Mexican robotics industry on the rise

Mexico's manufacturing industry has received a jolt as companies based on the country are investing more in robotics, which is helping lay the foundation for improved automation in the country.

03/11/2017


When thinking about the future of robotics, two countries often spring to mind first: China and the United States. China has been noted for its aggressive pursuit of robotic automation, while the U.S. remains the world's fourth-largest single market for robotics. However, there are many important stories in robotics going on beyond these two superpowers.

One country in particular is Mexico, which saw its robotic sales grow 119% in 2015. Though much smaller than its NAFTA partners U.S. and Canada, its total robotic sales exceeded 6,000 units that year. This may be only the beginning when it comes to automation in Mexico.

Robots changing the game for Mexican manufacturing 

Mexico's manufacturing sector is growing fast and attracting a strong share of direct foreign investment. Industries such as automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, and medical devices all offer distinct opportunities to implement cutting-edge robotic automation.

With robotic sales eclipsing previous records in 2015, Mexico is positioning itself as a resurgent manufacturing powerhouse. Its automotive industry alone has spurred remarkable growth, with new plants opening and existing plants expanding throughout the nation.

Major automotive brands are now investing billions of dollars in Mexico. This, in turn sparks more rapid expansion of operations from smaller automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Using robotics, companies across the entire value chain can cut costs, raise quality, and improve the safety of their workforce.

A new age in Mexican robotics

In May 2015, noted automation system supplier ATI opened its first Mexico office. Prior to that big move, ATI already had substantial sales in the country. Robotic tool changers, finishing tools, and other products were beginning to appear in Mexican manufacturing plants, so the new location was a natural next step.Mexico is not merely importing foreign robots, but increasingly designing its own.

Companies like Genesis ICESA are pushing the envelope by designing and fabricating the most sophisticated systems from right inside Mexico. Genesis ICESA is the Mexican subsidiary of an established global enterprise.

The future of Mexican self-sufficiency in the robotics space depends on maintenance of strong trade relations and the continuing development of a highly-skilled workforce. With increasing global interest in its powerful manufacturing sector, both factors are on Mexico's side.

If development continues, Mexico could easily become a global dynamo in the robotics space—with output and innovation far exceeding what its relatively small size might suggest.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Industries' Association (RIA) Robotics Online Blog. RIA is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to improving the regional, national and global competitiveness of the North American manufacturing and service sectors through robotics and related automation. The RIA is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.



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