Maquiladoras in Cd. Juárez embrace automation technology
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Important companies in Cd. Juárez have adapted strategies to automate production lines. Currently, the maquiladora industry is a leader and an example to follow for all types of companies that are looking to adapt automation.
Companies such as Genpact and Aptiv, which currently have facilities in Juárez, carry out automation practices that provide advantages not only for those who implement them, but for their employees and customers as well, practices that could help other companies do this type of transition.
Claudia Jiménez, manufacturing manager of Aptiv Plant I, said in an interview with Mexico Industry that automation is the use of new technologies that seek to incorporate improvements in the use of labor and, at the same time, the integration of greater specialization and knowledge on the part of the staff, which implies challenges, changes and new job opportunities.
She clarified that automating parts of the plant has been challenging, since they were not familiar with the technology. However, she acknowledged that there is good preparation from the part of personnel, technicians and engineers that help with these changes.
The investment in automated equipment has been high. On average, Jiménez calculated that the amount of investment in the last two years has been approximately US$20 million. However, she considered that the amount is well worth it, because it allows to minimize situations that also happen in other plants, such as the aspect of rotation.
“In the city, for two years, we had a strong turnover problem, when we have this level of dependence on labor and we started to implement these technologies, it is much easier to recover this investment,” Jiménez said.
So far, the Aptive Juárez I has automated two areas: Media Modules dedicated to assembly of modules for connection of USB to smart phones and Ford CD6, which is a hybrid between an electronic part and a traditional part of power plants. Also, they are working on a new project to automate the insertion of fuses that will begin at the end of 2018.
As for Genpact, automation is an undeniable reality that for five years has explored this way of working. They started with the initiative “Lean Digital” in which they sought to mix the fundamentals of their company with digitalization, which allowed them to evolve their way of doing business. This has made it go from being a service organization to an organization providing digital solutions.
The company has fully automated processes, performed by artificial intelligence. The software set has a combination and learning component (match and learning), which allows them to create their own algorithms of all the information that is provided and make decisions based on previous records. For Genpact, automation is a growing model not only in it, but in the industry in general.