Concepts such as: Internet of Things (IoT,) connectivity, digitalization, automation or big data, among others, are terms that start to be adopted by collaborators from companies preparing for the transition to the so called Industry 4.0 or Fourth Industrial Revolution.


This phenomena of digital transformation applied to the production Industry, seeks the efficient automation of processes, allowing a better production in less time, without the need of substitution human workforce, therefore their knowledge and experience is used to add value to the finished product.


San Luis Potosi works in adopting Industry 4.0


Since 2015, the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) meant a new business model to transform operations of any industry.  According to figures announced by “Mobility Report” from Ericsson, it is estimated that IoT will be connecting 28,000 million objects to internet for 2020, which go from personal consumption goods, smart watches, automobiles, home appliances, industrial machinery and its processes.


“It is a subject in all business areas such as provide a bank service, the collection of cards through a mobile, before everything was manual and in the services subject we are advancing in digitalization, and in the Industry we automate processes,” said Gustavo Puente, secretary of Economic Development.


According with data from the McKinsey Global Institute, it is estimated that automation could increase the growth of global productivity between 0.8 % and 1.4 % per year; therefore companies installed in the entity of San Luis such as Continental Automomtive SLP, ABB, Bosch, GM, BMW, Mercurio, among others, are working with this technological tool.


“Mercurio is a company from San Luis Potosi seeking to grow and acquire these processes; therefore they are working in a project in order for their new plant having automated areas.  We have one of the Continental factories that implement automation to the possible extent; therefore ABB manufactures products through automatization and digitalization systems, a Honeywell is also expert in automatization systems and of services; they are big companies immersed and go together with everything that Industry 4.0 means,” said Gustavo Puente.


Aguascalientes and the Fourth Industrial Revolution


Although we still cannot mention a company that completely operates in this new scheme in the entity, the fact is that most of them are seeking this innovation.


Regarding this, Jose Luis Macias said, president of the Mexican Chamber of the Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technologies (CANIETI, by its Spanish initials) that in the state some companies are implementing these technologies from Industry 4.0 in their processes.


“There are somethings that have not been completely developed, this has not allowed an Industry to be totally ‘Smart Factory,’ to reach this it is necessary that your supply chain, TIL2 and TIL3, also must be inside the same automation level,” said the head of CANIETI.


One of the strong characteristics of Industry 4.0 is the real time information and automatic decision making, therefore it is important that the entire chain of a company can offer and answer this data flow need.


Likewise, Macias said that: “Collaboration is needed, we as a technology company need to understand and recognize my customer’s business, those of us who develop technology, believe that things are in a way, we standardize processes, but in fact each industry has its own variables.  They know their business, we of automation, we must work from a collaborative structure in both senses and not unilaterally.”


Aguascalientes is a state of technological nature, it currently has the 4th level nationwide in technology development and, CANIETI offers automation and training services for the technological development that promotes the Industry in the area.


Introduction of digital technologies in plants.


Industry 4.0 offers a new vision, has the support of the technology that allows transforming the energy and manufacturing sectors, connecting the product in a complete comprehensive value chain.


In companies as Continental Automotive SLP, transition is gradual, since it implies technology investments and training of the entire personnel.


“Challenges are economic, because they represent and investment in talent search, training and forefront technology equipment.  Regarding collaborators, there is a training plan that is reflected in a competences matrix designed for each work position,” said Alonso Esquafino, manager of Continental Automotive SLP.


The German company has incorporated equipment increasingly automated, what has benefited in the productive processes to carry out in a more efficient and competent manner when using forefront technology.


“It benefits in reaching a high quality level in our products, quickness in manufacturing, safety in operations, among others; being some technologies fundamental in Industry 4.0: Wireless communication among devices, robotics, computers control (PLC,) industrial communication networks, SCADA systems, vision systems and CNC high precision machining,” explained the manager of Continental Automotive SLP.


Education applied to Smart Industry


The head of the Ministry of Economic Development (SEDECO, by its Spanish initials) shared that part of the work being done in the dependency to support the transition from Industry 4.0, is to promote education.


“Also Universities and Technical Schools have to change to 4.0, they cannot continue with the traditional systems, neither with programs, we have to be more demanding and flexible, to be updated, adapting to what is happening.  The Universidad Politecnica had an update on its workshops, aiming to train students in automation subjects,” said the head of SEDECO.


Meanwhile, Luis Fernando Nino, coordinator of Systems and Industrial Technologies Engineering from the Universidad Politecnica de San Luis Potosi, considers that the next graduates are provided with the knowledge in manufacturing areas, computers and telecommunications, updating them in the integration of the technology in industrial systems.


“With these three large areas and with a teamwork, we can address technology transfer projects where the industry 4.0 concept is already involved.  From my point of view, we will be ending with w Cyberphysical Systems career where we will have this set of computer technologies, of manufacturing with communication, and we will graduate professionals in the area,” ended Luis Fernando Nino.


The scope of this knowledge will bring advances in the job positions, customized products for customers, Smart cities, among others.


“I consider that the technological transfer of a country is done gradually and naturally.  This effort of Industry 4.0 is to promote and broadcast that the concept is already here, it is not that the future will be reaching us, but that it reached us and we must start worrying about these new technologies,” the professor said.


In addition, the SEDECO supports the “Mexican Model of Dual Formation,” in which youngsters from the academy have a working exchange with the company to apply the knowledge and acquire experience.


“The challenge of the Government will be to set the Medium-High and High Educational System at height in terms of Industry 4.0, the bad thing is that we do not reach the governments and educational systems to implement it when this is happening faster,” said Gustavo Puente, head of SEDECO.

While, the gap for Industry 4.0 to develop in Aguascalientes is getting shorter; for this the Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes (UAA) has the Smart Computers career.  In addition, the Universidad Tecnologica El Retono has the career of Digital Design, who has applications in such industry.


SMEs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution


Mexico is part of this revolution with its growth; in Forbes was published that only in the Mexican Republic there are more than 4 million small and medium companies (SMEs,) that generate 72 % jobs and provide 52 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)  These businesses are the ones making the country competitive, attract investments and strength the industries.


“An enormous challenge is to upload the SMEs, for them to be really competitive to make, even, services providers of these medium companies; how I can reach the SMEs: be prepared and ready to be competitive in quality times and costs, to make it automated and for it to be part of the market of big and medium companies,” said the head of the SEDECO.


SMEs are heading to the development of strategies for their growth, since as the National Survey on Productivity and Competitiveness from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises survey done by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI, by its Spanish initials,) the National Institute of the Entrepreneur (INADEM, by its Spanish initials,) and the National Bank of Foreign Trade (BANCOMEXT, by its Spanish initials) indicates that more than 40 % of the medium companies in Mexico have as priority seeking improvements in their processes in order to be more competitive.


“In San Luis Potosi this change is being given, this implies challenges starting on technical schools and Universities to achieve integrating the value chains of these large companies to MSMEs, as well as to provide knowledge to the entire companies’ personnel and train them,” noted Gustavo Puente.