Mitsubishi Electric is the global technology leader in research and development of elevators and escalators, boasting the Guinness World Record in vertical speed at 750 meters per second in Yokohama’s Landmark Tower in Japan. Its Mexican subsidiary, Mitsubishi Electric de Mexico S.A. of C.V., has for over 30 years facilitated this technology. Mauricio Chan reports.
Founded in 1976 under the name Melco de Mexico S.A. of C.V., MEM has for three decades set the standard for integrated technological solutions and consulting services in a plethora of industrial sectors. The company’s first major assignment in Mexico was the fabrication and implementation of traction systems for the Mexico City metro in 1979. Since then, MEM has produced traction systems for over 100 trains and 200 trolleys in Mexico, while also manufacturing over 3,000 traction motors for the Long Island Railroad in New York City. During this period MEM has also diversified its product offerings to include elevators and escalators, numeric control services, as well as automation solutions for various industries. The company adopted its current name in 2005 to take advantage of the prestige and history inherent in the Mitsubishi Electric brand.
As a fully-owned subsidiary of Japan-based Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, MEM works hand in hand with its parent company despite geographical barriers. In fact, all research and development is performed in Asia, and only when products are perfected and ready to launch to the public are the fabrication tasks transferred over to the Mexican branch of the enterprise. Betti explains: “Research and development plans are kept secret; projects are not released until all technical, technological, and safety factors are taken into account.” The most recent product launch took place last year and involved the release of the NexWay high-speed elevator series, a compact, light, and energy-efficient product line that is easy to implement in various forms of constructions.
In Mexico MEM has a strong base in Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and the region south of the Mayan Riviera, with the main manufacturing plant located in the state of Querétaro. This plant alone houses over 300 full-time employees and expands across 37,400 square meters. The facility also has a semiautomatic production line that features computerized numerical controls specifically designed to adhere to Japanese standards. To this date, over 4,000 systems and components have been manufactured and exported across Latin and North America from Querétaro. Similar to its research division, production is highly dependent on the operations in Asia. “We import a lot of equipment,” notes Betti. “We have product lines that are manufactured almost 100 percent locally, some that feature mixed components, and others whose elements are imported in their entirety.”
Current product lines feature horizontal transport, which entails traction systems for trains and trolleys, and vertical transport such as elevators and escalators. Many of these offerings, notes Betti, can be adapted to the clients’ specifications. Add-ons to the vertical transport product lines, for instance, include traffic prediction systems, verification systems through identification control access keys or cards and preparation for video monitoring systems. Notes Betti: “Mitsubishi offerings have different elements that add to their convenience and comfort and which serve to satisfy the specific needs of our clients.”
Finally, MEM offers clients immaculate service when it comes to overseeing projects. Its highly trained workforce of engineers, technicians, industrial designers, and architects provide permanent supervision over operations, processes, and logistics affiliated with each individual project.
SETTING THE STANDARD
Despite the gamut of production processes MEM oversees, the one constant that remains is the high quality of its output. In fact, Betti believes that the company’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and the reliability of its equipment are what make it stand out amidst its competitors. He notes: “The quality of our product is among the best in the world, if not the best. We are an extremely proud company that places great emphasis on quality control and verification departments that other corporations do not have. Thus, we only deliver equipment that has been exhaustively tested so that we can guarantee the safety and security of our clients.”
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation as a whole allocates a significant portion of its budget – in the range of 18 to 30 percent – to the research and development of more efficient and better processes. Its global infrastructure allows for the testing of vertical transports at speeds of up to 1,200 meters per minute, and in Mexico alone clients have access to workshops, training facilities, and showrooms that permit them to test systems in a functional state. New global trends have also pushed the company to produce more energy-efficient products. As Betti says, “All our elevators feature VVVF (variable voltage variable frequency) systems, which translate into lower energy costs for buildings and lower electric bills for our clients.”
MEM adheres to ISO: 9001 2000 standards – ensuring quality management systems – as well as its Japanese counterpart JIS, or Japanese International Standard. Furthermore, the enterprise has been ratified in Mexico by PROFEPA, the Federal Ombudsman’s Office for Environmental Protection, as an environmentally responsible organization. The corporation also utilizes the MET (Materials, Energy, and Toxicity) method to guarantee its adherence to international environmental specifications. This last initiative, notes Betti, is one MEM is extremely proud of. “Mitsubishi Electric has placed great weight on environmental policies that aim to protect nature. We have very specific programs on which the company releases an annual detailed report.”