Mexico's Automotive Industry Powers Forward,
Ipsen and Imesaza Aid Expansion
Author: Marcos Garcia Jimenez, Dipl.-Wirtsch. Ing.
Ipsen, the industry leader in heat treatment equipment, is working hand in hand with major suppliers from the European Automotive industry to successfully expand into Latin America's most interesting market: Mexico.
The new Imexaza SA de CV heat treatment plant in Mexico commissioned Ipsen to manufacture high-quality heat treatment equipment for them. Located northwest of Mexico City - near the famous "Carrerra Panamericana" transcontinental highway - in the city of Celaya (Guanajuato), Imexaza has begun operations in a 37,365 square feet (3,500 m2) production facility where they have already installed a series of Ipsen-built, two-ton capacity atmosphere furnaces. The location makes it a close neighbor to primary customer facilities, whose supporting shells for bearings are heat treated by Imexaza in the Ipsen-manufactured furnaces. Imexaza utilizes these furnaces to improve the metallurgical structure and mechanical properties of metallic materials through hardening, carburizing, carbonitriding and tempering.
Ipsen and Imexaza: Hand in Hand
Mexico is not unknown to European companies as mechanical engineering companies and suppliers have had their own sales and distribution centers there for years. Spain's largest heat treatment company, Imesaza SA, has been investing in Mexico for some time.
Located in Vitoria-Gasteiz, near Bilbao in northern Spain, Imesaza runs a highly specialized production line involving the industrial heat treatment of various metals. The Imesaza Group is highly integrated with their strategic partners in the Automotive and Aerospace industries and works with them to refine their research and manufacturing processes. To further this integration, Imesaza is branching into Mexico under the name "Imexaza," and they are bringing Ipsen, their trusted partner in advanced heat treatment, with them. The Imexaza plant in Mexico is equipped with Ipsen furnaces, as well as trusted Ipsen process management and control systems.
Ipsen's atmosphere sealed quench furnaces can perform even the most difficult heat treatment processes necessary for producing complex drive-train elements.
Ipsen's Full Product Range in Action
At the Imexaza plant there are several two-ton capacity atmosphere sealed furnaces. In addition, every stage of the heat-treatment process can be monitored, controlled and documented with Ipsen's Carb-o-Prof® control systems.
Carb-o-Prof allows for comprehensive, intuitive monitoring and control of the heat treatment systems due to its particularly well-designed, user-friendly menus. It continuously provides accurate values from complex heat treatment processes, as well as helps achieve the desired material characteristics through easy-to-generate recipes and simulation technology.
Using the integrated C-Profile optimization, entire process segments can be successfully simulated and then programmed into the system for use. Internal algorithms also help identify and eliminate any faulty constraints so that cycle parameters can be changed to deliver targeted carburizing depth and surface carbon content before the process is even run. Once the cycle starts, the appropriate carbon levels can be further determined, controlled and adjusted throughout the continuous measurement of furnace temperature and atmosphere.
Ipsen Carbon-Sensor® oxygen probes are a key tool in this process and can be used in endothermic gas-based processes, such as Ipsen's HybridCarb® process, as well as in processes that use a direct furnace-generated atmosphere (e.g., the nitrogen-methanol process). Both of these processes are used throughout the world. Imesaza SA utilizes the nitrogen-methanol process, while the new Imexaza plant runs endothermic gas-based processes. Due to this range, Imesaza has realized the importance of having a heat treatment partner such as Ipsen, whose equipment demonstrates expertise over both processes.
The new plant, Imexaza, finds it particularly valuable that Ipsen's equipment precisely controls the protective gas atmosphere for each individual load type. This plays an important role when working with high-quality technical components with complex surface geometries as parts have to be consistently and reliably heat treated to meet all detailed specifications. A clear example of this is the constant-velocity joints for automotive drive shafts which, with their diverse concave and convex surfaces, require a particularly complex treatment in addition to a high degree of accurate reproducibility over a multitude of load cycles.
The collective know-how between Imesaza and Ipsen includes 65 plus years of expertise and application, all of which is now being applied in Mexico, making it possible to manufacture the highest quality components and tools. The executive board of the Imesaza Group underscores "that the technological support we get from Ipsen's process experts is reason enough on its own to continue this cooperation."
Marcos Garcia Jimenez, Ipsen Sales Manager for Spain and Mexico, adds his own perspective, which results from extensive experience in both markets: "Mexico is becoming more and more important for the established companies in the Automobile industry. It has long ago made the transition from manufacturing cheap components to high-tech production. Our catalog of the most sophisticated heat treatment equipment in the world, combined with our on-site service, allows us to offer proactive support and help the Automobile industry produce top-quality components directly in Mexico."
Due, in part, to Mexico's consistent performance and production, a variety of well-known brands are engaging in a great deal of research and development and producing highly complex components in Mexico. This is not a new phenomenon. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have been working there since the 1930s, Volkswagen and Nissan since the 1960s. Currently, along with supplying the Mexican operations of Audi, VW and Mercedes, Imexaza also works with renowned suppliers CIE Automotive and ZF, as well as the turbocharger expert ITP.
Imesaza, founded in 1965, is a leader in the heat and thermochemical treatment sectors. Located in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Imesaza has the increased ability to serve a wide range of regions. Recently, they introduced a sister company in Mexico, Imexaza SA de CV. With their modern heat treatment facilities they are able to offer customers a diverse range of processes, extensive support from their Management and Quality Departments and comprehensive, first-class customer service.
Ipsen designs and manufactures industrial vacuum furnaces, atmosphere furnaces and supervisory control systems for a wide variety of thermal processing markets, including: Aerospace, Commercial Heat Treating, Medical, Energy and Automotive. With production locations in Europe, America and Asia, along with representation in 34 countries, Ipsen is committed to providing support for customers worldwide. Choosing Ipsen means choosing a partner in success.