The aerospace Industry in Mexico has had an upturn the last years, it has grown at a rates of 16 %, well above the national average of the industrial development in the country; nevertheless, it is still a long way to go and thus consolidate as a country of aeronautic vocation, as it has happened with the automotive industry.
In order to reach that objective, it was created the National Center of Aeronautic Technologies (CENTA, by its Spanish initials,) which has a clear vision of complementing the installed capabilities of the sector together with eight Research Centers CONACyT members, the National Institute of the Entrepreneur, and the Government of the State of Queretaro among other organisms.
“What is sought is that CENTA by the sector’s nature, is to have a multidisciplinary approach, serving mainly to the aeronautic sector and in that sense is that through the Mexican Federation of Aerospace Industries a concrete request to the Federal Government for the creation of the center,” explained Felipe Rubio Castillo, director of the National Center of Aeronautic Technologies.
Due to the considerable growth of the sector in Queretaro, being the fourth destination on aeronautic foreign investment worldwide, it was decided to settle the CENTA in the State, with an investment of 254 million pesos, in a property land of 4.5 hectares and seven thousand square meters of construction, within the area of the Queretaro Intercontinental Airport.
CENTA allows serving the Industry serving the industry requirements with a first level infrastructure, as laboratories and testing center; and the most important, human capital, this means, consolidated researchers.
“What we want is an initial stage of the research and development process is to complement the manufacturing skills. The skills that the CENTA offers will be from technical services of high level until the application and generation of knowledge,” assured Felipe Rubio.
He commented that in order to reach the CENTA objectives qualified human capital is required a factor that has been found in Queretaro through the UNAQ.
The CENTA seeks combining the skills of the SMEs and big great companies to increase their industrial and technology capabilities. That is the case of the company Horizontec, incubated within the facilities, which is developing the airplane Halcon H1 (Hawk H1,) of low wing, two-seater, mini engine intended for training. This company has the idea of generating a plant for the manufacture of these airplanes, as well as having a training plant of them and a pilot school. The CENTA is providing the process of optimizing the design.
“We have accompanied the digital design of their models in the part of fluid mechanics, structural design, etc., which in addition of reviewing the original model, it is passing to composite material, this means that it is a lighter and resistant material, and that the manufacture process could be industrialized in a more efficient manner,” said the director of the CENTA.
As one of its structural pillars, the CENTA will have the generation and application of knowledge, from the technological services part, as well as to collaborate with the aeronautical authority and provide support in the suppliers’ chain to avoid the export of pieces to provide certain treatments.
“The idea is that in a future, CENTA will have the capability and international validation to issue certificates, that will take time, but these issues require a group of specialists, equipment; a series of requirements to certify a component,” Felipe Rubio said.
He explained that CENTA will operate as a consortium, from which each one of the integrated Research Centers will provide some of their experience to the resolution of requirements of the requesting companies; nevertheless, the installed infrastructure could also be occupied on demand.
“At the laboratory we have a computerized tomography, we have a last generation tomograph, it is the only say from the supplier that has the capacity of metrological integration of what it analyzes and the manometry resolution. We have an entire manufacturing area, mainly oriented to composited materials, an area of mechanical testing and high specification metals,” said the CENTA director.
Regarding the center capabilities, he said that there is an infrastructure to fulfill mechanical testing at testing tubes level in high level alloys for aviation engines turbines components; we have a part of environmental designs, saline chamber, of thermal shock; we have equipment to develop thermoplastic mixtures of resins, thermoplastic to do assays, mainly with incorporation Nano materials and Nano particles,” the directive said.
Likely, he indicated that there is equipment to determine the behavior of a material before fire conditions, which is an important part in order for airplanes to comply the flammability requirements in carpets, seats covers, cables, etc.
He assured that in these last years has been demonstrated that in Mexico has the capability to be introduced into the aeronautical sector in a strategic manner and we are just at the moment to consolidate it.
“It is necessary to form the conditions in order for Mexico to position in the sector, because there has to be clear that all are going forward. Mexico can continue advancing; it has to be done as the other countries. Now is Mexico’s moment to be in the sector in the future and CENTA is a grain of sand in the entire process,” Felipe Rubio ended.