The automotive industry and its suppliers have been at the leading edge of process efficiency for many years. Suppliers to the auto industry have very little margin for error, they need processes which are tolerant of variation. The processes must be efficient with acceptable cycle times to allow just-in-time delivery of components to suppliers further along the chain or directly to the OEM.
OEMs face a number of challenges themselves. One of the largest challenges the global automotive industry faces is fuel efficiency. In the US, this is articulated through CAFE regulations. Within the European Union this is shown in increasingly stringent regulations designed to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted/km travelled.
Consumer environmental awareness within the passenger cabin is also growing, and car makers are demanding ever-lower emission and odour levels from the materials used to make interior components.
These environmental challenges must be met with increased performance. Globalisation of component design, more stringent safety regulations and higher levels of sustainability complete one set of challenges.
Environment and efficiency
Overlaid, cross-cutting and amplifying these are the drive to light weighting, and life cycle analysis of all of the components within the car; electrification, global specifications and the need to reduce the mass of the powertrain.
These challenges call for materials which have lower emissions than established…