The shape of things to come
For our Summer edition of AMS our focus is firmly on the future, but the technologies we’re covering are not new, having been around in some form or another for decades. What’s interesting is how they are being developed to meet the needs of the next generation of vehicles. Additive manufacturing technology has become an important part of the production process, new developments seeing parts and tooling produced faster and cheaper than ever before, and in higher volumes. Articles on BMW and Ricoh highlight just how integrated 3D printing has become in the vehicle production process and just how much more potential there is to be realised.
Materials are also finding new applications, such as the meta-material technology that had previously be used for high-sensitivity antennas and is now being developed by Nissan as a lightweight acoustic material for use in electric vehicles. Developments in carbon fibre component forming have resulted in this lightweight material increasingly being used in vehicle structures and our article on a bespoke pultrusion process reveals how this forming method helped to give the latest Corvette Stingray some carbon fibre curves.
EV batteries and motors continue to develop in terms of design, packing and performance, all of which requires appropriate testing systems and processes. Although EV technology is now well established, OEMs are still on a learning curve when it comes to performance testing these components and this aspect is becoming more important as vehicle makers look for gains in efficiency and performance.
We have two articles from industry experts in the respective fields of EV battery pack and motor testing, who provide some real insight into the ongoing developments of these key components and the challenges of creating test processes and equipment.
Producing this issue revealed to us how far all these technologies have progressed into mainstream vehicle production operation, and also how much more there is yet to come.
Nick Holt, Editor, Automotive Manufacturing Solutions
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