Martin Kinsella, a senior executive from Comau, a leading global automation company, told an audience of automotive executives today that the industry is moving rapidly to the use of a variety of lightweight materials in body and closure systems and needs flexible manufacturing solutions to accommodate building them.
Kinsella, Comau’s director of Advanced Materials and Process Technology, spoke at the annual Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) in Traverse City, Michigan. He highlighted industry forecasts that show aluminum usage will grow to 27 percent of the volume for body and closure parts.
“A recently published industry report forecast that by 2025, seven out of 10 new pickup trucks produced in North America will be aluminum-bodied,” said Kinsella. “The automotive industry will be the most important global market for aluminum, while the use of other lightweight materials will grow significantly as well.
“In an effort to help carmakers reach lightweighting goals, innovations in materials will continue, including advances in steel, composites, plastics, and hybrid materials,” he added. “Companies like Comau must develop flexible manufacturing systems to enable the use of these advanced materials in combination throughout the vehicle.”
To meet this need, Kinsella said the company’s ComauFlex advanced manufacturing strategy has been developed to ensure:
- Model flexibility with random build sequencing (up to four unique models on the same line)
- More diverse materials and joining methods combined with volume flexibility
- Improved logistics and reduced traffic flow
- Consolidation of direct labor placement
- Compressed program timing
- Reduced facility footprint and volume; and,
- Global support in any geographic region.
“ComauFlex is a comprehensive, production-proven, flexible manufacturing strategy. It is solution-focused as opposed to component-driven, and technologically evolving,” said Kinsella. “Our technology centers, located in the U.S., Italy and China, are continuously developing, testing and demonstrating leading edge processes, such as ComauFlex, in medium to high volume manufacturing applications to meet the needs of OEMs around the world.”
Comau is a worldwide leader in manufacturing flexible, automatic systems and integrating products, processes and services that increase efficiency while lowering overall costs. Headquartered in Turin, Italy, with an international network that spans 15 countries, Comau uses the latest technology and processes to deliver advanced turnkey systems that consistently exceed the expectations of its customers. Comau specializes in body welding & assembl powertrain machining & assembly, robotics and maintenance as well as environmental services for a wide range of industrial sectors. The continuous expansion and improvement of its product range enables Comau to guarantee customized assistance at all phases of a project - from design, implementation and installation, to production start-up and maintenance services.
For further information about Comau’s consolidated experience and its vast portfolio of products and services, visit www.comau.com