Business unusual: embracing disruptive technologies in the automotive sector
18 July 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201810877
INTEREST and investment in disruptive technologies have increased significantly in recent years, with a handful of local firms in the automotive sector embracing these innovations.
Automotive glass manufacturer Shatterprufe is positioning itself as one of these companies. Located in the automotive component manufacturing hub of Port Elizabeth, it claims to be the only local manufacturer of its kind with the capability to supply the global automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) assembling vehicles in South Africa.
With four million pieces of glass being manufactured annually, with an almost equal revenue split across the three markets of OEM, local aftermarket and the export aftermarket, Shatterprufe believes it is in a unique position to pursue advanced manufacturing technologies to optimise their product development and manufacturing processes.
“For Shatterprufe, it is critical to get to the aftermarket early with new products that comply with the stringent quality standards of the OEMs,” said Managing Director Dave Coffey, who also serves as President of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM).
Typically, Shatterprufe will buy an OEM product in Europe, should the vehicle not be sold locally, bring it to South Africa, develop the computer aided design (CAD) drawings, and then produce the part which will then be sent to the international client for approval.
Through exploring new scanning technologies, Shatterprufe will receive a 3-D scan of the product, convert this into a CAD file and commence development and manufacturing; this could include the 3D printing of the checking fixture.
Then, the developed part will be scanned and sent to the client for approval. For Shatterprufe, this technology can minimise the sample delivery time by four to six weeks.
“We can reduce substantial time in the product development process and therefore reduce lead times to market significantly. We are also prototyping and using this scanning technology for sample approval of components for glass as well. We expect to see a full roll-out of this technology by the end of 2019”, said Coffey.
He explained that the key advantage provided by the technology was that it allows his company to get to the market first, and to secure both the local and export aftermarket volumes.
The South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) includes ambitious growth targets for the sector over the medium- to long-term. Some of this growth will result from the investment in these advanced manufacturing technologies, Coffey added.
“I can foresee these technologies facilitating competitiveness which will enable the growth we need.” Against this background, the benefit of partnering a client in developing new technology should not be underestimated.
To support this, in 2019, the NAACAM Show will introduce an innovative approach to profiling automotive technologies and innovations through the hosting of technical demonstrations. For the first time, exhibitors will have the opportunity to host 20-minute technical demonstrations in the NAACAM Show’s purpose-built Media and Demonstration Centre.
Automotive component manufacturers and technology partners will be encouraged to present a case study or conduct a demonstration on a key technology or innovation which supports the NAACAM Show conference themes, with an explicit focus on the future of manufacturing in the automotive sector. This will be followed by an informal question and answer session where delegates will have the opportunity to seek clarity or advice on the technologies, for their own operations.
“These tech demos will provide unique insight for component manufacturers to gain access to practical, hands-on examples of innovative technologies, as well as provide a platform to stimulate a dialogue around integrating technology into the automotive sector”, said Coffey.
The NAACAM Show is scheduled to take place from 12-14 March 2019 at the Durban ICC, and more information can be found at www.naacamshow.co.za