Trends in automotive-parts manufacturing

ELECTROMOBILITY, autonomous driving and connectivity are among the major trends that are set to fundamentally change demands on vehicles and consequently on how they are manufactured.

The body, the lighting systems, the glazing and the interior must be thought of differently, requiring new technologies. Injection moulding technology, with its diverse options for process integration and automation, will play an even greater role in the future. It enables lightweight construction to be combined with functional integration and high cost efficiency in mass production. The proportion of plastics in vehicles is increasing accordingly.

Franz Füreder, vice president of the Engel Automotive Business Unit in Austria, says electromobility is clearly a driver in this topic. This trend is noticeable in the fields of engines, battery technology and electrical systems, among others.

“Due to the division of the electrical systems and the increasing number of distribution boxes, compared to vehicles with a classic combustion engine, electric vehicles require a significantly higher number and, at the same time, a greater variety of connectors that are produced by injection moulding. The same applies to cable entry seals. High-precision grommet seals are required for individual cables, which are injection-moulded from liquid silicone,” he adds.

These aspects of the circular economy are increasingly coming into focus. Sustainable mobility demands that even components which are made of fibre reinforced plastic composites are returned to the materials cycle at the end of the vehicle’s service life. Engel also has a viable solution to this challenge – the Engel organomelt process enables the production of components all based on thermoplastics.

“Engel is very well positioned to meet the new challenges. Innovative Engel technologies have already gone into mass production, in the field of composites as well as in surface technology and connectivity. In many cases, further developments now depend on the processors,” says Füreder.

“We would like the market to be more forward-thinking and use the innovative products currently available, as this also accelerates development and increases the benefit for the companies earlier.”

  • Engel are represented in South Africa by Greentech Plastics Machinery