By Pierre Tanguay
Senior VP OEM Operations for North America at Wheelabrator
Mexico’s history as an important hub for the global automotive industry goes back almost 100 years: to 1925, when Ford established a manufacturing base in the country. It has gone through its ups and downs since, but helped by a strategic geographical position, a strong industrial tradition, and a myriad of free trade agreements, the sector has been experiencing a long boom period over the last decade.
As part of the team who built up Wheelabrator’s presence in Mexico, I’ve witnessed this exciting time for industry right on the ground in Monterrey. But I can now also see that Mexico’s industrial boom doesn’t stop at Automotive, with plenty of other sectors expanding. Here’s my round-up (with a slight blast equipment bias).
Mexico has long established itself not just as an assembly location, but as a place for advanced manufacturing and R&D. It’s no surprise then, that Aerospace has seen a similar boom to Automotive in the country, with a huge increase of companies setting up manufacturing facilities for aircraft components.
According to a recent report by PWC, the average growth rate for the Aerospace sector’s Gross Domestic Product was 21% between 2010 and 2014, far outstripping GDP growth of the country overall. The number of people employed in the industry doubled in the same period. And to add a very “Wheelabrator” indicator to the mix: a lot of demand for our airblast equipment from our Monterrey facility is coming from Aerospace companies.
Another sector that has gained momentum is, as most of us will know, Energy. Following radical reforms of Mexico’s energy markets, including the breaking up of longstanding monopolies, new investment is now coming in from oil and gas companies and adjacent industries.
A growing energy sector needs improved infrastructure, and we’re already seeing this happen: an extension of the pipeline network is planned, new tanker cars are needed. The latter coincides with changes in regulations for railcars across North America, which will further boost the this sector.
Overall, industrial clusters around key cities are getting denser as supply chains contract and converge. Far from staying within niche sectors, Mexico’s industry has reached a point where growth and investment can spill over, creating a broader, more sustainable network of industry.
From the perspective of an industrial equipment manufacturer with links into many key sectors, the picture is positive and exciting. After 10 years operating in Mexico, I firmly believe that both infrastructure and skills base created in the boom are the strongest in our industry, and that our journey in the country has only just begun.
Wheelabrator has a 2800m2 manufacturing and sales facility in Monterrey, Mexico, employing 40 people. 150 pieces of equipment ranging from standard to custom machines have been produced, over the facilities 10 years on the ground.
Find your local Wheelabrator contact here.