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Sonora: Giving Rise to the Aerospace Manufacturing Industry

The state of Sonora maintains supply chain clusters that support overall aerospace manufacturing growth.
28 Sep 2016

In the past decade, aerospace manufacturing has become one of the fastest growing industry in Mexico. Specifically, aerospace supply chain clusters help sustain Mexico’s overall manufacturing productivity. Included in the top 2 Mexican aerospace clusters the state of Sonora maintains supply chain clusters that support overall industry growth. Clusters function as a network of partnerships working in the same space or region that foster collaboration between government, schools, and private industry. Aerospace clusters implement complex production and technological skills. These regions advance the knowledge and efficiency of the industry.

Coordinated strategies from supply chain companies in the state of Sonora contribute quality turbine and engine components production from accessibility to materials, best practices, and performance. The Economic Development Council for Sonora (EDCS) worked to bring in industry specialists to provide resources to companies manufacturing turbines and engine components. Implementing a cluster specialization allows accessibility to materials, and provides a conducive business environment. The clusters are comprised of 64 companies that operate in Sonora and have acquired top certifications like AS9100.

Sonora has become a competitive region for aerospace manufacturing, specifically in the city of Guaymas where Rolls-Royce has a supply chain office, Williams International, and Ellison Surface Technologies, to name a few, have helped build a connection between key suppliers in Mexico and enhance the aerospace cluster. The Offshore Group Director of Market Development Mike Smith, describes Sonora’s cluster as a “successful evolution because Rolls-Royce saw an opportunity in local capabilities and decided this is where they need to establish a department of excellence.” The mature workforce has given rise to many opportunities of growth in the region.

Skills acquired in the cluster facilitate natural expansion into other aerospace structures, and strengthen the need for aerospace manufacturing. Sonora fosters tier 1 and tier 2 companies that provide precision machining, casting, and forging, along with electrical systems that include harnesses, wiring, cables and connectors. Future expansion into various aerospace structures is a “natural evolution of commodities that come from specialization in turbine engines,” Smith states. As the value chain of engine components improves, more knowledge and skills are acquired to accommodate new parts and higher skilled manufacturing.

The development of knowledge and skills over the past decade has enabled Sonora to leverage their talent and become a leading competitor in Mexico. Over 10,500 people of various skill levels work in the aerospace industry and 29,203 students were enrolled in Sonoran engineering and technology programs in 2015. With an established aeronautical background and a growing engineering pipeline, Sonora is gearing up for technology advancements in the aerospace manufacturing sector.


Along with an informed workforce and education system, the Sonoran government understands the importance of maintaining the aerospace industry, and has boosted efforts to promote and stay informed of industry advancements. Smith states how the government “tends to bring in important airshows and events.” The government’s support for the industry enables them to leverage their advantages as a border state by expounding on their infrastructure reform and international ports. With these added connections to the United States and the rest of the world, Sonora has become a hub for the aerospace manufacturing industry.

The Sonoran aerospace clusters are comprised of various factors contributing to their success. Industry production, evolution in product knowledge, advanced skills, government support, and location are part of Mexico’s future aeronautical growth. As aerospace manufacturing is on the rise, the future for supply chain clusters in Mexico looks promising.

To see first-hand the benefits that Sonora has to offer, join us at the Engine Forum Sonora and Aerostructures Meeting Sonora in Hermosillo, Sonora. Contact The Offshore Group for more information.

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