Four Trends Driving Auto Manufacturing
Despite growing pains over the past decade, the automotive manufacturing industry has remained the backbone of the global economy. The Big Three car makers experienced a record year in the US in 2016:
- GM: 10% growth (4.4% expected)
- Ford: 0.1% growth (-2.1% expected)
- Fiat Chrysler: -10% growth (-14% expected)
Nevertheless, automobile manufacturers may soon find themselves at a crossroads. Consumer demand is on the cusp of transforming the automobile end product. Also, production and the industry as a whole is changing. Here are four trends driving auto manufacturing that could significantly change operations for major manufacturers in 2017.
The most likely near-term shift in the auto manufacturing industry is towards electric vehicles. EV sales rose by 37% in 2016, compared to a lackluster performance the previous year. Tesla, Chevrolet and Nissan are the most recognized names in electric cars, with Tesla currently setting the standard. However, it may be China, the world’s largest EV market, that is causing the automotive industry to take notice.
While the basic assembly line remains the standard in vehicle manufacturing, advancements in technology and changes in demand are rapidly making that model of manufacturing obsolete. The production line at BMW’s plant in Leipzig, Germany, for instance, replaces a single line with a maze of tracks throughout the entire facility. The Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, which was formerly the New United Motor Manufacturing building, has been converted into an advanced automotive facility where updates to car models are integrated directly into the manufacturing process.
As auto manufacturing evolves, manufacturers will need to keep apace by hiring more skilled workers. The difficult part of such a large-scale shift in the workforce will be effectively training employees and ensuring their assimilation into the company. IQS Employee Training Software helps companies by enabling them to adopt an enterprise-wide approach to training management.
IQS Employee Training Software allows:
- Cost-effective employee training
- Employee track record monitoring
- Skill evaluation document control
- An across-the-board integrated platform
Smart cars have the potential to be one of the greatest changes to the automotive manufacturing industry. The connected concept makes autonomous driving possible and goes far beyond simple cruise control and lane keeping assist. This technology offers benefits to drivers, manufacturers, insurance providers and industry participants in general.
There is perhaps no area where conformance is more important than in an autonomous car. A dip in quality or performance could easily cost many lives. IQS Audit Management Software, along with Nonconformance & CAPA Software, is the solution.
This solution includes:
- Ability to create audit templates
- Customized reporting
- ISO/IATF/TS 16949 management
- Quality management system queries
Custom 3D designs
Manufacturers that ignore 3D technology may soon find themselves stalling out. Innovative companies that want to take the lead are already experimenting with complicated engine parts and accelerating research into 3D-printed accessories. Surveys show that consumers want customized products and that they are willing to pay a premium for it. As Ben Perkins, Head of Consumer Business Research at Deloitte put it, “those businesses who do not offer an element of personalization, risk losing revenue and customer loyalty over the longer term as customers increasingly demand personalization.”
Most noteworthy auto manufacturers such as Ford and Japanese carmaker Daihatsu and Stratasys are already providing custom spoilers and “effect skins” panels. 3D printing also helps manufacturers deal with increased regulations. For example, rollover strength can be a challenge with traditional manufacturing methods. But testing this capability is built into most 3D/CAD printing programs, and gauging calibration can easily be handled by IQS Gauge Calibration Software.
IQS Gauge Calibration Software allows:
- Measurement System Analysis device experiments such as RR ANOVA, RR attribute, RR range, bias and stability/linearity studies.
- Simplification of notifications with color-coded calibration status fields.
- Record calibrations for measuring devices and test equipment.
Electric, smart and customized, the car manufacturing industry is on the move and faces many new challenges. The entire industry will look completely different in a decade. Consumers want an experience. Industries are providing a service more than a product. This means new concepts in manufacturing and modeling, and a clean break from traditional approaches. These are the trends driving auto manufacturing. For a more in-depth look into manufacturing, take a look at the free IQS e-book Manufacturing Metrics In An IoT World.