its current administration. “We perceive a favorable government for the mining industry, so I think that we will keep growing at a good pace. But aside from its government, Mexico will remain a job and wealth generator for those who decide to invest in it,” he says. “The Mexican philosophy is to keep producing wealth for their families. This will make the country thrive regardless of the government in power.”