The global automotive bearings industry generated $31.60 billion in 2019, and is estimated to reach $48.41 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 6.8 percent from 2020 to 2027, according to a report by Allied Market Research.
A prime determinant of growth is the focus on overall weight reduction of vehicles and surge in production and sales of automobiles across the globe drive the global automotive bearings market. However, rise in vehicle electrification and variations in raw materials hinder the market growth. On the other hand, advent of sensor bearing units and development of additive manufacturing technologies and materials present new opportunities in the coming years.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, vehicle sales and demand for advanced technology-based bearings would boost post-lockdown, as daily operations in production plants and supply chain get on track.
Despite the supply chain disruption and shut down of operations amid COVID-19, research and development activities would gain traction as facilities begin to operate with full capacity. Furthermore, Vehicle sales and demand for advanced technology-based bearings would boost post-lockdown, as daily operations in production plants and supply chain get on track.
Asia-Pacific accounted for the highest market share with nearly two-fifths of the global automotive bearings market in 2019, and is projected to continue its leadership position in terms of revenue by 2027. Moreover, this region is expected to manifest the highest CAGR of 7.7 percent from 2020 to 2027. This is due to surge in adoption of fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicles, technological developments, and increase in demand for mild hybrid vehicles in the region.
Hyundai Motor Group (the Group) is opening a $400 million Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS) set to be completed by the end of 2022. Located at the Jurong Innovation District, the 28,000 m2 center will act as an open innovation lab for the Group’s future mobility research and development, with the aim of revolutionising the future mobility value chain.
“HMGICS is a major step forward for Hyundai Motor. The facility is the first of its kind in the world. It will pave the way for more Korean companies to invest here, partner with local suppliers and SMEs, and collaborate with our universities and research institutes,” said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“Singapore’s goal is to have all our vehicles run on cleaner energy by 2040, in line with our Paris Agreement commitments. We hope this will open up new growth areas for our economy, and create exciting jobs for Singaporeans,” he continued.
“Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore will strive for ‘Human-Centered Value Chain Innovation for a Mobility Paradigm Shift.’ We will offer products and services tailored to customers’ needs,” said Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung. “I am confident the innovations that spring from HMGICS will shape our future global society for the better and contribute to the progress of humanity.”
In future, customers will be able to customise and purchase vehicles online using a smartphone, which will immediately start production using Hyundai’s on-demand technology. The customers can then watch their car being manufactured at HMGICS. Once the car is ready for delivery, it will be transferred to the 620-meter-long Sky Track where customer can test drive the vehicle.
The center will also act as a test bed for a human-centered intelligent manufacturing platform with small scale EV production facility on site. The facility will utilise the latest ‘Industry 4.0’ smart technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. The logistics and assembly lines within HMGICS will be highly automated to establish a safe and efficient work environment. The Group will also test versatile systems that produce multiple models, to respond efficiently to fast changing market environments.
The collaboration will go beyond the Group and into the Singaporean innovation ecosystem. Singaporean universities, startups and research institutes, including Nanyang Technological University, Singapore – the first local academic research partner – will be able to collaborate through the open innovation lab.
“Hyundai is a strategic partner in our effort to address future mobility needs through innovation and advanced manufacturing technologies. The Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre will introduce important new capabilities in areas such as electric vehicles and urban air mobility, and create new opportunities for Singaporeans. This will complement the vibrant base of companies that are involved in the development of autonomous driving and electrification technologies,” said Dr. Beh Swan Gin, Chairman, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
Dr. Mark Cross of Ultraseal International explores the role of vacuum impregnation when implementing zero waste, zero defect and continuous improvements in hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturing.
Fast-cycle times increase throughput for both single and multi-part processing.
With the world focused on finding sustainable, low-carbon solutions for travel, the move to hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) adoption is well underway.
According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, EV sales (mild hybrid, full hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full battery-electric vehicles) are expected to surpass internal-combustion-engine (ICE) vehicle sales by 2030, taking 51 percent of the market, with BEV and PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) categories accounting for 25 percent of total vehicle sales. However, 82 percent of cars will still contain an ICE powertrain, with PHEVs, HEVs and mild hybrids all using internal combustion engines alongside their electric powertrain.
Automotive manufacturers are under pressures from many sides. On the consumer side, there is a sharp drop in confidence in diesel due to the introduction of clean air zones, some of which are already in force, and a ban on internal combustion engine vehicles in the UK by 2035.
Meanwhile, governments around the world are tightening up on automotive emission legislation. In Europe, there are increasingly stringent CO2-emission regulations. In China, efficiency is paramount, with their ever-stricter Corporate Average Fuel Consumption (CAFC) and New-Energy Vehicle (NEV) regulations testament to that.
To meet these regulations and consumer needs, car makers are gearing up to launch a wave of new electric vehicle (EV) models during 2020. Many EVs on the market in recent years have been targeted at high-end markets with a price tag to match. However, 2020 will see the launch of EVs which are much more familiar and accessible to the average driver, including the MINI, the Vauxhall Corsa, the Fiat 500 and the Volkswagen ID.3 and e-Up! being just a few to mention.
There’s no doubt that significant advances have already been achieved in hybrid and BEV manufacturing in recent years. However, while these vehicles offer a greener alternative during operation, it is increasingly important that the engineering and manufacturing process behind them is also environmentally sustainable.
The Role of Vacuum Impregnation in Automotive Manufacturing
With vehicle weight having an adverse effect on battery usage, hybrid and BEV manufacturers are increasingly looking at ways to reduce overall vehicle mass. The use of structural die cast components can help – especially if manufacturers opt to substitute materials, such as steel, with lightweight materials like aluminium. By manufacturing drive and powertrain components, such as electric motors, from die cast aluminium, car makers can further reduce vehicle weight. In turn, battery range can be extended for BEVs and HEVs, while reducing vehicle emissions for the latter as well.
Measurement service provider Lometec upgraded the measuring software for its tactile Wenzel coordinate measuring machines from Metrosoft CM to WM | Quartis. CEO Jörg Werkmeister and Technical Director Marc Lange report on their practical experience using the example of a dimensional inspection of a turbine blade testing device.
The Metrosoft QUARTIS workspace. The inner ring of the turbine blade testing device is seen on the LH 108 coordinate measuring machine. (Source: Lometec)
Lometec GmbH & Co. KG is an accredited metrology lab according to DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025: 2005. The company provides a fully air-conditioned 220-square-meter measurement room according to VDI / VDE 2627 Bl.1 with state-of-the-art optical and tactile measuring machines. Lometec’s customers are mainly from the automotive and aerospace industry, medical technology, and mechanical engineering.
Measuring of the CNC Manufactured Rings of a Turbine Blade Testing Device
All tactile measurement systems at Lometec are exclusively powerful coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) from Wenzel Group.
“The Wenzel CMMs offer a holistic concept of high-quality engineering, intelligent software and accessory options,” says Jörg Werkmeister, Chief Executive Officer of Lometec. He is very satisfied with the decision to upgrade from Metrosoft CM to WM | Quartis.
Lometec was faced with a very sophisticated measurement task. A CNC manufactured inner and outer rings of a turbine blade testing device needed to be checked for dimensional accuracy for a customer. It was a very time-critical measurement task and the metrologists from Lometec used two LH 108 Wenzel coordinate measuring machines in parallel.
Clearly Designed Workspace for More Efficiency in Daily Use
Technical Director Marc Lange explains, “Due to the clearly designed workspace WM | Quartis works more effectively than was possible with Metrosoft CM.”
In the WM | Quartis user interface, the traditional menus and toolbars have been replaced by the Ribbon—a device that presents commands organized into a set of tabs.
In spite of the unprecedented pandemic crisis that impacts many players in the industrial sector, SIC Marking Group continues its international development. This time, SIC Korea–the Asian subsidiary, created in 2016, invests in new offices south of Seoul – thus developing its presence in the country.
The location was the subject of considerable reflection with a view to resolving various issues. SIC Korea’s Managing Director, Mr. Yh OH, explains: “Most industrial customers are located west or south of Seoul, where the new office is easily accessible. The move has saved us at least 30 minutes of driving time compared to the old office, which is not negligible. This new location also has advantages for our customers. They can now visit us more easily thanks to the many public transport and road links.”
This new address makes it possible to develop the commercial presence and offer a quality service to customers thanks to its presence in a recognised industrial zone with better accessibility. The move to these new offices is also intended to improve the company’s brand image, an important component of business development, but also to develop the employer brand, which is essential in recruiting new talent.
It’s said that life is a marathon, not a sprint. For automotive manufacturers, longer lasting tooling solutions are integral to more profitable production—but, often, manufacturers see little reason to change their existing tool set-up. In this article, James Thorpe, global product manager at Sandvik Coromant, explains why the benefits of longer-lasting tools shouldn’t be underestimated, particularly for reducing costs-per-part or increasing overall output.
Unpredictable tool life is one of the biggest threats in mass automotive production, particularly as its operations are so highly-automated and use some of the world’s most advanced robotics and automation systems. Downtime is time-consuming, disrupts production and is also expensive, so it goes without saying that tool failures should be avoided at all costs.
In some instances, manufacturers set the tool change interval to less than the maximum tool life. This approach is normally preferred because material variations in automotive components are minimal. It follows that the tool changes should be predictable, and safer, than trying to extend the tool life to manufacture a few more components.
For Sandvik Coromant’s specialists, the key to longer tool life is not limited to the amount of time a tool spends in use, but also the drill design itself. This approach led to the development of the CoroDrill 860 with enhanced -GM geometry, a new design solid carbide drill that’s optimized for a wide range of materials and applications, across all industry sectors.
For the CoroDrill 860-GM, Sandvik Coromant applied its machine tooling and metal cutting expertise to develop a new grade, a unique fine-grained carbide substrate known as X1BM. The fine-grained carbide is imbued with increased hardness while maintaining toughness.
Furthermore, the drill is tip-coated with a multi-layer physical vapor deposition (PVD) thin film coating. This is key to improving the drill’s productivity and delivering a consistent tool life across a variety of materials. The result is a tool with excellent stability, machining security and improved tool life when machining cast iron, steel, stainless steel, hardened steels and non-ferrous metals.
Assessing Tool Life
A better way to assess tool life is by measuring the amount of material removed. To aid productivity, the CoroDrill 860-GM has an innovative, polished flute design that improves the evacuation of chips and yields greater hole quality. This also helps to reduce heat build-up in the tool, and further benefits are high core strength and reduced cutting forces while drilling.
The 860-GM forms part of Sandvik Coromant’s CoroDrill range of solid carbide drills. They are designed not only for optimized performance but also versatility, which means they can be deployed in a variety of applications and materials across multiple industries.
This includes use with the following material groups: ISO-P, the largest material group in metal cutting that ranges from unalloyed to high-alloyed material; ISO-M that includes difficult-to-cut stainless steels, austenitic steels and duplex steels; ISO-K grey, nodular and compacted graphite cast iron; ISO-H steels with a Rockwell hardness of between 45-65 HRc; and ISO-N for softer, non-ferrous materials such as aluminium, copper and brass.
As mentioned, the CoroDrill 860-GM has an enhanced design, but what exactly does this entail? Much of this relates to the design of the drill itself that includes an advanced optimized point and flute geometry, reinforced core and corner chamfers, edge preparation to remove cutting edge micro defects, and a double margin to enhance drilling stability. The drill’s point is also designed with refined clearance angles and improved surface quality.
Overall, these design features stabilise the drill, reduce entry and exit burr and improve the hole tolerance, finish and straightness. The drill also gives stable wear progression and delivers excellent hole accuracy.
Hyundai Motor has announced that it plans to manufacture its electric vehicles (EVs) in Singapore, starting in 2022, according to Straits Times. As such, the auto maker will be setting up a 28,000 square metre plant in Singapore with construction to begin in October.
The new plant will have the capacity to manufacture 30,000 EVs a year, with as many as 6000 cars sold in Singapore, and the new facility will create hundreds of jobs for the city. An electric compact crossover based on the IONIQ EV range is speculated to be the first vehicle produced at the plant.
General Motors and Honda have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding following extensive preliminary discussions toward establishing a North American automotive alliance. The scope of the proposed alliance includes a range of vehicles to be sold under each company’s distinct brands, as well as cooperation in purchasing, research and development, and connected services.
Under the proposed alliance, Honda and GM would collaborate on a variety of segments in North America, intending to share common vehicle platforms, including both electrified and internal combustion propulsion systems that align with the vehicle platforms. Co-development planning discussions will begin immediately, with engineering work beginning in early 2021.
Introducing advanced technology is imperative, given shifting consumer and regulatory requirements. To address this challenge efficiently, the alliance would explore combining the R&D efforts between the two companies related to advanced technology areas, including electrical architecture, advanced driver assist systems, infotainment, connectivity and vehicle-to-everything communication.
“This alliance will help both companies accelerate investment in future mobility innovation by freeing up additional resources. Given our strong track record of collaboration, the companies would realise significant synergies in the development of today’s vehicle portfolio,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors.
“Through this new alliance with GM, we can achieve substantial cost efficiencies in North America that will enable us to invest in future mobility technology, while maintaining our own distinct and competitive product offerings. Combining the strengths of each company, and by carefully determining what we will do on our own and what we will do in collaboration, we will strive to build a win-win relationship to create new value for our customers. In this way, Honda will continue making steady progress in solidifying our existing business by realising strong products, strong manufacturing capability and a strong business structure,” said Seiji Kuraishi, executive vice president of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
What a shock: at the turn of the year an arsonist sets fire in the production halls of Mühlhoff Umformtechnik on its site at the border with the Netherlands. The column of smoke can be seen for miles, resulting in damage in the high double-digit million euro range, including loss of production. But just six months later, the automotive supplier can start up again with its large presses: Schuler Service has already repaired two of the four damaged presses, and a new 2000-ton system from the TSD series is scheduled to go into operation in early 2021.
Mühlhoff managing director Markus Wermers had only been in office for three months when the fire broke out: “Just a few days later, Schuler Service was on site with nine employees.” Together, the decision is made to first repair the machines with 800 and 1,300 tons of press force that were only a few years old. In order to do this, the specialists have to replace the entire electrical and control system, and also remove several mechanical parts in order to have removed the contamination with soot and extinguishing water manually.
Mühlhoff can send some of the dies to the Schuler site in Erfurt so that parts production can continue there on a 1,600-ton press with TwinServo technology. “Other suppliers have also stepped in to process our orders,” recalls Wermers, who is currently running the business from a container in the parking lot – the administration building was also damaged by the major fire. He is grateful to his competitors for being able to continue to supply customers from the automotive industry with parts: “Everyone has helped so that everything can now gradually start up again.”
Mühlhoff Umformtechnik goes even further and is also investing in a new press from the TSD series with ServoDirect technology and 2,000 tons of press force. In addition, the system features the camera-based system “Visual Die Protection” and the “IIoT Connector” from Schuler, which enables numerous other Industry 4.0 functions such as process monitoring or predictive maintenance. “This means that we are optimally positioned for the future,” says production and project manager Christian Pennekamp with conviction. Pennekamp has been responsible for the configuration and project planning of the complex press systems at Mühlhoff for more than ten years.
FARO Technologies, Inc. has acquired Advanced Technical Solutions in Scandinavia AB (“ATS”), a Swedish-based leader in 3D digital twin solution technology.
The acquisition will integrate ATS software and proprietary Traceable 3D system, which enables highly accurate and repeatable 3D scans, into the FARO Webshare Cloud platform. ATS’ system connects the physical to the digital world and is expected to bolster FARO’s ability to improve customers’ time to decision with 10x faster 3D imaging at up to 1mm accuracy.
“We believe this acquisition enables FARO with differentiated accuracy and speed, which we believe will accelerate the adoption of digital twin technology. High accuracy 3D digital twin simulations allow capital intensive industries such as automotive and aerospace to meaningfully reduce their time to market and cost,” said Michael Burger, FARO President & CEO.
“I welcome the ATS team into FARO and believe they will help accelerate our strategic objective of increasing cloud based subscription offerings in this sizable market.”
Göran L. Bergqvist, ATS CEO, added, “The ATS team is thrilled to join a 40-year global leader like FARO. FARO’s technology and market presence provides the spring-board to the market adoption of Traceable 3D.” Bergqvist, who co-founded ATS, will continue to lead the ATS operation. The ATS Swedish facility will also act as a Nordic sales and service center for FARO.