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Developments Driving the Future of the Automation Industry

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New materials integration, faster delivery cycles, and an interconnected global industry are three new developments driving the future of the automotive industry—adding opportunities to make the next decade great!

During the Global Forecasting and Marketing Conference for 2015, Michael Robinet, Managing Director of IHS Automotive’s global advisory practice, sat down to talk with Pat McGibbon, Vice President of Strategic Analytics at AMT — The Association For Manufacturing Technology.

Optimistic about the growth of the automotive industry, Michael cautioned it may expand at a slightly slower pace than it has since 2009. He recalled how the 2009 bankruptcies of both Chrysler and General Motors negatively impacted the industry, but their success climbing out may indicate an increase in volume. He stressed that the “mix” of new technologies, new approaches and new customers will be the differentiator for making money.

Faster Delivery Cycles

Michael pointed out that Millennials have delayed car purchases, but will soon pick up wealth, start families, and buy at least one vehicle. And when they do, there will be a mix of options, which is going to accelerate the frequency of introducing new vehicles from every 7 to 8 years to every 5 to 6 years. This new cadence will be a result of legislation to meet the emissions footprint, fuel economy, safety, and navigation.

New Materials Integration

New legislation gives way to more action. For examples new mandates to achieve better fuel economy result in using new materials to make vehicles lighter. New materials need to be bonded together or differently, changing the building process and driving new demand for new machines, tooling and trimming processes.

The days of the 100-percent steel vehicle are completely behind us. Today there are suspension systems that are fully aluminum. Engines, hoods, doors, and trunks are aluminum. One of the greatest opportunities for our members is looking at solutions that bring these mixed materials together to machine and process them.

Customization is essential to Millennials. Michael reports about half the models coming out in the next three years are only going to have runs at about 100,000 or less. With smaller runs, there will be a need for more customized, flexible tools. There may even be a tooling explosion.

Interconnected Global Industry

More suppliers need to be present around the world to compete in the global economy. It used to be that suppliers could survive in North America with a traditional customer, but now there are many more new customers and new competition. Being close to them requires suppliers to be nearby in places like Thailand, China or Europe. Suppliers will have to follow their customers around the world.

Watch more IMTSTV interviews with industry experts and get a glimpse into what’s coming to IMTS 2016.

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