MONTERREY.- From the airport trip to the hotel located in the center of the city where we stayed, everything suggests that Monterrey is a thriving and modern city. Just look at the large industrial centers located on the outskirts of the urban area where large factories are erected. "We have a lot of investment and a lot of workforce is required; there are many people who move to this city in search of a better quality of life. All thanks to the nearby border with the United States, which encourages exports," said the versed taxi driver who was transporting us.
One of the reasons for this trip was precisely to visit the
computer factory that produces the largest volume of Amrica equipment and belonging to the number one manufacturer of PCs worldwide: Lenovo, which in the third quarter of the year had 24.4% of the world computer market, closely followed by HP with 23.6 per percent, according to estimates by Canalys.
In full growth
According to Hern Ramos, plant manager, "Monterrey's is one of Lenovo's largest factories in conjunction with Beijing's." The plant began operating in 2009 and derives all its production to the Americas, with the exception of Brazil, where Lenovo has another plant that supplies that country.
All types of computers are manufactured at the plant, from desktop computers, notebooks (including the line for gamers, Legion) to servers for data centers.
Currently, the plant employs 1500 people among operators, administrative staff and managers, but Lenovo already plans the expansion of the factory with a new wing that will open next year and, according to Ramos, "allow us to hire another 1500 people to arrive to 3,000 jobs and manufacture up to 7 million laptops a year. "
Personnel selection is done through a consulting firm, but the skills are tested in some performance tests that are performed within the factory. "In the plant 150 engineers work. In the case of the operators in charge of the assembly of computers, we try to be fast and know how to work in a team. Here we teach them everything; we train them in the assembly of computers and how they work in a production line ".
More than 2 million pcs a year
Everything that Lenovo produces in Monterrey is already commissioned and sold. The objectives for the month of October were 200,000 teams and it could be seen on a large panel composed of several monitors the amount that had been manufactured to date (October 15) and the number of failures they had, so that He could keep track of the work minute by minute.
The great production of the Monterrey plant is due to its strategic position, since it is located only two hours by car from the US border; In fact, 85% of the production goes to that country.
The 7 million notebooks to which the Monterrey factory aspires for next year will add to the more than 53 million computers (including desktops, workstations, all in one and notebooks) produced by the firm in its 23 plants throughout the world.
A fact that is not less: only 11 plants manufacture servers, since they require greater complexity. Monterrey's is one of them. There are 400,000 servers assembled each year "with zero quality defects," Ramos says proudly, adding that "we build servers for Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Uber, to name a few of our customers."
Before the consultation of the NATION on the equipment of Lenovo that are put on sale in our country, Ramos told us that "to Argentina we send desktops from the Monterrey plant, while the notebooks that are sold there are manufactured in China".
Tests and more tests
The plant has a laboratory where different tests are carried out on the new computer models: from temperature and vibration tests for 24 hours in a row to stress all the components and monitor the results. Also tests of falls that allows to measure the impact and the resistance of the cardboard of the boxes.
All this serves to perform quality evaluations before starting mass production.
They join 300 pcs per hour
With a timing of 300 assembled computers per hour, it is assumed that the plant must be highly robotized for the manufacture of PCs. None of that: in our tour we could see that almost all the work is done manually and online. production "Of the operators, 55% are women; because according to our assembly tests they are faster than men," Ramos said.
Manual work has a reason: "The variability of computer models makes robotization expensive for now," says Jos Medrano, supervisor of the production line and our guide inside the factory.
The production begins with an empty cabinet and arrives on the other side where computers are packed in boxes and placed by hand and telgopor; internal components are previously added as motherboard, microprocessor, memory, among other things.
At the end, and randomly, computers are checked and tested. "If something fails, we review the entire series. The fault is not always serious: it may be a badly attached label, but for us it is important that the product leaves the factory impeccably" shares Medrano.
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