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Latin America’s Hot Spot for Industrial Technology

What do Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have in common? They are all investing in Mexico. And they are not alone. From automotive to aerospace to renewable energies and beyond, Mexico is a top destination for global investment and Industry 4.0/IIoT technology. Take a tour with Pepperl+Fuchs through this dynamic country, and see why Mexico has become a center for innovation.

As partner country at the 2018 Hannover Messe, Mexico took center stage to show off its strengths as a hub for industrial technology. But being the world’s 15th largest economy, 13th largest exporter, and a key global manufacturing location, Mexico is used to the attention. Foreign direct investment is on the rise, and OEMs are lining up to build manufacturing sites here—including most of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers. In addition to automotive, companies from industries as diverse as the country itself are investing in Mexico.

Pepperl+Fuchs North America staff at Hannover Messe 2018:
Pepperl+Fuchs North America staff at Hannover Messe 2018:

Rene Morales (right), director of factory automation at Pepperl+Fuchs Mexico/Latin America, poses with his colleagues Victor Chalico, Javier Cabello, and Bob Smith (left to right) at the 2018 Hannover Messe.

But it is not only Mexico’s economy that is attractive. Take it from someone who knows: Ed Myers, sales specialist at Pepperl+Fuchs North America, has been driving the company’s mobile exhibit through the country for years. Starting with his first trip in 1997, he fell in love with Mexico while visiting almost every corner of the country in Pepperl+Fuchs’ giant showroom on wheels. “My favorite place to visit is probably Guanajuato. But everywhere I go, I am always struck by the friendliness of the people I meet and work with—oh, and the food is outstanding!” says Myers. From street tacos in Mexico City to machaca in the north to cochinita pibil in Yucatán, the country’s diversity is also reflected in its cuisine.   

Myers takes the mobile exhibit to customers from various factory automation industries, with a strong focus on automotive. “With the auto industry booming, there are a lot of opportunities to work with engineers as they design new plants or upgrade existing ones,” says Myers. A visit from the mobile exhibit gives customers a first-hand look at the breadth of technologies offered by Pepperl+Fuchs, and it gives local Pepperl+Fuchs sales staff an opportunity to introduce new products and help customers solve problems. Myers adds: “Many times, we end up spending an entire day with customers. What starts with a tour through our exhibit leads to a tour of their plant and in-depth discussions about how to make their operations smarter and more efficient.”

Pepperl+Fuchs North America's mobile exhibit
Pepperl+Fuchs North America's mobile exhibit

Pepperl+Fuchs North America's mobile exhibit

Automotive and Beyond

The automotive industry is a major strength of the Mexican economy, and it is also the biggest market for Pepperl+Fuchs factory automation technology in Mexico. One factor that sets the Mexican automotive industry apart is that the entire supply chain is represented. In addition to the car manufacturers themselves, tier 1 suppliers—companies that make everything from tires to seat belts—also have a large presence in the country. “Having everything you need to build a car right in front of you makes it much easier to do business,” explains Rene Morales, director of factory automation at Pepperl+Fuchs Mexico/Latin America. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Pepperl+Fuchs México S.A. de C.V., the company’s subsidiary in the heart of Mexico City. With a growing team of over 30 employees, Pepperl+Fuchs is growing just like Mexico itself. 

Morales credits recent government reform and trade-friendly policy for the growing economy. And it is not just automotive that is on the rise. Other key growth industries include aerospace, electronics, and medical devices. And Mexico is recognized as an innovation hub, with top rankings in the renewable energies and digital transformation indexes. This positions it well to take advantage of the Industry 4.0/IIoT revolution.

There is also a lot of optimism in Mexico’s process automation industries. Steadily rising oil prices are starting to reawaken the oil and gas industry, and there is extraordinary growth potential in life science and steel, among others. “Little by little, long-planned oil and gas projects are finally starting back up,” says Daniel Gutierrez, director of process automation at Pepperl+Fuchs Mexico. “Meanwhile, we have been excited to see growth in other industries, such as pharmaceutical, that are perfect partners for Pepperl+Fuchs.” Current projects involving Pepperl+Fuchs process automation technologies include a new coking plant at a major refinery near Mexico City.  

The Path Ahead

Daniel Gutierrez and Rene Morales agree that the future is bright for Mexico’s economy. “Pepperl+Fuchs has built great partnerships over our 25 years here, and we have big plans for the future,” promises Gutierrez. “Taking part in the Hannover Fair this year has given us a lot of ideas as we chart our path for the years ahead,” adds Morales. And Ed Myers hopes he can go back to Mexico soon: “There’s a new restaurant in Monterrey that I want to check out!”   

Mexico City

Mexico at the 2018 Hannover Messe

Every year, Hannover Messe--the world's largest trade show for industrial technology--features a partner country. The selected country has the opportunity to present its latest technologies and investment opportunities to global decision-makers from government and industry. This year, the spotlight fell on Mexico.

Learn more at the Hannover Messe website