The aerospace manufacturing sector in Mexico continues to grow.
Chromalloy, an original equipment manufacturer supplier of production parts and advanced repairs for gas turbines used in aviation, unveiled its fully operational, new state-of-the-art gas turbine engine machining facility in Guaymas, Mexico. The new location is now producing first article test production on aircraft engine components.
Thomas Mepham, CEO of Sequa Corporation, said Chromalloy's 36,000 square-foot manufacturing center is a dedicated precision machining facility for OEM new engine components. Chromalloy is a subsidiary of Sequa Corporation.
"We are doubling our previous Guaymas capacity and growing the workforce."
"This brand-new plant is a significant part of our growth strategy as a global supplier in the new engine supply chain," Mepham said. "We are doubling our previous Guaymas capacity and growing the workforce."
The new facility will begin producing customer orders as early as January 2016. By the end of 2016, Chromalloy plans to triple its Guaymas workforce to 250 employees. The new manufacturing center, which leverages Lean and Operational Excellence principles and workflow designs, has the potential to produce up to 68,000 gas turbine engine components each year.
The new Guaymas facility provides supplies precision machining on new production, and high and low pressure gas turbine engine components. The company's customers are manufacturers of aircraft engines, as well as heavy industrial gas turbines.
Chromalloy also operates a gas turbine engine component repair center in Mexicali, Mexico. However, the company likely chose to replace its existing 17,000 square-foot facility and remain in Guaymas due to the many offshoring advantages the area provides to the aerospace manufacturing sector, among others.
For one, the Roca Fuerte manufacturing community, where Chromalloy will continue to operate, is located in Guaymas. Combined with the benefits of working with a shelter service in the area, the company will continue to tap into a variety of other benefits.
Located roughly 80 miles from Hermosillo, the state capital of Sonora, Guaymas is home to one of the largest aerospace manufacturing clusters in the country. There are three main areas manufacturers such as Chromalloy consider when choosing to expand there:
- Economy: Companies that choose to manufacture in Guaymas have access to a competitively priced, yet highly skilled labor force. The city's proximity to the border grants affordable transportation of goods as well. Additionally, the area boasts low turnover rates.
- Infrastructure: Not only is the city 90 miles from the Hermosillo airport, it has a deep-water seaport, access to rail service and a highly desirable location on Mexico Interstate 15, which connects to U.S. Interstate 10.
- Education: The aerospace manufacturing sector demands a well-educated workforce due to the level of expertise required. Guaymas has 15 high schools, six universities and three technical trade schools. More importantly, local educational institutions cater their programs to the needs of the industrial sector.
Building the case for aerospace manufacturing in Mexico
Chromalloy's expansion in Mexico is just one among many signs the aerospace manufacturing sector in the country is on the route toward continued growth. Coupled with a highly competitive cost structure, there are a number of factors that make the country attractive to businesses:
- A workforce that is experienced in rhw industry.
- A workforce with a strong focus on quality due to years of experience in other manufacturing sectors.
- Increased knowledge of AS9100 and Nadcap certification.
- Participation by the Mexican government to grow the sector.
Further, PwC's report, "Aerospace Industry in Mexico," speaks volumes about the growth and competitiveness of the industry. According to the report, Gross Domestic Product of the aerospace and defense industry grew more than 20 percent each year over a five-year period.
Additionally, PwC indicated Mexico's participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement encouraged some of the leading global companies within the industry to relocate there, which brought $3,183.7 million to the country between 1999 and 2014.
However, this surplus of investment didn't happen on its own. The Mexican government has gone above and beyond to make the country a competitive location for aerospace manufacturers. As the report noted, the government focused on talent management and established many research centers and institutions to serve the industry. PwC also credited a handful of technological breakthroughs that fueled the industry, including:
- Glass cockpit avionics.
- Composite materials.
- Lightweight engines.
- Ultra-large airliners.
As a result, Mexico's A&D manufacturing industry garnered a total revenue of $7.1 billion in 2013, which was a 9.7 percent increase from 2012. Additionally, Mexico has evolved from relying solely on the production of harness assembly to machining full structural aircraft components.
However, the greatest indicator of Mexico's success at fostering a productive aerospace manufacturing industry is the confidence companies like Chromalloy have displayed. By tapping into the offshoring advantages of manufacturing in Mexico and choosing a strategic location on Guaymas, the company is likely to see continued success for decades to come.