The Centre for Innovation and Technology N. Mahalingam (CITNM) brought together important world representatives from the automotive and foundry industry at the Foundry on Wheels (FoW) congress on 19th and 20th October.
This meeting explored three axes considered essential for the future of the sectors:
(i) Align strategies of the automobile and foundry sectors in order to anticipate R&D solutions;
(ii) Leverage R&D initiatives in foundries;
(iii) Reposition the foundry industry in the automotive value chain as a response to market needs and trends.
A day and a half of sharing of ideas, knowledge and debate, allowed for a more enlightening view on the future of these two sectors, emphasizing the dichotomy between the electric motor and the internal combustion engine and the evolution in the application of iron and aluminium in the manufacture of components.
Suppliers should be flexible
It is unanimous that the first great uncertainty about the automobiles of the future is relative to powertrain, with the presentation of estimates from several agencies, which showed that the global penetration of electric vehicles by 2040 varies between 50 million (according to OPEC 2015) and 520 million (BNEF 2017). Therefore, suppliers should be flexible to any technological solution required by the market, having a development time of less than a than 1 year. Quality and warranty costs are naturally also of great concern for the OEMs, that want to assure that suppliers are able to deliver high quality to global vehicle platforms.
To anticipate solutions, foundries should have a high focus on innovation! Partnership with universities, research centres and knowledge transfer institutions are of great value for foundries. This innovation should not only be focussed in products, but also in improving their processes, through build-up of digitalization, process data gathering and artificial intelligence to have predictive control processes and be able to supply “custom made” alloys and designs.
The event was attended by several intervening parties representing internationally renowned companies such as Robert Dover, former CEO of Jaguar Land Rover and current SinterCast Member of the Board; Luís Filipe Villas-Boas, Executive President of CAEF and the Portuguese Foundry Association, Götz Mehner, Head of the Product Development Department at Continental Automotive; among others.
To join the previous, representatives of CEiiA, CIE Automotive, Clariant, Deloitte, EY, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, GALP, IK4-Azterlan, Juno Racing Cars, Sakthi Portugal, Porsche, Sonafi, Zanardi Fonderie, and portuguese Sart-Up companies linked to the automotive sector were also present.
FoW emerged as a response to one of the vectors of the CITNM's mission - "To promote cooperation among institutions to strengthen R&D" - and it will take place every two years, the next congress is scheduled for 17th and 18th of October 2019.
A summary from the several debate panels are available at CITNMs LinkedIn profile and web-site: www.citnm.pt/newsroom.php.