Guanajuato bets on Industry 4.0 for production processes innovation and lead the creation of smart factories that improve performance reducing costs

 

Industry 4.0 and digitalization are part of the fundamental trends that have transformed the manufacturing industry and perform an important role to promote companies and economies competitiveness.

 

In the center of the fourth industrial revolution is the concept of smart factory, it refers to production processes digitalization in plants in order to make them more productive and efficient.

 

One of the sectors of Industry 4.0 where Guanajuato has showed more development is software creation, big data analytics, internet of things and business intelligence processes (BI.)

 

According to data from the Ministry of Sustainable Economic Development (SDES, by its Spanish initials,) Guanajuato has 111 economic units dedicated to software, with 873 people occupied, 265 million pesos in production value and 137.4 million pesos in added value.

 

The medium-high sectors and high technological content in Guanajuato are 1671 economic units, according to the Economic Census 2014.  Therefore most of these companies have technology from industry 4.0.

 

Automation of processes of discrete events in manufacturing industry are mainly based in the use of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s,) which add to other forms and automation technologies such as industrial robots and Computer Numerical Control (CNCs;) these technologies are integrated through industrial communication networks to automate manufacturing processes making them stronger and flexible.

 

MANUFACTURING CHALLENGES

 

Elder de la Rosa, general director of the Research Center for Optics (CIO, by its Spanish initials) campus Guanajuato, said that the German industry demands on its processes the installation of technologies with industry 4.0 in any of its branches, thus, it has a direct influence in Mexico given the series of German investments and equipment acquired.

 

In the last years, thanks to the advances in the microelectronics sector in Mexico, devices have been manufactured and quick sensors, as well as the development of new software, which has achieved to generate very sophisticated automated processes.

 

“Automation of processes and the internet of things have given as result manufacture 4.0.  In Guanajuato we can find different automated processes that already operate with this kind of systems, but what was not known is that although there could be an automated line to produce, by the end of the day the presence of the operator was indispensable,” he referred.

 

He added that with the internet, today has been achieved to reduce the operators’ presence and thanks to the internet of things the production system already knows from where take each one of the components for assembly a device and it takes from different places since everything is coordinated with the Internet.

 

“In such manner that when the final product comes out from the production line, it has a circuit that connects it to the internet and that way that product goes to the warehouse where it belongs,” he explained.

 

At the CIO campus Guanajuato, what has been done for manufacture 4.0 has to do with software design which automates processes and schemes for quality control on systems.

 

“We design automated system that are mounted in a production line and at the same time executes quality control processes; an in-situ test is made without stopping the production line, thus each one of the products that have a quality control process; it is where we have collaborated the most with the local industry using optic techniques,” he added.

 

The other sector where CIO Guanajuato has been dabbling for three years is in software development to make augmented and virtual reality, systems where it is achieved that the operator integrates to a completely digital system.

 

When this happens, he can interact with the entire space where he is working, executing a series of actions reproduced in a production line.

 

The third area where CIO collaborates is in 3D printing.  Recently, an interest has emerged to produce components, in addition of inquire the way not only to work with plastic, but with other kind of materials such as ceramics and glass, in such manner that production methods are much faster.

 

“We use new materials that have optic properties, for us manufacture 4.0 has to do with additive manufacturing, augmented reality and quality control processes,” he said.

 

He emphasized that Guanajuato has the capability and infrastructure to fulfill this kind of projects, without losing sight that all automation processes require a less number of operators, but more prepared and specialized in new technologies people.

 

INNOVATION FROM GUANAJUATO

 

In order to potentiate the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Guanajuato, in 2012 emerged Novaera to direct the Technological Parks System project in the entity.

 

Alejandro Gomez, general director of Novaera, said that the objective is to support high impact business growth, approaching technology and company’s research.

 

“We want to energize the ecosystem by developing events, workshops and training.  In addition of linking with technological base companies, incubators and support in universities that have methodologies that teach this growth,” he said.

 

Luis Cabrera, innovation director at Novaera, explained that since last year they are working with high impact entrepreneurship, creating two initiatives to potentiate this project.

 

One of them is Practicum, considered as technological based pre-incubator; and Ingenium, an incubation proposal for early aged companies, which are aligning to industry 4.0.

 

“It is convenient for youngsters to be introduced to the entrepreneurship of this kind of business.  The other two programs we have developed are aligned to industries of the future,” he explained.

 

He emphasized that in 2016 and 2017 more than 220 Guanajuato companies were developed and they seek that each one of them is inside the fourth industrial revolution.

 

He highlighted that the study plan modification of the current careers is important, that they must be more aligned to what the job market is demanding.

 

He referred that the new Industry demands more “mindfacture” and that in order for entrepreneurs expand their horizons; they support them with the Entrepreneurial Talent Internationalization Program of Guanajuato.

 

With this project, they have encouraged five youngsters into Manos Accelerator, which is dedicated to Latin talent in Silicon Valley, California.  They also choose two youngsters to participate in the Ballon Chile program, dedicated to promote and develop entrepreneurship in rural locations.

 

“It is important for the world to know Mexican talent and also for youngsters to understand which the industry language is,” he said.

 

FROM MANUFACTURE TO “MINDFACTURE”

 

Jose Sandoval, researcher and responsible of the office for Technological Transfer (OTT) from the Center for Applied Innovation in Competitive Technologies (CIATEC, by its Spanish initials) said that a challenge for Guanajuato when entering the role of industry 4.0 will be betting on changing the educational system for the careers intended to the industrial or productive sector.

 

“The fact that Guanajuato is inside the automotive sector and the industrial corridor with states as Queretaro which already has an industry 4.0 advance, will allow understanding and better use the so called fourth revolution and the entire integration of the different components of this model,” he explained.

 

In Guanajuato – he emphasized – not only the automotive industry already visualizes the application of automated components, but also aeronautics and agro-industry, and traditional companies as the one from leather-footwear, to compete globally.

 

He considered that students must have to have these approaches to be prepared for the international market demands and that have the skills and required knowledge.

 

He explained that CIATEC are provided support, infrastructure and linkage to student projects that require dabbling, or be transferred to industry 4.0.

 

Currently, they are concreted sensors integration projects, devices and data sampling manipulated by mobile devices to analyze the results in supercomputing and, later, make simulations, reduce cost and time for companies.

 

He announced that at CIATEC are also generated projects from student origin for the agro-industrial sector with the automation of greenhouses that need particular climates and that is automated to review on real time each one of its variables.

 

“Training and education in new technologies is not something that can be adapted overnight, the challenge is not only technological, but as how we perceive and  how are we going to receive the arrival of industry 4.0, how are we going to be trained as State for this technological change,” he noted.

He emphasized that Guanajuato is taking a big social, mental and technological leap, therefore it is necessary to find common projects in order for the impact be much larger, in the industry as well as in society.

 

GUANAJUATO, SOFTWARE EXPORTER

 

GTO-Tech is a promotion group formed in 2017 by businessmen from the entity focused in digital subjects such as information technologies, technological based projects, digital marketing, and process automation, among others.

 

The group is formed by 12 Guanajuato companies.  Currently, at GTO-Tech are promoted software development companies, Contact Center service, digital marketing, business and technology advisory, interactive simulation and virtual reality.

 

Regarding this, Luis Vargas, director from industries and services sector from the Foreign Trade Promotion Coordinator (COFOCE, by its Spanish initials) said that the synergy to do promotion, as well as the recognition among the same businessmen members of the information technologies sector, allow business opportunities to be linked not only in the country, but in any part of the world.

 

“If companies already have a path walked inside the technological sector the boom from the fourth industrial generation can be used to complement the manufacture we already have in Guanajuato and in Mexico to accelerate this technological change, some companies have experience with others from the United States, others are developing projects together with European companies or are direct or indirect exporters from automotive companies, all this international relations will allow us to capitalize it with very precise projects,” he clarified.

 

He explained that projects routed to Big Data, collaborative robots, systems integrations, traceability and artificial intelligence, are subjects where Guanajuato companies are opening roads to exportation, mainly with German and Japanese companies.

 

GTO-Tech maintains as an open platform to all companies that have an exportable product, aiming to join the promotion platforms they have.