FCA US has awarded the production of the power electronics module for the Jeep Wrangler PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) to its Toledo Machining Plant. As part of the Capital Markets Day presentation in June, FCA committed to expanding its electrified propulsion systems in global architectures spanning the full range... Read more →


DOE funds a fifth round of projects pairing manufacturing, high performance computing; KeraCel and solid-state batteries

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $3.8 million for 13 industry projects under fifth round of selections for the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) Program for the HPC4Mfg Program, led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and its partners Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Oak... Read more →


Study concludes environmental regulations drove steep declines in US factory pollution even with increased production

The federal Clean Air Act and associated environmental regulations have driven steep declines in air pollution emissions over the past several decades, even as US manufacturers increased production, according to a study by two University of California, Berkeley, economists. The study, forthcoming in the American Economic Review, found that polluting... Read more →


McKinsey & Co. survey finds huge gap between piloting and deploying digital manufacturing; automotive no exception

Automakers and their suppliers, like manufacturers in many other industries, have been exploring the potential of digital manufacturing strategies to increase productivity, profitability and decision-making. Audi, for example, just last week announced plans with Ericsson to pilot the use of 5G as a future-proof enabling communication technology for such Industry... Read more →


Daimler joins multiple initiatives for a sustainable raw material supply chain; future focus on battery cell supply chain

Daimler has joined the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, the Responsible Mineral Initiative, the Responsible Steel Initiative and the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative. Joining the four initiatives takes a product’s entire life cycle into account—from development, via procurement and production to recycling. As part of the offensive for a sustainable raw material supply... Read more →


A new analysis of the cost of current (2017) direct hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by a team from the Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory and Strategic Analysis found the lowest estimated system cost to date for high annual production rates. The highest volume predictions, for 100,000 and 500,000 units... Read more →


Audi and Ericsson to pioneer 5G for automotive manufacturing

Audi and Ericsson plan to pioneer the use of 5G technology for automotive production. At Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, the two companies agreed on a range of activities exploring the potential of 5G as a future-proof communication technology that can meet the high demands of automotive production. Audi and... Read more →


Novelis to acquire downstream aluminum producer Aleris for ~$2.6B; meeting automotive demand, expanding into aerospace

Novelis Inc., the leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Aleris Corporation, a global supplier of aerospace and automotive rolled aluminum products, for approximately $2.6 billion including the assumption of debt. Aleris has been an important supplier... Read more →


BMW Group has introduced computer tomography (CT) into prototype development, production and analysis—a first in the automotive industry. With this technology, the full range of vehicles, from MINI to Rolls-Royce, can now be quality-controlled even in the early stages of development. Scans are performed by four robots which move around... Read more →


Volkswagen’s main plant in Wolfsburg has won the Automotive Lean Production Award for the first time. Series production at Wolfsburg began in 1945; since then, more than 45 million vehicles have rolled off its lines. The plant currently produces up to 3,500 units of the Golf, Golf Sportsvan, Touran and... Read more →


Geely officially discloses new global B-segment automobile modular architecture: BMA; new BMA-based SUV to launch this year

Automobile modular architectures—for example, TNGA of Toyota, and MQB, MLB and MEB of the Volkswagen Group—hav become a major trend in the auto industry. Modular technology has become an important criterion for evaluating whether an automobile company is combining global R&D technology and market layout with a cost-effective manufacturing approach.... Read more →


BYD opened a 24 GWh power battery factory in Western China’s Qinghai province; the company is preparing to increase its total production capacity to 60 GWh by 2020. Power battery factory in Western China’s Qinghai province. The factory—equivalent to the size of 140 football fields—will be the largest in the... Read more →


Toyota AI Ventures, TRI launch call for innovation to fund robotics startups focused on mobile manipulation

Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Toyota AI Ventures launched a global “call for innovation” in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). Designed to spur entrepreneurial innovation by identifying key technology gaps, the initiative uses a call-and-response approach to offer promising startups the opportunity to secure from $500,000 to $2... Read more →


Volkswagen Group further advancing electromobility offensive in China; LoI with FAW Group, ICV; investing €15B through 2022

The Volkswagen Group is expanding its successful business relationships in China with a particular focus on e-mobility. As part of the 5th German-Chinese government consultations, the Volkswagen Group China signed letters of intent with a long-time joint-venture partner, the FAW Group, and with the China Intelligent and Connected Vehicles (Beijing)... Read more →


The Chinese EV battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) is building its first plant outside of China in Thuringia, Germany. The focus of the 14 GWh plant is on the automated production and intelligent production of batteries. CATL develops battery systems for global customers in EV, HEV and PHEV... Read more →


Roskill: predominance of lithium production shifting to mineral vs brine, driven by volume requirements of EVs

Roskill Information Services forecasts that the lithium industry will need to add nearly 100kt of new lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) production per year by 2027 to keep up with demand driven by the global transition to electric vehicles. Global lithium resources have increased significantly over recent years, driven by a... Read more →


Ford hits CO2 manufacturing emissions reduction target of 30% per vehicle 8 years early

Ford Motor Company has met its goal to reduce manufacturing CO2 emissions eight years ahead of schedule. The goal, set in 2010, aimed to reduce the company’s global carbon dioxide emissions from manufacturing operations by 30% per vehicle produced by 2025. As described in its 19th annual Sustainability Report, Ford... Read more →


The Chinese start-up Byton, which is developing fully networked and highly automated electric vehicles (earlier post) has commissioned Dürr to construct a complete paint shop. Distinguishing features are a 20% reduction in the facility’s physical footprint and the use of pioneering technologies such as the EcoInCure oven—which is highly suited... Read more →


Volkswagen Group: Foshan Plant Phase II mega-factory key for China; strengthening e-mobility strategy

Through the completion of the Foshan Plant Phase II, Volkswagen Group’s Foshan production site’s capacity will double from 300,000 to 600,000 cars annually. The first SUV-model of the Volkswagen brand built by FAW-Volkswagen—the T-Roc—successfully rolled off the line in April this year. Together with the Audi Q2L, which will also... Read more →


The new Advanced Metal Processing Center (AMPC) has opened at Brunel University London. The new center provides a boost for manufacturers to work with Brunel on large-scale research and development activity, enabling innovations such as novel structures for lightweight car parts to make the leap from the lab to full-scale... Read more →


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. will build more models using a new type of super high formability (SHF) steel that combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions while protecting occupants. (Earlier post.) Nissan is the world’s first carmaker... Read more →


Magna intends to form two new joint ventures with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd (BJEV)—a subsidiary of the BAIC Group for electric cars—for the engineering and complete vehicle manufacturing of electric vehicles. Over the coming months, Magna and BJEV will work with authorities to implement legally binding joint-venture agreements which... Read more →


Leading steel and mining company ArcelorMittal has begun construction of new premises at its site in Ghent, Belgium, to house a new installation which will convert carbon-containing gas from its blast furnaces into bioethanol. The technology in the gas conversion process, which utilizes microbes that feed on carbon monoxide to... Read more →


Mercedes-Benz Cars is starting construction of its first “Full-Flex Plant“ in Kecskemét, Hungary, about 90 km in the south of Budapest. Overall, the company is investing €1 billion in the new car plant and creating more than 2,500 jobs. The first global “Full-Flex Plant” of Mercedes-Benz Cars is based on... Read more →


Volkswagen launches new engineer training program for ID EV family

The Volkswagen brand has launched a program—the “Future Electronic Engineer Program” (FEEP)—to train 100 young engineers and skilled workers throughout the world as top production experts in e-mobility. The first participants to complete the three-year program will support the run-up phase of the I.D. family, the new generation of full-electric... Read more →


DOE Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute awards ~$10M to 10 projects

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) will award nearly $10 million for ten projects to help advance its goals and enable US manufacturers to develop and implement innovations that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. Launched in 2016, CESMII focuses on... Read more →


Siemens and Northvolt, a company working to build a European Li-ion gigafactory with 32 GWh of battery capacity (earlier post), are partnering for the development of best-in-class technology to produce high-quality lithium-ion batteries. The partnership, which will be supported by Siemens through an investment of €10 million (US$11.7 million); after... Read more →


Novelis, the leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, plans to invest approximately $180 million to double its automotive aluminum body sheet capacity at its Changzhou facility in China. The company will begin expanding its existing facility in 2018 and be fully operational by 2020, helping key traditional automakers and electric... Read more →


Toyota projects that global sales of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will increase significantly after 2020 to at least 30,000 per year from today’s 3,000. To prepare for this growth, the company unveiled plans for two major new facilities: a brand-new building near its original automobile factory for expanding fuel... Read more →


Mercedes-Benz to invest ~€500M to produce electric compact EQ model at Hambach plant

Mercedes-Benz Cars is expanding its production capacities for electric cars in Europe. The Hambach plant in France, which currently produces smart brand electric vehicles, will produce a compact electric car of the new product and technology brand EQ. Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to launch more than ten electric cars by 2022... Read more →


Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Germany to be supplied with CO2-neutral energy from 2022

In Germany, all Mercedes-Benz plants will be supplied with CO2-neutral energy. The preparations for exclusively green electricity for a climate-friendly production in Europe are already well advanced. From 2022, the production of our Mercedes-Benz plants in Germany will operate CO2-neutral. Thereby, we completely forego coal-based electricity and obtain our electrical... Read more →


Rio Tinto and Alcoa announce world’s first carbon-free aluminum smelting process; Apple assist; Elysis JV to commercialize

Rio Tinto and Alcoa Corporation announced a revolutionary process to make aluminum that produces only oxygen as a by-product, eliminating all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process. In Canada alone, use of the technology could eliminate the equivalent of 6.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,... Read more →


U of I team uses frontal polymerization for rapid energy-efficient manufacturing of polymers; saving 10 orders of magnitude of energy

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new polymer-curing process that could reduce the cost, time and energy needed, compared with the current manufacturing process. The findings, reported in Nature, state that the new polymerization process uses 10 orders of magnitude less energy and can cut two orders... Read more →


GM is using new generative design software technology from Autodesk to support its vehicle lightweighting efforts. Generative design mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design. Designers or engineers input design goals into generative design software, along with parameters such as such as weight, strength, material choice, fabrication method, and more. The... Read more →


Northvolt progressing towards European battery Gigafactory

Aspiring European battery gigafactory developer Northvolt (earlier post) has begun the the construction of Northvolt Labs. Once completed in 2019, the scale-up and research facility will be used to develop, test and industrialize lithium-ion battery cells before large-scale production. The facility will enable fully process representative manufacturing and allow a... Read more →


At WCX18: SAE World Congress Experience earlier this month, ArcelorMittal and Honda unveiled the world’s first outer and inner door ring system to better balance strength and performance while removing additional weight from the vehicle. The partners co-engineered the system for the 2019 Acura RDX. The inner door ring comprises... Read more →


CCM: Shanghai Energy investing US$790M to construct world’s largest Li-ion wet process separator production base

China will account for more than 60% of the world’s production of wet-process separators for Li-ion batteries, with more than 10 billion square meters capacity, according to China-based market intelligence firm CCM. Now, Shanghai Energy, the largest supplier in the country, will build the largest production base, strengthening China’s leading... Read more →


Lithium Australia (LIT) has finalized its acquisition of advanced cathode material production technology, acquiring 99.7% of the equity in Brisbane-based Very Small Particle Company (VSPC). The VSPC facility is a 2 to 4 tonnes-per-annum pilot plant that incorporates an integrated laboratory, coin-cell production facility and battery-testing equipment. Cathode powder producer... Read more →


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, which is developing future manufacturing concepts, has succeeded in 3D printing a smart shaft, combining sensor technology, wireless data transfer, and condition monitoring in the same package. The new manufacturing methods will enable the creation of new business models and provide a competitive edge... Read more →


The BMW Group will invest more than €10 million in a new Additive Manufacturing Campus. Located in Oberschleissheim, just north of Munich, the facility will allow the company to continue developing its expertise in this field of work. Our new Additive Manufacturing Campus will concentrate the full spectrum of the... Read more →


The European H2FUTURE project consortium, comprising voestalpine, Siemens, VERBUND, and Austrian Power Grid, together with the research partners K1-MET and ECN, officially gave the green light to the construction of a 6 MW “green” hydrogen pilot production plant—the world’s largest—at a voestalpine Linz steel plant. (Earlier post.) The partners from... Read more →


Argonne using machine learning to optimize designing and manufacturing of new products; HD engine simulation presented at WCX

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are developing advanced machine learning techniques with high-performance computing (HPC) to help organizations reduce design time from months to days and slash development costs. In the latest example of the work, the Argonne team, with colleagues from Convergent Science... Read more →


Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory )PNNL) have developed and successfully tested a new solid-phase technique called Friction Stir Dovetailing (FSD) to join thick plates of aluminum to steel. The new process will be used to make lighter-weight military vehicles that are more agile and fuel efficient. An open-access paper... Read more →


Volkswagen Braunschweig has been awarded the contract to further the development and production of battery systems for the Modular Electric Drive Modular System (MEB). In the future, the plant will produce up to half a million battery systems per year for the electric vehicles of the Volkswagen brand and other... Read more →


Dürr is building a paint shop in Mexico for the BMW Group that meets the requirements for connected Industry 4.0 production. This plant, featuring the first integrated smart factory concept from Dürr, is being built at the San Luis Potosí site. San Luis Potosí will build the BMW brand’s best-selling... Read more →


A team of Idaho National Laboratory (INL) researchers, with colleagues at Georgia Tech, has pioneered an electrochemical process that could eliminate the need for high-energy steam cracking. In an open-access paper in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science, the researchers suggest that their study provides a disruptive approach for... Read more →


Volkswagen of America hires Tesla Model S, X program manager to steer objectives for MEB EV line

Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VWoA) has appointed Matthew Renna as Vice President, Volkswagen North American Region (NAR)-G4, effective 16 April 2018. Renna will manage the NAR-G4 team, steering objectives for the Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) line, Volkswagen’s modular system for manufacturing electric vehicles. Renna most recently served as program manager... Read more →


Tesla Q1 2018 vehicle production up 40% from Q4; Model 3 now at +2,000 units per week

Tesla reported Q1 2018 vehicle production of 34,494 vehicles—a 40% increase from Q4 and its most productive quarter. Of the total, 24,728 (72%) were Model S and Model X, and 9,766 (28%) were Model 3. The Model 3 output increased fourfold over last quarter. Tesla was able to double the... Read more →


Developers from Bosch and scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are using neutron imaging to analyze the filling of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid cars with electrolytes. Their experiments, reported in the Journal of Power Sources, show that electrodes are wetted twice as fast in a vacuum as under... Read more →


Ford management gave an update on its product line plans, touting that by 2020, the company will offer “North America’s freshest lineup among all full-line automakers,” with its average showroom age dropping from 5.7 to 3.3 years as it replaces three-quarters of its lineup and adds four new trucks and... Read more →