The Future of the Automotive Branch
The automotive industry is facing a fundamental change. Alternative powertrains, digitalisation and changes in consumer behaviour will have far-reaching effects not only on our product, the automobile, but also on existing business models. OEMs and suppliers alike will have to adjust and work on the development of joint strategies to secure the supply of the product, the automobile, and its manufacture in the future.
The annual supplier event held in Gothenburg from 12th - 13th October provided a perfect platform for the intensive exchange of information between manufacturers and suppliers.
Over 400 participants made use of this opportunity to communicate with others. Besides the technical talks given by key note speakers including well-known representatives from Scania, Nevs and CEVT, EDAG CEO Jörg Ohlsen and Dr. Frank Breitenbach (EDAG Production Solutions GmbH & Co. KG) presented their concepts for the future of the automobile from the point of view of a leading engineering company.
From a product development point of view, the challenge is to install the digitalisation that customers demand in the vehicle faster than at present. "At the moment, there are still huge gaps between the product life cycles of vehicles and consumer electronics, and what we need to do is close them," explained Jörg Ohlsen in his talk. "As developers, we must produce extremely flexible body concepts to react to future increases in variant diversity brought about by alternative powertrains."
The EDAG Group also has competence centres in the fields of car IT and lightweight design, in which highly acclaimed concepts have been developed. With its concept car the "EDAG Light Cocoon", the globally active engineering company has demonstrated a way of combining bionic design with additive manufacturing to enable vehicles to be produced more flexibly and at the same time more cost effectively. With the "EDAG Soulmate", the company has shown how the car can become a kind of digital companion in everyday activities, and how data from the user's private and professional environments can be put to use in the vehicle.
Not only will the current challenges revolutionise product development; in equal measure, they will also inevitably lead to changes in production. In his discourse "Talking about a (r)evolution", Dr. Breitenbach presented the latest concepts of EDAG Production Solutions GmbH & Co. KG. The EDAG Group subsidiary has a workforce of over 1,100 employees working worldwide to develop complete manufacturing plants, from planning to virtual commissioning. "Generally speaking, the idea of fully integrated networking currently propagated by Industry 4.0 is nothing new. The only thing is that, 20 years ago, there was not the technology to implement it," underlined Dr. Breitenbach. "Today, we have reached a point where we are now in a position to intelligently interconnect information from manufacturing engineering, the digital factory and plant controls." Taking mechatronic engineering as his example, he showed how the interfaces to the various technical fields can be interconnected, and how parallel and therefore time-saving engineering will become possible.
The supplier event in Gothenburg was an excellent platform for EDAG to present its all-round competence in the networked development von production and product to the Swedish market. EDAG has been represented in Sweden for more than 10 years now. EDAG Engineering AB, with its head office in Gothenburg, provides extensive on-site services in the engineering fields of design, simulation, electrics/electronics and manufacturing engineering. "What is more, our customers in Gothenburg will, of course, have access to our global site network with a workforce of more than 8,000 employees," underlined Jörg Ohlsen.