Sunday, July 3, 2022

Ardemagni: new factory for bigger volumes and Industry 4.0

The opening event of the new plant of Ardemagni Spa (an Italian excellence that is part of Duferco) has been held last June 10th. «The old headquarters at Cinisello Balsamo have been recently dismantled – explained Stefano Sacchi, CEO and Giovanni Lanza, Vice-president – after some months of transition that saw the coexistence of both sites. Nowadays we are operating at full rate in the new site, located in Emilia avenue at Cinisello Balsamo, at a distance of one kilometre and a half from the previous one, in Monfalcone 25 street».
The choice of not abandoning the zone mirrors the will of not losing the key logistic advantages.
«Previously we relied on 6,000 covered square metres in 3 different workshops – they affirmed – whereas today everything is concentrated in a single factory taking up 10,000 covered square metres, organized with a much smarter layout, devised according to a lean concept. The space is equipped with 4 slitter manufacturing machines placed in a row».
In the new site they have installed two brand-new slitting lines, which allow faster production featuring excellent quality. Moreover, they have perfected two packaging lines, one of them fully automated. «This new project has been accomplished in May – they added – with the installation of other two slitting lines, resulting in 4 slitters and three packaging lines in all. Worth highlighting the system on automated carriages that transport the coils from the warehouse to machines: a concept of Industry 4.0 where all plants are interconnected with our IT infrastructures».

In the new 10,000 covered square meters, Ardemagni has dedicated broad space to the warehouse, with a maximum capacity of 15,000 tons of stock on site, an aspect that today is more crucial than ever: a certainty for customers that can always have available material and for the production that can be optimized.
In 2010, Duferco and China Steel Corporation accomplished the takeover of Ardemagni service centre. It is a steel service centre that receives large coils of electrical steel that is then slit for the creation of strips with different widths depending on the requirements of customers, which are mainly manufacturers of motors and laminations.
Today, Ardemagni imports, processes and distributes electrical steel from China Steel Corporation in Italy and in Europe, with an export percentage amounting to 50%.

Peugeot Sport and Marelli together for the Hypercar

A recent technological partnership concerns Peugeot Sport and Marelli, based on the development of the most possible efficient solution to satisfy the extreme performances demanded by the hybrid propulsion system of a PEUGEOT 9X8 Hyper-car, which since 2022 will compete in the World Endurance Championship (WEC).
In particular, Marelli – whose contribution is based on know-how consolidated in the design, production and implementation of hybrid and Full Electric high-performance systems – will develop and supply a specific electric motor with high performances and a silicon carbide inverter, which will be part of the electric drive system on the front axle. The development target is maximising the system efficiency and reliability, meanwhile adapting the motor and inverter technology to the weight and volume parameters established by the team.
The partnership marks a new chapter in the long collaboration between Marelli and Peugeot. «We have collaborated for many years now with Marelli and our teams share the same passion and dedication to excellence. This project represents an unbelievable opportunity to combine our competences and to design, to test and to run a new innovative performing electric motor on the track, so determining the success of 9X8 » affirmed Olivier Janssonie. Riccardo De Filippi, Head of Marelli Motorsport stated instead: «Once more, we have combined all of our competences to push the performance of such a unique and extreme car to the limit in a sustainable way, adopting the most advanced Marelli electric propulsion technology».

Volkswagen, great strides for the production of electric vehicles

Volkswagen prosecutes its factories’ conversion to electric mobility. Volkswagen brand is enlarging its network of global production of electric vehicles with the manufacturing start of full-electric ID.4 at Emden. Emden is currently the second site for electric vehicles in Germany after Zwickau and joins the Chinese plants in Anting and Foshan. Chattanooga and Hannover as well will start the production this year. Consequently, in 2022 Volkswagen is creating the conditions to manufacture in the future 1.2 million full-electric vehicles based on MEB modular platform in its factories in Europe, United States of America and China. Volkswagen has invested around one million Euros for the conversion of Emden factory with its 8,000 employees. Therefore, Emden is the first high-tech site for electric mobility in Lower Saxony. Volkswagen Group will invest 21 billion Euros overall in Lower Saxony until 2026 and will make the Land the German fulcrum of electric mobility. «The fast expansion of the production capacity of our successful ID.4 model is a key component of Accelerate strategy. It aids us in speeding up the transformation towards a zero carbon-emission mobility and in satisfying the high demand for electric vehicles», declared the Ceo of Volkswagen brand, Ralf Brandstätter.

The “Swiss Army Knife” of power electronics

Among the top players for the electric propulsion, ranks BAE Systems, which will bring its next-generation power and propulsion technology to the heavy-duty industrial vehicle market. The company’s electric drive system provides a revolutionary design which will help industrial vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) get their electric vehicles (EVs) to market faster and at a lower installed cost.
Steve Trichka, vice president and general manager of Power and Propulsion Solutions at BAE Systems said: «We are providing an all-inclusive solution to bring the industrial vehicle market one step closer to a zero-emission future. Our next-generation components are the Swiss Army Knife of power electronics, delivering multifunctional capabilities in a compact and flexible design. This flexibility makes it easier for OEMs to cover multiple platforms, including traditional diesel and purpose built EVs».
BAE Systems’ next-generation system for the heavy-duty industrial vehicle market builds on the company’s more than 25 years of experience in low and zero emission EV solutions for the transit bus and marine industries. The system uses fewer components and increases electrical efficiency. Its Modular Accessory Power System (MAPS) and Modular Power Control System (MPCS) also allow for scalable, customized solutions to provide the core power for a range of applications, from school buses and mining vehicles to sanitation and yard trucks.
BAE Systems has a deep understanding of systems engineering, a revolutionary design for propulsion and accessory power, proven integration expertise, and aftermarket support to give manufacturers a reliable solution and faster path to market, at a lower installation cost.

Shortage of STEM graduates: so, the ecologic transition slows down

STEM Education for Learning, Electronic board for be program by robotics electronics in laboratory in school. Concept of Mathematics, engineering, science, technology for innovation in classroom

The recent survey by The European House – Ambrosetti highlights that in Italy we scarcely study Stem disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics: just 16% of the population aged 20-29 has a degree in one of these subjects, against 20% on average of the European Union. Germany, with 20%, and France with 28%, are the excellences.
The Minister of Education, Patrizio Bianchi stated that the shortage of STEM graduates and professors is almost a national emergency, as it already happened in France two years ago: «We need immediate investments, we must work in synergy with Universities. The crucial issue of Mathematics is about new competences and new languages. Two years ago, the president Macron declared Mathematics as a national emergency for France. I am not doing the same thing for our Country, but we are close to it. Here is another theme, too: “How should disciplines be taught? In our graduation course, there is not a specific course that teaches not mathematics, but instead how Mathematics, or Physics, or Italian language is taught. We should not take for granted that a young boy or a young girl, graduated in Mathematics or Literature, are then able to teach it».
Another Italian politician, Roberto Cingolani, Minister of the Ecologic Transition, has cast the spotlights on the matter. «In Italy, there is a structural shortage of minds trained in technical-scientific subjects. We miss 30,000 young experts in STEM subjects. In other Countries there are many more. This is critical for the ecologic transition».

Magnets, the European choice of Schaeffler

There is a brand-new agreement: la global automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler has signed a five-year contract with Norwegian company REEtec AS for the purchase of rare earth oxides. The two have established a partnership to decrease the dependence on China precisely for rare earth metals for magnets used in electric motors.
Schaeffler has been producing electric motors on a large scale since 2021 and offers its customers power classes ranging from 20 kW to more than 300 kW. The company is focusing on sustainability along the entire value chain. Emission-free material production is an important step towards climate neutral operations by 2040.
The aim is to make electric motors for hybrid modules, hybrid transmissions and all-electric axle drives even more sustainable. Powerful permanent magnets manufactured using rare earth metals like neodymium produce optimum magnetic flux in electric motors.
In the future, Schaeffler will procure these metals from REEtec AS, which uses a sustainable production process. The partnership will begin in 2024.
Andreas Schick, Chief Operating Officer at Schaeffler AG said: «In REEtec, Schaeffler has gained a highly innovative partner that uses a novel and especially sustainable process for the production of pure rare earth elements. Rare earths play an important role in automotive and industrial segments. Schaeffler is focusing on achieving sustainability along the entire value chain and is systematically gearing its activities to the use of materials produced cleanly and sustainably. Through this partnership, we are also securing our supply of neodymium iron boron magnets for electric motors».
«We are delighted to have signed a five-year contract with Schaeffler and to be partnering with a globally successful market leader that prioritizes sustainability and transparency in the supply chain», instead the words by Sigve Sporstøl, CEO of REEtec AS.

Qf stakes on electric motors for industrial machines

Let us take a step back: last December, took place the takeover of 100% of Gkn, global engineering and manufacturing partner of metal powders and product solutions for automotive and industrial markets, by Qf Spa of Borgomeo Group, so sparing the factory at Campi Bisenzio, including the employment of its 422 workers.
In these days, it is released the news that in that factory they will produce state-of-the-art electric motors for machines at the service of the industrial automation of textile, of pharmaceutical and other sectors, including automotive and technologies for renewable energies.
«They have taken a very important step forward, we hope it is decisive» stated the major of Florence Firenze, Dario Nardella. While Eugenio Giani, president of the Tuscany Region, declared: «Positive the recovery prospect provided by the guidelines of the industrial plan and the safeguard of all involved workers». The industrial plan will avail itself of an important research, development and design structure, integrated with industrialization and production. The operation provides for investments worth 82 millions, staking on the development of integrated electric hyper-digital drives, in an integrated system for the implementation of industrial automation, edrives, robotics and logistics. In a successive phase, the electrification of transport systems, connected also with the energy sector, will be started. Besides electric motors, the power converter will be developed.

China loves electric motors

With over 600 start-ups of electric vehicles, today China is the Country deemed the world capital city of electric vehicles. In 2021, they sold in China over 3.3 million electric vehicles, with the huge 154% rise versus the previous year, with BYD and Tesla best-sellers headquartered at Shenzen.
Such rise of the demand for electric vehicles has led BYD to announce they have stopped producing vehicles with combustion engine: now they will produce just hybrid plug-in fully electric and strongly electrified cars. A glance at topical issues: the current Chinese players of tier-1 EV electric vehicles in 2022 are Nio, XPeng, Li Auto, Leapmotor and Nezha.
Among the start-ups of electric vehicles in China, most of them are moving towards tier-2 EV electric vehicles.

BorgWarner’s more and more electric direction

It is very recent the news of the takeover of Santroll Automotive Components, the Chinese player’s eMotor division, by the American BorgWarner. They are steps towards east and towards electrification: Santroll is in fact focused on electric drive units, also for buses, with advanced technologies such as high-density electric windings of hairpin type and synchronous variable reluctance motors with very high performances. Santroll supplies its patented technology to the Chinese OEM market.
With nearly 400 full-time employees, Santroll brings manufacturing equipment design capabilities and proven automation expertise that have allowed it to secure business relationships with many leading customers in China. The hairpin winding type is already used also by BorgWarner for its HVH 320 electric motor, intended for equipping the commercial vehicles, its first electric step.
The takeover announcement was diffused last April 1st, after one month and a half of works. «We are pleased to accomplish Santroll takeover and to welcome in BorgWarner the talented Santroll employees in China», are the words by Frédéric Lissalde, President and CEO of BorgWarner, company with a history of 130 years, that today are accelerating the world’s transition to eMobility.

Electric vehicles are growing

EV with busy city traffic intersection at night

The sixth edition of the document “Sustainable mobility and electric vehicles” has been released by Repower, Group operating in the energy and sustainable mobility sector. The paper outlines the sector state-of-the-art on a world scale: for the second year, is growing the number of electrified vehicles (BEV, that is to say full electric, and PHEV, plug in hybrid) registered: in 2021, BEV and PHEV rose from 59,900 to 136,854 new registrations, scoring +128.2% versus 2020. BEV (Battery electric vehicle) with 67,542 registered units in 2021, have more than doubled (+107% in 2021, compared to 32,500 units registered in 2020). Concerning PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle), with 69,312units registered, they reach the +152.7% growth versus 27,433 units in 2020. Although percentage numbers are encouraging, at absolute level Italy ranks sixth in Europe with 1.14 full electric vehicles every 1000 inhabitants. Different matter for the two-wheeled world: Italy is the first Country by number of bicycles exported to Europe, with the e-bike world that has quintupled sales in the last five years: in 2020 they sold over 280,000 units, sold unit record, amounting to +44% versus 2019, 14% of the total released on the Italian market.
Fabio Bocchiola, AD Repower Italia, declared: «The energy transition is the element that characterizes the sixth edition of the document a theme that is unveiling itself in its complexity and in its large-scale implications, also the least positive ones. The deep inter-dependence among sectors that were very distant until few years ago clearly emerges in this market context, confirming how national and regional energy policies produce effects in very different markets, for instance in the automotive sector, in the technological one and, besides, in the agricultural ambit. Another fundamental item of this work is the analysis of sustainable mobility prospects, of its many declinations and of the technologies that drive it».