By T Murrali
Delivering high quality is becoming a prerequisite in any automotive business because of the multitude of disruptive technologies on hand. The challenge is to identify the apt manufacturing concepts that can adapt to the evolving situations. This will help maintain profitability of manufacturers – OEMs or component makers – as they do not have full control over the cost of raw materials, labour, power or any other input. No doubt, there are challenging times ahead but the silver line on the cloud is the disruptions even in the manufacturing methodologies. These changes can influence the automotive industry positively. The industry growth depends on lower production cost, highly skilled engineering workforce and growing demand for vehicles in the domestic market. However, it is not the Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) that matters but labour minutes per unit and time per unit. These determine the overall efficiency of any plant and eventually the cost per unit manufactured.
Though there are several new technologies coming to the manufacturing sector, laser cutting has an edge owing to its inherent advantages in cutting steel and alloy materials for industrial applications. A study by Million Insights says that the growth of the global laser cutting machine market is triggered by the flourishing automotive industry. Laser cutting is mainly used in internal and external body fabrication for aircraft, automotives and others and to manufacture high-quality components that need minimum finishing work. In the laser cutting process, laser never damages the metal, leading to less or no wear out of the machine.
According to ReportsnReports, with the sustained growth of the global economy, the consumption in the machine tool sector will continue to grow by more than three percent in 2019. This is expected to propel the global CNC machine tool industry whose output value exceeded USD 70 billion in 2018. Of this, China, the world’s leading producer and consumer of CNC machine tools, garnered over USD 6 billion.
The Japanese machine tool industry expects to get orders worth USD 14.3 billion in 2019, up by 11.9 percent from 2018, mainly fuelled by increased domestic demand and big orders from Europe and North America.
The machine tool, robot and automation consumption in Italy grew by 25.9 percent to Euro 5.62 billion in 2018. India stands 12th in production and eighth in consumption of machine tools in the world as per the 2017 Gardner Business Media survey. The country is set to become a key player in the global machine tools industry and is likely to see substantial high-end machine tool manufacturing.
AutoParts Asia spoke to the apex bodies of a few machine tool manufacturers such as the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) from the US, Italian Machinetool, Robots and Automation Manufacturers’ Association (UCIMU), Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA), Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) and The Manufacturing Technologies Association of the UK (MTA) and a company that has introduced disruptive manufacturing technology. The industry associations are featured in this section.