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Transition of the German transportation industry, internet of things and the role of smart materials

Presentation held at Industrial Nanocomposites Conference 2017, 10 Oct 2017 - 11 Oct 2017, Stuttgart, Germany
: Kolaric, Ivica

presentation urn:nbn:de:0011-n-4705258 (2.8 MByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: 53585b71650648b52eed98f1979b6361
Created on: 3.11.2017

2017, 58 Folien
Industrial Nanocomposites Conference <2017, Stuttgart>
Presentation, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IPA ()
smart materials; Internet der Dinge; Transportsystem; Elektroauto; Automobilindustrie; Leichtbauwerkstoff; Elektronik

German transportation industry is one of the strongest industries in the world. Especially the segment of automotive production is worldwide appreciated for its engineering and production capabilities. Whilst many European OEMs are suffering on declining sales, German premium brands still increase their production capacities worldwide.
The German automotive industry has been the national driver of innovation for decades and the largest industry segment. To maintain this dominate position Germany OEMs need to face many challenges: the explosion of varieties and the resulting complexity of the production process, the shift of the key sales markets, the rising demand for electro vehicles and connectivity.
These challenges will lead to a huge demand on new and better materials, e.g. for more efficient and precise electronics, energy storages systems with higher energy density as well as lighter and stiffer materials for car bodies and new human machine interface technologies.
Challenges of the Automotive Industry
Increasing Complexity of Production
Today’s in-house production depth of OEMs is relatively low. OEMs mostly concentrate on development and manufacturing of the powertrain and car body, surface coating and assembly of parts into the coated car body. Today more than 50 % of the car parts are produced by suppliers and in appreciation of Just in Time (JIT) approaches most of the parts need to be transported to the assembly. In contrast to historic production lines, todays OEMs are offering a wide range of models to their customers. Furthermore, today’s customers are able to configure these models individually before the car is produced. This leads to an enormous range of variety which finally increases the complexity of production.
To face this complexity new approaches and methods need to be developed. One is the agile and connected production. Within this approach transportation systems, stocks, parts, assembling tools and workers are connected and thereby theoretically able to efficiently produce a lot size one.
Shift of the Sales Markets
The German automotive industry is continuously rising. However, this growth is mainly generated outside Germany and Europe. Today’s biggest markets are North America, China, South Amerika and parts of South East Asia. Within these markets a new type of car is required besides the traditional premium segments. Mega City Cars is a concept of small transportation system designed for the convenient and autonomous transportation within a big city. In contrast to premium cars with their superior comfort and safety at high speed, mega city cars will have much lower average speed. As a result, those cars can have much higher content of plastic than today’s models. Moreover, those cares will be mostly shared and therefore need to offer a high amount of connectivity services.
Rising Demand for Electric Vehicles
The production of electric vehicles is one of the major challenges for the entire automotive production. First, an EV motor mostly consists of a “handful” of parts which need to be assembled, whilst traditional combustion engines require thousands of high-precision parts. Second, the transmission of an EV car can be realized much simpler than of traditional engines. This leads to a tremendous cost reduction potential in the production of an EV engine and the entire powertrain. However, one key component of the EV car is the battery. Cost, weight, charging time and driving range of today’s existing batteries have not yet met customers’ expectations. Therefore batteries with a higher energy density, lighter and safer architecture as well as lighter cars need to be developed.
Increasing Demand for Connectivity
Modern cars and its parts are already showing a high degree of connectivity. Powertrain, suspension and frameworks, comfort systems for example are controlled by control units and able to communicate. The next important step is to connect the driver and passenger with the cars. Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) will be able to control the drive condition and adapt the car performance as well as to provide services. These new electronics can be integrated as tactile or non-tactile sensors, such as pressure sensors or gas sensors.
Rising Demand for Synthetic Electronics
To face the challenges the automotive segment needs to invest more into the agile production, function integration, light-weight construction and advanced electronics.
Parts, production, usage and customers are supposed to show a higher degree of connectivity and might interact more. Therefore, more parts need to be connected to a service or network. This will require at least a light wiring and connection system. However, sophisticated concepts are mostly showing much higher degree of electronic capabilities. These concepts - often called as cyber physical systems - consist of small sensor actuator systems, an energy storage as well as a transition reception unit. In the future a higher demand for electronics in the automotive manufacturing process can be expected.
The Role of Synthetic Electronics
Besides challenges in corrosion and weight traditional metal based electronics are suffering on a couple of strategic disadvantages. One disadvantage is for example the total costs. Neither Japan nor Germany has the benefit of lots of natural resources such as copper, gold or silver. Therefore, these materials often need to be imported. If the car is exported and used outside the country of origin, the valuable materials are exported, too. If the recycling and reuse are not controlled by the industry, the material with rising value, leads to a slight shift of natural resources. Furthermore, the fluctuation of material prices can’t be quickly absorbed by the final customer. As a result changing raw material prices are a potential risk for every profit.
By developing and using synthetic electronics based on nano carbons such as nanotubes or graphene, countries with a lack in raw materials such as Germany, can reduce its dependency on imported resources. Furthermore, the production of synthetic electronics includes many other benefits. The production of parts can be mostly made under atmospheric conditions using high-throughput printing technologies. In contrast to the existing traditional technologies this is a quite energy efficient way. Moreover, such parts are easily recyclable. Coated plastic parts might be reused many times without a significant loss in performance.
The future of the automotive industry will lead to a higher demand for integrated electronics. These electronics will be used for new, agile production methods, human machine interface systems and communication systems. Furthermore, future cars need to be lighter and mostly consist of an electric powertrain. This requires a higher usage of plastics and light-weight materials, as well as development of better batteries. To face all these challenges synthetic materials such as carbon nanotubes or graphene can be very helpful. Such materials can be used for printed electronics, new and better energy storage systems as well as light-weight constructions.