We have seen some significant advances in automotive manufacturing technologies in recent years and it’s only going to get better. Many segments are adopting different manufacturing techniques to help reduce labour and material costs while increasing productivity, production efficiency and quality.
For automotive manufacturers to operate at the highest level requires the best framework. That means investing in the latest machinery and technologies but also putting in place the right approach to the future.
Competition is rife among automotive manufacturing companies and that’s a good thing as it promotes creativity and innovation. To try and outperform one another, carmakers rely on developing new techniques to produce more advanced, more comfortable, cheaper and better quality vehicles. With that, let’s take a look at some of the most prominent automotive manufacturing technologies.
Injection moulding can be defined as a process of forming motor vehicle parts by inserting molten material into a cavity. Once cooled, the equipment takes the shape, size, and configuration of the mould. It’s often injected into metal cavities or steel depending on the preferences for producing material of the car parts. This technology is currently used for making plastic parts on cars.
The Ever-Evolving 3D Printing
3D printing involves using computer-controlled printers that apply layers to specific products. This automotive manufacturing technology can produce complex products with much higher accuracy. The application of 3D printing in the manufacturing sector has led to the creation of digital models on finished products.
Computer Numerical Control machining (CNC) uses computer programmes to control machines, including drills and lathes. An operator feeds the machine coded information which it automatically executes to provide a faster, more accurate and economical finished product compared to manual handling. It’s no surprise then that it has found favour within the automotive sector.
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Sheet Metal Fabrication
Sheet metal fabrication is automated and is one of the preferred automotive manufacturing technologies due to its plasticity and elasticity. Carmakers use sheet metal fabrication to build unibody parts, for car restoration and in roll cage work. This greatly improves the performance and safety standards of these components
Newer Automotive Manufacturing Technologies
As the world becomes more reliant on technology, the automotive sector also has to adapt. The increased use of computer systems has resulted in enhanced manufacturing techniques to produce better vehicles. The transition from old manufacturing technologies to new methods means the process is faster, more accurate and convenient by allowing customisation of products with complex specifications.
Let’s start with digital manufacturing which is a computer-based technique to make vehicles and vehicle parts. This technology has enabled engineers to establish more reliable, cost-effective and accurate techniques to create an improved finished product. They can also provide precise information on production dates and even durability of manufactured components.
3D printing and additive manufacturing are much of the same thing as it describes the same process. However, if you want to get technical, 3D printing typically describes the “entry-level” processes like FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling), also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF).
Additive manufacturing on the other hand describes the advanced and more precise techniques like SLS (Selective Laser Sintering). As an automotive manufacturing method, it automatically applies layer upon layer of a material to produce the finished products.
This technology is faster, more accurate and cost-effective as it requires fewer human operators. Just like any other business, carmakers also need to make a profit and coming up with technologies can help them save on production costs while improving on quality. Other advanced manufacturing methods include Rapid Manufacturing, Cloud-based Manufacturing and 3D Modelling.
CNC Machining And Fabrication With PRV Engineering
Advancement in technology is inevitable as the demand for better and faster production continues to increase. As time goes by and more companies implement the latest technologies, we’ve seen a significant reduction in manufacturing cost, improved accuracy and worker safety.
It also opens the door for many new developments and that includes the manufacturing of more advanced, safer cars; not to mention autonomous driving and EVs. A fully autonomous, all-electric city may not happen anytime soon but give credit where credit is due for those on the cutting edge getting us ever so closer.
At PRV Engineering, our large facility in Pontypool includes a CNC machining and sheet metal fabrication centre serving a multitude of industries. This includes automotive manufacturing, defence, aerospace, construction and rail among others. Contact us if you have a project in mind or would like more information on the services we provide.