Dr. Karsten Kroos, CEO of thyssenkrupp’s automotive division said: “This is an investment not only in the targeted expansion of our European production network but also in newly obtained customer projects and new technologies. In Sibiu we will manufacture dampers to the highest technical standards for installation in our customers’ premium models. At the same time we are in the process of industrialising an entirely new generation of dampers for highly automated intelligent chassis systems.”
Active dampers of this kind no longer simply react to driving situations and road surfaces, they respond proactively to counter the forces acting on the chassis and provide an extremely smooth and comfortable driving experience.
thyssenkrupp has been producing dampers in Sibiu since 1996. The new plant is an extension to the existing production site. The company produces both components and complete damper systems for automotive OEMs and aftermarket suppliers. thyssenkrupp’s investment has created more than 350 new jobs at the Sibiu location, which now employs around 1,000 people.
thyssenkrupp is one of the best-established manufacturers of damper systems. Under the Bilstein brand the company produces and markets these chassis components at eight locations in Europe, the USA and China. The damper business is part of the Group’s components division, which produces high-tech components for the automotive and machinery sectors with over 34,000 employees worldwide.
This new facility will manufacture Electric Power Steering (EPS) systems for Groupe PSA, as well as Driveline systems for FCA, Groupe PSA and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. The company expects to hire around 500 people at the Kenitra plant by 2020.
“Nexteer’s new Morocco plant is another milestone in our ongoing plan for global footprint diversification and expansion in regions strategically important to our key customers,” said Tao Liu, Global Chief Operating Officer, Nexteer Automotive. “As Nexteer’s first plant in Africa, this facility will enable us to further support customer needs for our industry-leading motion control solutions across Africa and Europe.”
The systems produced at the Kenitra plant for Groupe PSA will include Single Pinion EPS systems – Nexteer’s premium steering system that is currently featured in A-C segment vehicles for Nexteer customers like BMW and Groupe PSA. The Driveline systems that will be produced at this plant will include halfshafts for new generations of some of the best-selling models from FCA, Groupe PSA and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.
Construction on the 107,000 sq.ft Kenitra facility began in Q1 2018 and took only nine months. The facility is now being filled with machines and gearing up for the start of production in September of this year.
Herve Boyer, President of Europe, Middle East, Africa & South America, Nexteer Automotive, said, “We received great support from the Moroccan authorities with this crucial investment. The pro-investment approach toward starting new businesses in this region is extremely valuable, and we want to express our great appreciation to the Moroccan government for enabling us to enter this great market in such a short lead time.”
Benet, headquartered in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, is a Tier 1 supplier of composite components to the automotive industry, offering advanced technologies for carbon-fibre-reinforced and glass-fibre-reinforced plastic moulding, as well as the painting and assembly of vehicles.
The company specialises in reinforced reaction injection molding (RRIM), a low-pressure process using polyurethane; and both conventional autoclave and resin transfer molding (RTM). Benet has three facilities in Czechia and one in Germany to serve European automotive OEMs including Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Skoda. The company had 720 employees and recorded sales of €35.2 million ($40 million) in fiscal 2018.
Teijin is growing its automotive composites business with proprietary lightweight, high-performance materials, and superior design capabilities, to become a multi-material component supply partner of automotive OEM customers served by Teijin hubs in Europe, North America and Asia. In Europe, Teijin acquired Inapal Plásticos SA, a leading automotive-composite supplier in Portugal, in August 2018; and is installing a glass- and carbon-fibre sheet-moulding-compound (GF-SMC and CF-SMC) line in the French facility of Continental Structural Plastics, a world leader in automotive composites based in North America, which Teijin acquired in January 2017.
Benet has strategic proximity to the central and eastern regions of the European market where key German and other European OEMs operate production facilities. The company’s well-proven supply record will provide a solid foundation for Teijin to further strengthen its solution development capabilities and sales channels in Europe.
As part of its multi-material strategy, Teijin will leverage Benet’s capabilities in existing development projects and evolve chemistry of innovations with Teijin and CSP’s outstanding material and molding technologies and technical team members to offer innovative automotive composite solutions that meet customers’ future needs for lightness, toughness, design flexibility, productivity and cost-effeteness. Teijin is targeting automotive composite business sales of approximately €1.7 billion ($2 billion) by 2030.
The plant is part of the company’s Automotive Division and will produce rear-axle components for a new platform for its customer, Groupe PSA. The eighth Benteler plant in Spain is located near Vigo. It will start operations in July 2019.
The new plant covers an area of 12,000 square metres. Production in Mos will focus on welding, painting and laser cutting. The new site will create an additional 175 jobs in the region of Galicia. Benteler already employs 550 people in Vigo.
Constructed as Benteler’s first Smart Factory in Region Southern Europe, this new site will use the latest digital technologies such as Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AIV). These vehicles ensure an autonomous, fast flow of products and material in the plant.
Machines in the plant monitor their own status and request maintenance in good time. This kind of predictive maintenance avoids production stops and minimizes service costs. Big data architectures offer the possibility to evaluate and handle large amounts of data. The plant uses 3D printing for the design of tools and consumables
Ralf Göttel, CEO of Benteler International AG, explained: ”We are a leading global partner for our customers in the automotive industry worldwide. Spain is one of our strategic key markets. With the new Smart Factory in Mos, we will serve our customers faster, more efficiently and more flexibly in time, in quality and in costs.”
Ricardo Garcia, Executive Vice President Region Southern Europe of Benteler Automotive, provided further explanation: “Mos will become one of the leading plants in digital technologies within the automotive sector in Spain. Enhancing the capabilities of our employees will be key to successfully implementing new technologies in our production. That’s why we developed a specialised training program for Mos which fosters their competencies.”
Garcia also added: “As one of the largest employers in this region, we actively support training and education. Besides the training programme at our site in Mos, we also established partnerships with local professional schools and the University of Vigo. And we launched a dual training programme within the region in 2014. These are important steps to strengthen the economic development of this region.”
ZF will then supply the new 8-speed automatic transmission. This is the second largest single order in ZF’s history. The latest version of ZF’s 8-speed transmission has been further optimised and features an integrated electric drive for hybrid variants.
"We are pleased being nominated as global transmission supplier by FCA. This is our second major order for the new 8HP and it confirms our strategy to focus on plug-in hybrids as an every-day solution and to develop attractive products in these areas”, said ZF's CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider.
The lead production facility for the new (and fourth) transmission generation, which will start series production in 2022, will be ZF’s plant in Saarbruecken. The company also plans to start production of the technology at further locations including the USA and China in the future.
The new 8-speed automatic transmission could be installed in almost all vehicle segments with a front-longitudinal drive configuration. A technical innovation of the upgraded transmission is the integration of the electric drive. With this, ZF supports its customers in achieving their CO2 reduction goals. With this modular transmission concept, manufacturers will be able to easily change from one transmission variant to another which gives them the flexibility to react to market requirements.
The nomination also highlights the importance of ZF’s global production network. Only three months ago, ZF signed a first contract for the delivery of the latest generation 8HP to BMW which then marked the largest single order in ZF’s history.
On the one hand, the global trend toward more turbocharged combustion engines that are both efficient and climate-friendly is continuing. This is leading to increased demand for air management components, especially blow-molded charge air pipes, with Asia in particular being a major growth market because the market share of turbocharged engines here is still comparatively low.
On the other hand, the number of natural-gas-powered vehicles is increasing all the time, and fuel cell technology is being heralded as a new growth technology. Blow-molded polyamide liners are already used in compressed natural gas and are also best choice for hydrogen tanks.
These trends motivated the High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit at LANXESS not only to set up a global team tasked with developing blow-molding materials and their applications in modern powertrains, but also commissioning a state-of-the-art blow-molding system at the technical centre in Dormagen.
“Having our own processing equipment ensures that our blow-molding product types possess excellent processing properties,” said Dr. Klaus Küsters, who is responsible for developing the blow-molding business field at HPM. “Our customers benefit directly from in-depth processing expertise. The new system will also allow us to offer targeted assistance, for example during troubleshooting or at the start of series production.”
The new system is a KBS20-SB extrusion blow-molding machine from Bonn-based Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH. The company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of such machines. This new system means that LANXESS now also has two tools for manufacturing close-to-production components in the focus application fields.
One tool is designed especially for air ducts such as charge air ducts or clean air ducts in combustion engines. Within a suction blow-molding process it can be used to manufacture complex pipes with varying diameters and oval cross-sections up to 630 millimetres in length. Clean air ducts with integrated bellows can also be manufactured.
The second tool is designed mainly for blow-molded liners for high-pressure tanks in hydrogen- and natural-gas-powered vehicles. It also features a flat cavity area from which test specimens for calculating material characteristic values can be generated. “The resulting process-related material data give a very precise and representative material description and help our customers in application development,” said Küsters.
LANXESS is also expanding its expertise in the field of virtual design methods. Thanks to simulations of blow-molding processes, HPM will be able to help its customers to design their processes with a view to increasing efficiency. As part of an international consortium, HPM will also promote the development of simulation software for suction blow-molding.
With the auto industry undergoing a once-in-a-century transformation, the business environment is changing significantly due to swift innovations in CASE (connected, autonomous, shared and electrified) technologies. Notably, competition to develop automated driving technologies has intensified and increased the importance of auxiliary systems.
Concerning safety related to field of vision, technologies including cameras and sensors have been developed for automated driving, requiring automotive component suppliers to offer wiper system products that are compatible with these changes.
Against this backdrop, the wiper system business structure of the Denso Group was reviewed. Denso Wiper Systems will build an integrated structure from design and production, to supply of wiper systems, thereby strengthening its capability to meet the needs of customers. The company will also step up efforts for the Denso Group to create new added value in advanced fields.
Historically, Denso has developed technologies and products to help create a society free from traffic accidents. Based on these technologies, Denso will continue to contribute to building a safe and secure automotive society for all people around the world.
Faurecia aims to invest in research and development in new-generation high-pressure tanks that are more efficient and lighter, as well as in a test centre to characterise these tanks.
The centre, scheduled to start operations in the second-quarter 2020, represents a total investment of approximatively €25 million ($28.25 million), including €4.9 million ($5.54 million) in subsidies from the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. In the long term, Faurecia plans to create 50 highly qualified jobs at the Bavans site, which already has nearly 750 employees dedicated to Faurecia’s Clean Mobility activity.
"The creation of our hydrogen tank centre of expertise in France is a key step forward in Faurecia’s strategy to become a global leader in fuel cell systems. Perfectly adapted to commercial and heavy goods vehicles, this technology will play an important role in zero emission mobility. I would like to thank the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region and its President Ms Dufay for their trust and support in this project," said Christophe Schmitt, Executive Vice-President of Faurecia Clean Mobility.
"Hydrogen is a long-standing, mature and recognised sector in the region. It has a robust ecosystem, with large industrial groups, structuring facilities, pioneering territories, and projects of an extremely large scale. The implementation of a global centre for hydrogen storage systems in Bavans is excellent news and will further strengthen the development of this industry in the region. We have a major ambition with the hydrogen sector: to become a leading region in France and Europe," said Marie-Guite Dufay, President of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region.
“Over the past three years, Nexteer has accelerated the expansion of our global footprint to provide customers with faster and more convenient service,” said Mr. Guibin Zhao, Global Chief Executive Officer of Nexteer Automotive. “As an advanced production facility that will provide first-class engineering technology services, the new Liuzhou plant demonstrates our confidence in the global and Chinese automotive industries, as well as our strong collaboration with strategic customers in the region.”
Nexteer’s new Liuzhou plant is expected to hire more than 500 people and replaces the Liuzhou facility that Nexteer previously rented. This new 12,000 square metre plant will provide customers with CEPS (Column-assist Electric Power Steering) systems, related technologies and services. The establishment of the new plant will enhance Nexteer’s manufacturing capacity in the Asia-Pacific region to meet the growing demand for EPS systems in the Chinese and Asia-Pacific markets.
In addition to “smart manufacturing” measures such as Nexteer’s Digital Trace Manufacturing, real-time data acquisition, analysis and billboards, facial recognition on production lines and early warning of equipment status alerts, the new Liuzhou plant is equipped with a NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) laboratory, test track, vehicle testing lab, product performance analysis center, advanced technology research office and other engineering modules to provide advanced EPS product testing, verification and customer service.
Since Nexteer began operating in Liuzhou in 2015, the operations team has received recognition from customers and the local government for excellent quality and operation and timely customer response. In the first half of 2019 alone, Nexteer Liuzhou achieved the “Excellent Response Award” from SAIC-GM-Wuling and the “Mayor’s Quality Nomination Award” of Liuzhou.
Gestamp invested nearly €130 million ($146.9 million) into the new facility that intends to serve Jaguar Land Rover who recently started operations in Slovakia. More concretely, the production of Gestamp Nitra is focused on the Discovery model currently being produced onsite. It will also manufacture parts for the New Defender model planned to start production in 2019.
The plant manufactures several skin panels and structural parts for the body mainly out of aluminium, a material in which, together with steel, Gestamp is highly specialised in. With a workforce of nearly 200 employees, the new state-of-the-art plant has a strategic location within Slovakia.
Plant equipment includes two servo press tandem lines that will manufacture 70% of its components using aluminium. This step is a move forward in the strategy of Gestamp of becoming a multi-material strategic supplier for its clients. Components manufactured in Nitra are intended to reduce the weight and enhance the safety of vehicles, consistently with Gestamp’s global objectives.
The new Gestamp facility in Slovakia joins the company's other plant in Velky Meder (Dunajská Streda District), where the Group manufactures products through its mechanisms subsidiary Edscha.
Slovakia constitutes a very dynamic country in the automotive industry. In fact, it has the highest ratio of vehicles production per capita and automotive is the main industrial activity within the country.
Francisco J. Riberas, the Gestamp’ s Executive Chairman, highlighted: “We always accompany our clients where they require us, which is exactly what we have done in this case: We have moved to Slovakia to proficiently serve Jaguar Land Rover with the highest standards in a plant that intends to be the Slovakian press shop of our client”.
Riberas also pointed out, “Gestamp will apply all of its know-how accumulated over the years in technology and materials to reduce the weight of vehicles and increase their safety. In this case we will provide aluminium solutions to Jaguar Land Rover, a material in which, alongside steel, Gestamp maintains a frontline position.”