Mexican companies in the metalworking industry, which account for around 14 percent of the country´s manufacturing GDP, coexist in a tough economic environment, marked by strong competition from Asian products and the debilitated growth of their foreign customers, such as the United States.
Improving the efficiency of industrial processes and gaining competitive advantage are essential for the survival of the sector. So it has been understood by Laura Peña, a young Nano technologist whose new lubricant fluids could provide substantial savings for the sector.
This industry is faced with many friction-based processes, which can cause the deterioration of working tools, in turn affecting the quality of the final product by means of imperfections and flaws. Laura’s proposal for companies is a cost-effective and efficient energy-saving option that would reduce maintenance costs and machine degradation and improve the final product. In addition it would reduce emissions and the use of substances which are highly contaminating and difficult to recycle, such as cutting fluids, greases and conventional lubricants.
Peña´s research has led to several publications and has been presented by her team at national and international congresses, such as the International Conference on Material Wear held in Portland, USA, in April of this year. It has also involved collaborations with foreign research centers (Rice University in the U.S. and the Institute of Sustainable Technologies in Radom, Poland) and lead thesis students involved in the project under Peña ´s supervision to be nominated for the 2012 State Youth Award in Mexico.