The region has put together all of the elements necessary for the growth of a Tijuana aerospace industry capable of manufacturing for both commercial and defense industry needs.
In terms of cost and quality, according to KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2014 study, Mexico is the place to be for competitively priced manufacturing in the aerospace industry. Among the nations with a significant global aerospace industry presence, Mexico leads the world in terms of its low-cost. The other countries ranking in the top five leaders in this category are:
- The Netherlands
In Competitive Alternatives 2014, KPMG ranked the United States at number nine and demonstrated that its aerospace manufacturing costs were, on average, close to 19% higher than those found throughout Mexico’s principle aerospace clusters. Within the Mexican industry, Tijuana aerospace cluster is Mexico’s oldest, as well as one of its most diverse.
One of the leaders in Mexico is the Tijuana aerospace sector
The Tijuana aerospace sector is a part of a bigger grouping of industry companies that permeate several other of the State’s leading industrial cities that include Mexicali, Tecate and Rosarito, which is the State’s youngest municipality. The total number of aerospace companies with operations in Baja California stood at approximately 60 at the end of 2014, while just over half of these companies comprise the Tijuana aerospace sector. Growth in the State’s overall aerospace industry has been significant in recent years in terms of both numbers of firms and employment generated. Since 2006, the growth of aerospace jobs in the State has averaged an annual 6%. Aerospace manufacturing for commercial, defense-industry and space-related uses.
Sophisticated products for a sophisticated market
The Tijuana aerospace sector, and the State sector as a whole, not only services the needs of the global commercial aviation industry, but also is heavily invested in production of parts for defense industry end uses. On the commercial aviation side of the equation, companies in the Tijuana aerospace sector produce a diversity of products that include:
- plate and harness assemblies
- controllers and potentiometers
- sensors and Controls
- aircraft interiors
- hydraulic valves
- fluid power components
Companies that provide services that address secondary processes such as anodize types 2 and 3 can also be found locally.
On the defense application side of the industry coin, the Tijuana aerospace sector is equipped to meet the sophisticated needs of this important market segment.
According to information published by the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, “45% of aerospace firms in Tijuana are currently manufacturing for defense-related applications,” and are producing parts such as sophisticated RF microwave products for not only defense related applications, but also for those that are linked to the exploration of space.
The Tijuana aerospace sector workforce is top notch and getting better
In order to meet the growing needs for well-educated and adequately trained employees, both Tijuana’s universities and technical schools have, over the years, developed their curriculums in response to industry requirements and needs. For instance:
- The Center for Higher and Technical Education (CETYS University) offers its students programs in both aerospace and mechanical engineering, as well as in aerospace design;
- Tijuana’s technical university, the Universidad Technologico de Tijuana offers programs that concentrate on the production of harnesses for aerospace and on mechatronic engineering;
- The University of Baja California launched a Center for Aerospace and Engineering Technology in 2009;
- CAST, or the Centro de Asistencia y Servicios Tecnológicos (CONALEP) has a program in place to train workers in all areas of precision machining.
In and out access with ease
Companies that manufacture in the Tijuana aerospace sector benefit from a geographic location that is propitious to meeting the challenges and demands of a just-in-time marketplace. The timely receipt of raw materials is attributable to the fact that there is not only a sizable, and growing, base of industry suppliers in Tijuana, but also a large base of companies that provide materials, components and assemblies that get incorporated into end products that are located in both Southern California, and its neighboring state, Arizona. Conversely, Tijuana aerospace sector firms can ship manufactured products to customers located in the US State of California in a matter of hours, and ensure delivery to just about anywhere in the country in a period of one full, and up to five, days.