Changes fulfilled in some of their processes are intended to automation and digitalization in order to have a better control and prevention of errors

The German company Continental, one of the largest world suppliers of the automotive industry and leader in technology, has positioned in Guanajuato as one of the most influential companies in the economic and industrial development, in addition of being part of the automotive boom in the region.

Continental has 150 years of experience in Mexico and 40 of being present in Guanajuato with the manufacturing plants settled in Silao, which are Continental located at FIPASI Industrial Park, which produces wheel sensors, engine and transmission; and Continental in Las Colinas Industrial Park and of Business, which manufacture products for brakes, actuation units, drum brakes and hoses for wipers systems.

Cristina Salinas, quality manager of Continental Las Colinas, said that as company Continental added value is the high approach to customer with highly qualified collaborators in their area.

“Due to Continental years of experience it is a company highly recognized by customers and we have been able to develop a long-lasting relation with our suppliers, as a team together with workers, we provide high quality products,” she said.

Continental has 544 plants distributed in 60 countries, and in Mexico there are 23 plants in total, Guanajuato resulted a good reference for the encouragement of the automotive line, due to its excellent geographic location given its proximity with different maritime ports for import and export of material, as well as the entire automotive industry developed in Guanajuato and neighboring states, in addition to contributing to the type of industry that has settled in the entire corridor.
She explained that Continental globally works in developing smart technology to transport people and their products.  Their main customers come from the automotive industry mainly and markets centered in final consumer.

TOWARDS INDUSTRY 4.0


Continental Las Colinas quality manager highlighted that at plants settled in Guanajuato that belong to the automotive division, they work with flexible technology developed specially for their products’ elaboration.

“We are currently migrating to technology 4.0, where we are introducing some cobots systems, which are arms helping automation specifically for assemblies.”
She explained that changes are intended to automation and digitalization, as well as connectivity among different processes, therefore, she considered this kind of incorporations help the company betting on competitiveness and comparing every day results between different plants, helping them to improve and verify opportunity areas.

According to Continental Corporation website, the multinational is an example of transition taking place in the industry.  As leading company in automation sector, Continental is the most robotized Spanish manufacturer in the business and the first one in leading the movement towards industry 4.0.

The company decided to acquire several UR10 cobots to automate manufacturing and manipulation of PCB plates, and reduced change times in 50 %, from 40 minutes to 20, when compared with manually performed task.

Meanwhile, Cristina Salinas, quality manager at Continental Las Colinas, explained that one of the main challenges of the industry is to improve productivity, as she underlined that the specific division of Continental in Guanajuato operates within a highly competitive sector.

The company informed that through the use of collaborative robots, they work with Avant-grade technology with processes based in modern robotic philosophy, according to industry 4.0.

RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

Continental Las Colinas automotive division have a Research and Development Center (R&D) with testing laboratories: functional, of durability and of destructibility, as well as troque machines and of measurement, offices, simulation areas, calculation and design.

This space includes 850 square meters, 500 square meters for laboratories and 350 square meters of offices, amounting a total area of 1,300 square meters of space dedicated to create the hydraulic brake systems of the future.

The project has an investment of 650,000 euros and is integrated by 47 people who are part of the Research and Development center of Las Colinas Plant.

In information from Las Colinas Automotive informative space, Alejandro Abreu leader of the development center, explained that with the expansion of these facilities the company will be able to achieve the objectives of the HBS business unit and offer quality technical services in this as in its sister plant in San Luis Potosi.

HIGHLY SKILLED HUMAN CAPITAL


Continental Fipasi and Las Colinas, as well as the Finance Center, have a total of 3,250 employees registered and in general the company has a corporate program where there are trainings and regulations focused on leadership and personnel development, moreover each employee receives specific training according to needs detection in order for them to fulfill their work profile.

“Mexico’s workforce in production as in management, is highly qualified, Continental is very confident in Mexican workforce and we are seeking to specialize the talent we have in Guanajuato even more.  Mexico is the second country after Germany with more Continental employees and this make us having a big challenge as company,” he noted.

Engineers working in Continental Las Colinas and Continental FIPASI, are highly trained in their areas, as inside each company update systems and constant professionalization are implemented, mainly in learning new trends.

QUALITY RECOGNITION

Continental in Guanajuato has received recognitions and certifications that have complied as part of the automotive Industry, for example, both plants are certified in IATF 16949 and Q1 from Ford.

FIPASI obtained the silver recognition from Fort automotive and Las Colinas were recognized three consecutive years by Toyota as they achieved having zero defects for 3 consecutive years and one national recognition by Low Fluctuation.

“Regarding Q1 certification it is a distinction for preferential supply companies that fulfill certifications and improvements, beyond the industry standard requirements, this is important, as it make us settle higher goals,” explained Cristina Salinas, quality manager at Continental Las Colinas.


TECHNOLOGY APPLIED IN GUANAJUATO

FIPASI plant:
Wheel sensors for ABS Brakes system, engine sensors and transmission sensors.  Manufacture goes from plastic injection, assemblies and crimp and welding operations for internal components of sensors.

Las Colinas plants: machining for the brakes system of actuation systems, machining and assembly, drum brakes and windshield wiper components.

EXPANSIONS AND NEW PROJECTS


Continental FIPASI

•    To Renovate: 550 square meters
•    Areas: production, tool shop, maintenance room, injection room, testing laboratories and production offices
•    Expansion: 470 square meters
•    Areas: recruitment center

Continental Las Colinas

•    Recognize: internal awards, superior quality, perfect launches, research and development initiatives
•    Its operation grows with more than 1,200 people
•    Incorporate new leading-edge technologies to nine OEM's