The Future of Automotive Manufacturing: Moving Towards Digital Planning and Smart Manufacturing

Article by Niranjan Thiyagarajan, Frost & Sullivan

LONDON, Sept. 13, 2012 — (PRNewswire) — With tightening margins and fierce competition in the industry, automotive manufacturers are working heavily on optimising manufacturing processes in order to reduce costs and improve flexibility and time to market. The future of automotive manufacturing is likely to focus around key terms such as "Produce on demand", "Process Standardization & Integration" and "Integrated Logistics".

From the current processes used in manufacturing the industry is expected to move towards a Digital Planning/Manufacturing with the aim of increasing efficiency without having to add personnel on the floor. On the other hand, new technologies such as Magnesium Hot Forming, Liquid Hot Isostatic Pressing, or Plasma Spray Coating amongst others are expected to find increased usage. OEMs consider body in white and powertrain manufacturing to be most important for integrating innovative technologies and processes.

Automotive manufacturers are continuously moving towards a greater degree of automation in the body assembly process. Robots can achieve higher levels of volumes and precision than their human counterparts. German OEMs for instance have achieved almost 95 per cent automation in the body in white assembly. One of the leading drivers for this shift is the safety of factory workers, as it reduces the risk of exposure to physical hazards.

Efforts focus on making body in white lighter and more modular in design and major OEMs have set clear targets on weight reduction for the future. Important to consider though is how this is expected to affect the manufacturing process itself, as suppliers develop smarter and more lighter machines that can be easily relocated throughout the assembly line and can be adapted  to work with different platforms. For example, laser welding is an important area of weight saving (22 per cent reduction in weight on the Up) and can be used to weld parts comprising different shapes and materials as well. 

Over the years the focus on powertrain manufacturing has been the switch to aluminium for the engine blocks, but already manufacturers are looking at the next wave of materials such as compacted graphite Iron. BMW for instance has developed engine blocks from a composite magnesium-aluminium alloy at its Landshut plant in Germany. With the environmental implications of manufacturing becoming ever more important, "near net shape" or "zero material loss" is increasingly heard across board rooms in the industry.

The focus is not just on reducing material however, but also on the number of operations required to manufacture components. For example, the average number of operations to manufacture a crankshaft in Europe is 15 as against 25 in China. Rising labour costs are an issue that is pushing manufacturers to a higher degree of automation, even in these emerging markets. There has also been an increased use in machines with parallel kinematic for higher flexibility on smart assembly lines.

Automotive manufacturers have to take into consideration a number of socio-political market factors to readapt manufacturing processes for the future. Frost & Sullivan expects these processes to be affected by macro factors that will challenge the future strategy of OEMs.  The implications for manufacturers are four pronged: Automotive and components as product, production process and technology.

Advanced manufacturing methods such as micro manufacturing, machine vision and smarter robots might be the tip of the ice berg as we see OEMs moving towards digital factories. The future of factories will revolve around:

  1. Smart Clouds – the next trend in cloud computing where flexible customized clouds can address a particular business need depending on requirements
  2. Industrial Cyber Security – cyber threats have the potential to disrupt safety, impact productivity and loss of intellectual property
  3. The Enterprise Ecosystem – the convergence of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) will enable considerable optimisation throughout the product lifecycle and is critical for automotive manufacturing

The European automotive industry is witnessing a period of temporary layoffs and austerity measures. It will be Interesting to witness how OEMs will define their strategy over the coming years and achieving an optimised smart manufacturing process is critically important.

Niranjan Thiyagarajan is an Automotive Expert in the field of automotive chassis systems, industrial powertrain systems, as well as electric vehicles, multi-modal journey planning and new mobility trends at Frost & Sullivan. Contact via Email Contact.

About Frost & Sullivan 
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants.

Our "Growth Partnership" supports clients by addressing these opportunities and incorporating two key elements driving visionary innovation: The Integrated Value Proposition and The Partnership Infrastructure.

  • The Integrated Value Proposition provides support to our clients throughout all phases of their journey to visionary innovation including: research, analysis, strategy, vision, innovation and implementation.
  • The Partnership Infrastructure is entirely unique as it constructs the foundation upon which visionary innovation becomes possible. This includes our 360 degree research, comprehensive industry coverage, career best practices as well as our global footprint of more than 40 offices.

For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies?

Contact Us:     Start the discussion 
Join Us:           Join our community 
Subscribe:       Newsletter on "the next big thing" 
Register:         Gain access to visionary innovation

SOURCE Frost & Sullivan

Contact:
Frost & Sullivan
Web: http://www.frost.com




Review Article Be the first to review this article

Synopsys: Custom Compiler

Featured Video
Editorial
Peggy AycinenaWhat Would Joe Do?
by Peggy Aycinena
Real Intent: Leveraging on Investments
More Editorial  
Jobs
Senior Front-End RTL Design AE for EDA Careers at San Jose, CA
Field Application Engineer for Teradyne Inc at San Jose, CA
Senior R&D Engineer...Timing Closure Specialist for EDA Careers at San Jose or Anywhere, CA
Technical Support Engineer EU/Germany/UK for EDA Careers at N/A, United Kingdom
FPGA Engineer for Teradyne Inc at San Jose, CA
Upcoming Events
CODES+ISSS 2017, Oct 15-20, 2017, Lotte Hotel, Seoul, South Korea at Lotte Hotel Seoul Korea (North) - Oct 15 - 20, 2017
DVCon 2017 Europe, Oct 16 - 17, 2017, Munich, Germany at Holiday Inn Munich City Centre Munich Germany - Oct 16 - 17, 2017
11th International Symposium on Networks-on-Chip (NOCS 2017) at Seoul Korea (South) - Oct 19 - 20, 2017
TrueCircuits: IoTPLL



Internet Business Systems © 2017 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
25 North 14th Steet, Suite 710, San Jose, CA 95112
+1 (408) 882-6554 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
AECCafe - Architectural Design and Engineering TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes GISCafe - Geographical Information Services  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
  Privacy PolicyAdvertise