The States promotes scientific and technological research to develop an automotive industry that globally competes


The automotive industry in Guanajuato has grown strongly in the last 10 years with the arrival of assemblers such as General Motors, in Silao; Honda, in Celaya; Mazda, in Salamanca; Hino Motors, in Silao; and Toyota, about to be settled in Apaseo el Grande, which have generated about 17,600 job opportunities and about 420 investment projects of complementary companies, more than 2,000 companies linked to this sector, generating a total of 93,600 jobs and 16.9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)

 

According to information provided by the Ministry of Sustainable Economic Development on the automotive issue in the Bajio region and the Central West zone, greater emphasis is made on the supply, given that there are 11 assemblers so far, with a production of 1 million and medium of light vehicles, and the goal is to reach 3 million and achieve 56 % of the national total.

 

In this situation, the industry has coordinated with the scientific and technological sector, in order to develop programs and services to encourage small and medium companies seeking to join the automotive supply chain and that do not have the important laboratory equipment to perform tests or certify processes.

 

Therefore, this linkage with local companies is sought in order for them be integrated into the supply chain and meet a number of requirements demanded by the automotive industry such as certifications, specialized training, professionalization, specialization and market focus according to demand.

 

Institutions such as the Research Center in Optics (CIO, by its Spanish initials) and the Center for Applied Innovation in Competitive Technologies (CIATEC, by its Spanish initials) provide knowledge and qualified human resources to fulfill the necessary scientific and technological research to develop a globally competitive automotive industry.


In an interview for Mexico Industry, Ricardo Guerra Sanchez, general director of the CIATEC, stated that for Guanajuato it is fundamental that not only be known as a country assembler of vehicles, but that be recognized for its level of engineering and research in this sector.


He explained that for the Mexican automotive industry being able to work with research centers represents the highest part of the value chain, since what is required to compete at the global level is highly qualified human capital.


He asserted that through the provision of highly specialized technological services, the characterization of materials is being done, as a way of introducing research and development of products in the automotive industry.


“We increasingly expanded these services in order to understand the type of parts used in automobiles, for example, make simulations using a specific model,” he said.


He announced that the experience in characterization of materials led CIATEC to propose testing Air Bags, the most important project that has this unique center in the country.


He asserted that once the requirements and needs of the automotive industry were detected, several projects were shaped such as the establishment of consortiums in the United States that have vocations to certain industrial sectors, collaborating with the  Aguascalientes Innovation and Technology Transfer Center for the Automotive Sector (CITTAA, by its Spanish initials) in addition to the Technological Center of the Automotive Industry, which will work in coordination with the Automotive Cluster of Guanajuato (CLAUGTO.)


In addition, the CIATEC is working in a laboratory called: “National Laboratory in Innovation and Development of Light Materials for the Automotive Industry” (LANIAUTO, by its Spanish initials) aimed to develop innovative technologies in the manufacture of lightweight materials to meet the needs of the automotive industry.


SPECIALIZED LABORATORIES FOR THE INDUSTRY


Having specialized laboratories opened the door to CIATEC to different markets, where the potential of other areas such as engineering was exploited, with the purpose of join researchers and developers with the industry, said Jesus Torres, director of Technology Solutions at CIATEC.


He announced that in Guanajuato this area had a good use after the arrival of General Motors, attending electromechanical studies by several companies and implementing different training courses for this company and part of its supply.  So far, about 450 people have been trained.


Among future projects stands out the work with companies like BMW, in San Luis Potosí; Mazda, in Guanajuato and with Toyota, as well as with some Tier1 and Tier2 companies.


Courses being applied are related to simulation, modeling and CAD inspection and reverse energy; being this series of spearheads activities to incorporate research and technological solutions to the automotive industry.


Associations related to the automotive industry in Guanajuato collaborate directly with the CIATEC through the Certification Body whose mission is to support SMEs and MSMEs following them on their compliance with the standard of quality certificate and management system that they should implement to be suppliers for the automotive industry.


Regarding the courses and workshops given to automotive companies are industrial electronics, mechanics, pneumatics, as well as applied mathematics to electrical engineering and engines.


AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGICAL CENTER


CIATEC performs tests of chemical analysis focused on the automotive industry, being the only laboratory in Mexico that serves the sector, in the category of restricted substances and volatile organic compounds, required for the interior of vehicles.


In this regard, Rodolfo Tinajero, director of Technology Services at CIATEC, explained that about 180 tests have been implemented for the automotive sector, in addition to airbags deployment laboratory testing - a pioneer in Mexico and Latin America - and now works on the creation of the first Automotive Technology Center with national projection, which will be integrated into the facilities of CIATEC in Guanajuato Inland Port.


He explained that, currently, they are validating products and processes that are positioning the industry in Mexico in another level, which is to generate value companies and help moving the knowledge economy to the industry where they can develop new technologies and processes.


Regarding the Automotive Technology Center he mentioned that it will be developed in three stages such as analyzing the mega trends worldwide, the consolidation of an integrating center working in coordination with other research centers and the integration of industry 4.0.


He also said that they will include advanced manufacturing laboratories, artificial intelligence, and dimensional metrology, among others.


“What we are looking for is to develop national supply, which is what OEMs demand, in areas such as processes, materials, automotive language, and production times, among others; the goal is raising local companies to a program of efficient supply,” Guerra explained.


APPLIED DIMENSIONAL METROLOGY


Metrology is one of the tools that today characterize the automotive industry – auto-parts.  Without metrology processes, is not possible reaching the necessary standards in industries as it also happens in aerospace, medical, energy and molds.


This was announced by Oscar Jose Gutierrez, coordinator of the Accredited Metrology Laboratories of the Research Center in Optics (CIO,) who explained that this center houses three accredited centers that support the automotive industry suppliers in studies to verify they are fulfilling their operations according with the system that is implemented and comply with a high quality standard.


From 2004 to date, the CIO has worked in coordination with companies in the sector in their certification processes and in the monitoring of a quality system, which requires them to have their equipment properly calibrated.


The CIO metrology laboratories are integrated within the Mexican Accreditation Entity AC, (EMA, by its Spanish initials) a private management entity that aims to accredit the Conformity Assessment Bodies which are the test laboratories, calibration laboratories, verification units and certification organizations.   Its creation was promoted by detecting the challenges posed by the exchange of products, goods and services, in order to provide industry and trade with tools to compete fairly and be widely inserted into international trade.


He stated that in the area of Dimensional Metrology there are only four laboratories in the country that offer exact studies to what the industry demands, thus the CIO in Guanajuato attracts companies requiring these services at a local and regional level.


“This Metrology laboratory is the only one in the center of the country, the rest are in the northern area and many times they are not enough due to the number of companies that have requested the service, the pieces they send us to be measured with our equipment comes from companies that are not only from Guanajuato, but from the entire Bajio region,” he said.


PROMOTING OPTIC FIBER PROJECT


The challenge of the application of plastic optical fibers in these vehicles is found in the improvement of network systems free of electromagnetic noise, compact and light weight networks, greater bandwidth capacity and resistance to high temperatures.


On the other hand, plastic fiber optic is finding applications in the design and lighting of the interior of automobiles.

 

In addition, in the exterior fiber optic begins to be used in the modern designs of lights and the structural delineation of cars, thus was announced by Ismael Torres Gomez, research professor of CIO and specialist in applied technology of optical fibers.



He said that for three years Condumex, one of the most important industrial consortiums in Mexico that started the manufacture of plastic fiber for the automotive and communications sector, requested the collaboration of CIO to process and prepare cables for the welding of splints, that is, finish the cable terminals and fix the splint.


The foregoing, aimed to fulfill market tests, since the company plans to open a plant in Guanajuato.


“We are working directly with Arneses Electricos Automotrices, in the project called: Development of connectorization for plastic fiber optic double layer with less than 200 / km attenuation with laser application and terminal with self-clamping system, in parallel a fiber optic training course and its application to the automotive industry was given,” said Torres.


The interest of the automotive market in Guanajuato for optic fiber is centered in interior and exterior lighting issues in vehicles, from lights, to interior car coverages, therefore they are working in developing light guides, and it is sought for companies to know how to implement this kind of technologies in the automobile.


RESEARCH IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE


The CIO has another area that has also made contributions not only to the local industry, but also to national.  This is the Non-Destructive Optical Tests laboratory, in which Francisco J. Cuevas De la Rosa, specialist in optical metrology and artificial intelligence of the CIO, collaborates.


The objective of this line of research is to develop and implement new techniques and non-destructive methods in the area of mechanical testing, device calibration and surface characterization.


With these tests it is possible to measure deformation, stress, distance, tension, fracture, density, temperature, propagation of mechanical waves, volumetric flow, vibrations, velocity, vorticity, concentration, roughness, shape, pressure, among others, in the nanometer scale to centimeters regarding displacements.


Currently, academically they are developing a project where, with the help of stereoscopic vision systems, cameras are placed in vehicles aiming to detecting the distance of nearby vehicles in order to prevent accidents, starting from the speed record of the nearby car.