A consortium for additive manufacturing in Mexico, also known as 3-D printing, has been formed with a capital investment of US $13.5 million in the South-Central state of Queretaro. This marks the first time that Mexican manufacturers will have access to machines that will allow them to perform an operation known as “electron beam melting.” Electron beam melting is a type of additive or 3-D printing, that is used specifically in the production of metal parts. The raw material used in additive manufacturing in Mexico is either metal powder or wire and is placed under a vacuum and fused together from heating by an electron beam. Parts are manufactured by melting metal powder, layer by layer. Three machines have been purchased by the consortium so far, giving manufacturers the ability to produce parts at high speed and to, in the process, train workers in their use.
The first consortium for additive manufacturing in Mexico is a part of the country’s Center of Engineering and Industrial Development (CIDES), and the National Society of Science and Technology (CONACYT). Also, working in conjunction with the aforementioned organizations is the state government of Queretaro, the Center for Advanced Technology (CIATEQ), and the Center for Research and Advanced Studies.
The goal of the collaboration between these entities is to create a consortium for additive manufacturing in Mexico that will serve to inject the most modern of technologies into the nation’s industrial sector.
Machinery for additive manufacturing in Mexico has not been available to industry due to the requirement of having the strong initial requirement of purchasing the 3-D printing technology. In addition to a high purchase price, it is costly to service and maintain this advanced technology. It is anticipated that additive manufacturing in Mexico will become widely used in Mexico’s aerospace sector.
Collaboration in Additive Manufacturing in Mexico
Currently, the consortium for additive manufacturing in Mexico is in the process of working with both private and public sector entities to develop and disseminate new technologies. There are projects in place at this time in which companies such as Caterpillar, GE Aviation and Siemens are involved. One of the areas in which the parties is working is in the development of powders to be used in 3-D printing for industry. In particular, GE Aviation is eager to have this manufacturing technique adopted by their Mexican manufacturing organization. This is the first time that GE is working on an additive manufacturing in Mexico project of this magnitude.
It is anticipated that additive manufacturing in Mexico will become commonplace. Because of this, it is imperative that the country’s workforce acquire the necessary skills to be able to master the processes involved in its implementation in the near future. The North American market for 3-D printing is exploding and industry watchers are predicting that Mexico will be a fast adopter of this technology. It is expected that growth of Mexico’s market for 3-D printing will grow at a compound rate of 27.3 percent from the present, through to the year 2022.