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The future of automotive design in manufacturing

The key words to describe the future of the automotive industry standards lie in engineering, technology and sustainability. Vehicles are poised to become more eco-friendly, intelligent and efficient as the future of automotive design is driven by innovation and sustainability. The fast pace set in these developments means that stakeholders must strike a balance between planning and execution to stay competitive and grow into the industry’s growing needs.

From electric vehicles (EV) that redefine how the transportation industry approaches powertrains to the development of autonomous vehicles and an automotive landscape that caters to the driver’s safety and experience, it is clear to see that automotive design is moving swiftly toward innovative ways to make daily commutes more efficient, safer and increasingly exciting.

Signals Of Change

Adapting to an industry driven by the need for change means that stakeholders have to become connected enterprises that are data-driven and use digital technologies for innovation and communication. For automakers, component manufacturers and design engineers to adequately adapt to the fast-paced changes the industry is seeing, focus needs to hone in on the following categories:

  • Vehicle manufacturing: With government endorsement for electric vehicles sure to boost demand, manufacturers must look at new ways of manufacturing their cars using updated components and technologies.
  • Vehicle operation: As consumer demand for electric and hybrid power models increases, manufacturers can invest more into their EV strategies to maintain a competitive advantage. Software-defined vehicles (SDV) are also on the rise, which will help cars retain their market value over time.
  • Vehicle usage: Cars are also increasingly being used on an ‘as-service’ basis, with usage models adapting to more ride-sharing functionalities.
  • Vehicle sales: Operations must reflect their in-store shopping experience online as customers shift their transactions to remote options. With advanced technologies becoming a standard feature, many cars will benefit from improving and adapting to the owner’s needs post-sale.
  • Industry regulations: Many countries and states are setting deadlines to end the sale of traditional internal combustion engines, which manufacturers need to note and monitor in their sales territories.

Rethinking Component Manufacturing

Both the supply chain and manufacturing sectors are embracing change with new trends emerging in the automotive industry. Manufacturing will become modular with the number of technologies that are being incorporated into vehicle functionality. These manufacturing changes can be broken up into three sections that will redefine the automotive industry’s operations over the next two decades:

  • Automotive materials: Aluminum, magnesium and composite materials are set to replace mild steel seen in current component manufacturing as the need for light-weight materials grows. The use of strong carbon fiber-reinforced plastic may also reduce costs.
  • Parts manufacturing: Hot forming or hot stamping is set to increase with the use of stronger, lighter and thinner materials to make components. 
  • Assembly processes: As non-metal parts are incorporated into component manufacturing, there will be a decline in the need for traditional welding. Assembly will instead make more use of adhesives, bolding, laser spot welding, flow drill screws and rivets to join parts.

Innovative Manufacturing Processes

There are a number of processes that are redefining automotive parts manufacturing to increase parts durability and performance. Manufacturers are starting to adjust their factories and source providers who can provide components made using these techniques: 

  • 3D printing: By utilizing this technology, manufacturers develop both full-scale parts and prototypes that are more complex by printing them with a variety of high-strength aluminum and plastics.
  • Aluminum die casting: Aluminum has high melting and solidifying temperatures, so manufacturers must create manufacturing processes to accommodate this operation.
  • Resin transfer molding: This is a process that can transform a light, preform material into robust automotive components.
  • Hot form steel: When heat on steel increases, it improves the material’s malleability, allowing manufacturers to form more complex shapes.

Automotive Design – Vehicles of the Future

Traditional methods of automotive design are somewhat scattered, with a focus on sourcing components from various supply chain vendors. Manufacturers were hard-pressed to incorporate new features into vehicles thanks to a core operation that had to synchronize efforts from a wide variety of suppliers. 

As the industry progresses, the focus shifts to a software-driven model offering regular, remote updates. This works to simplify hardware design and functionality, moving away from individually designed engine control units and towards continuously improving driver experience. Changes like these will prompt more automotive regulations and standards that include a cybersecurity ecosystem and standard regulations from governing bodies.

Changes in Automobile Technology Are Likely to Include:

Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is the nomenclature for the expansion of digitization and robotics in manufacturing. It paves the way for lean management solutions, and the future of automotive design is ready to relish these new opportunities, such as customer focus, modularizations, flexible production operations with real-time capacities and sustainable business practices. The implementation of these becomes increasingly evident when looking at future changes in automobile technology that are already emerging. Some trends that show incredible potential include:

  • Electric and autonomous vehicles: These vehicles offer designers more freedom to add to interior comforts and to create vehicles with innovative design principles. Autonomous cars are also inching closer to their claim to fame, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI), sensors and machine learning. Projections indicate that one in 10 cars will be autonomous or self-driving by 2030.
  • Aerodynamics and fuel efficiency: Streamlined designs, advanced engineering and lighter materials will all contribute to more energy-efficient vehicles.
  • Vehicle connectivity: Automakers are learning to think like software developers as they design vehicles that integrate with consumer devices, including smartphones, smart home technologies, other cars and traffic control systems.
  • Extended reality: By using a mixture of virtual, mixed and augmented reality, the tech future of car design reveals teams that are able to create complex design prototypes remotely, saving materials, time and overheads.
  • Artificial intelligence: Using set parameters, AI might offer new and unique vehicle design concepts that designers can scrutinize and refine to suit consumer needs.

Automotive Parts Manufacturing with New Concept Technology

Moving forward, the distinguishing factor between competitors in the automotive design field will depend on product SVD capabilities. With a focus on high-strength materials, technological advancements and sustainability, manufacturers need to reevaluate their in-house and outsourcing strategies to keep up with demand. 

New Concept Technology utilizes a single supply chain and cross-functional design teams to offer you a cost-competitive product line solution. With ISO 9001:2015, IATF 16949 and ISO 13485 certifications, you can be confident in our advanced capabilities to deliver innovation, design and manufacturing of automotive components. Contact us today for a free engineering evaluation or to learn more about our high-speed manufacturing processes.