Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Manufacturing technology for electro mobility

Manufacturing technology

At the end of January 2017, GROB acquired 100 percent shares in DMG meccanica, substantially reinforcing the competences and developments in electro mobility, which it has been developing for several years. The technologies of DMG meccanica and the new processes developed by GROB will now enable GROB to provide all the vital manufacturing processes and procedures in electric drives for the automotive industry and its suppliers worldwide, and also to supply them for series production in the near future. DMG meccanica has many years of specialization and experience in machinery and plant manufacture for the production of stators for electric motors, alternators andgenerators. The technological know-how is based on the tried-and-tested winding process of inserting technology and needle winding.
Most of the machinery and plant of DMG meccanica is used directly in the automotive industry. GROB develops and tests new processes, developed specially for the series production of stators for electric motors in electric vehicles, in its own development department. The future cooperation is therefore a win-win situation for both companies. GROB has secured further know-how in the field of electro mobility and DMG meccanica has found in GROB a strong, globally- oriented partner for series production. Further investments to expand these technologies in the field of electro mobility are planned at both sites in Turin and Mindelheim.

Manufacturing technology
Closing ceremony- Grob and Dmg meccanica management.

Mauro Marzolla and the father of Marco Debilio founded DMG meccanica in 1992 from a spin-off of one of the leading Italian providers of winding machines for electric motors. In 2016, their company with a workforce of forty employees achieved a total turnover of ten million Euro. Their customer portfolio includes many well-known electric motor manufacturers and suppliers to the automotive industry. DMG meccanica is particularly well-represented in the important e-mobility market of China. Owners Mauro Marzolla and Marco Debilio will stay with the company in future and will continue to be co-CEO´s of DMG meccanica. In addition, DMG meccanica will remain an independent company within the GROB-Group, and all jobs in Italy will of course be retained.

A leading machine tool manufacturer

GROB-WERKE is an internationally active family company based in the Bavarian-Swabian town of Mindelheim, with a product portfolio ranging from universal machining centers to highly complex manufacturing systems including automation, and from machining assembly units to fully-automated assembly lines. GROB is one of the few machine tool manufacturers that produces and supplies both machining and assembly equipment. Since the production of electric motors demands special assembly know-how, it was logical for GROB to seek a competent partner from the field of electric motor technology. Its takeover of DMG meccanica enables GROB to emphasize more than ever its claim in drive technology to be a leading and reliable partner for the automotive industry.

Growth performance of Italian automotive components industry

The market of automotive components is living a thriving time in Italy. As confirmed by 2016-turnover of about 39 billion Euros and export data accounting for almost 20 billion Euros.
Figures that let us be confident, not only for the current year but for the incoming ones as well, laying the bases for starting innovative projects in the automotive industry and the approach to more and more strategic foreign markets.

Automotive components in Italy: positive production and new markets

It is interesting to notice that today 75% of a vehicle is constituted by parts and components: a percentage that underlines the fundamental role played by the manufacturing chain of enterprises making up the sector of automotive components.
A field that, in Italy, stands out for dynamism and growth performance, besides a significant penetration into new Countries.
«The Italian componentry is a field that in Italy counts about 2,000 companies and 136,000 employees, with a yearly turnover of about 39 billion Euros. In 2016, the export value rose to 19.97 billion Euros, with a positive trade balance by 5.5 billion Euros», stated Giuseppe Barile, President of ANFIAComponents Group, during the convention “International scenarios in the automotive sector”, organized in Turin, to ponder possible scenarios and the future economic opportunities in the Italian and foreign Automotive industry.

Vehicle export, % out of total export by destination Country, Jan 2017 (Source: ISTAT Foreign Trade).

A positive business trend that, according to ANFIA, is likely to be confirmed also in the current year, considering the car market trends in Italy, for 2017 and 2018, are neatly positive and also the production of vehicles in our Country is expected to score a moderate growth.
In the first 2017 quarter, the data presented by ANFIA confirm Italian component manufacturers’ capability of keeping their export volumes high, granting high quality and high innovation level of products and processes to the market, supported by a favourable ranking on international markets, too.
Vehicle export, % out of total export by destination Country, Jan 2017 (Source: Istat Foreign Trade).
Among the most interesting Countries, as highlighted during the Turin convention, new areas stand out, like North Africa and Iran, which in the last years have succeeded in offering new interesting development opportunities to the Italian enterprises operating in this sector.
«The manufacturing chain of Italian automotive components must seize these new possibilities studying suitable penetration strategies for the peculiarities of these markets» explains Giuseppe Barile. «The prospects we are facing, despite the political turmoil triggered by Brexit and by the election of the USA President Donald Trump, are not destabilizing.
Europe features a globally positive situation, with moderate growth expectations, in search of a new stability. If we consider the enterprises of our production chain, it is likely that big multinationals will be called to an adaptation to local realities, and then to a higher flexibility, which means to suit better contexts, legislative and tax rules and, in general, the requirements of the single nations were their subsidiaries operate.
Meanwhile we foresee significant opportunities for SME, which will rely on their proximity to the market and exploit at best the new technologies in manufacturing processes – Industry 4.0 and digitalization – in favour of the highest flexibility and customization of products».

A rising export for automotive components

The export of automotive components represents 4.8% of the entire Italian export (a value in line with 2015-year’s), whereas imports are worth 3.9% approximately. «In 2016, the export of components remains positive, confirming the good sector trend in foreign markets» commented Giuseppe Barile, President of ANFIA-Components Group.
«As already in 2015, exports, combined with the domestic demand, backed the national manufacturing. This occurred for both the vehicle field (with a production growing by 8.8% in 2016 and sales abroad rising by 6.3%) and for automotive components, with the 0.7% production upswing in the year just ended».
According to ANFIA, the orders, for the component production sector, grew by 4.4% in 2016 (by 5.7% for domestic automotive components and by 2.8% for foreign ones).

Italy industrial production Export value: % var. Jan 17/ Jan 17.

The first destination market of the Italian automation component export remains Germany, with around 3.9 billion Euros (-1% compared to 2015) and the 19.5% percentage (19.7% in 2015) on the total exported, while, for the second consecutive year.
Japan confirms to be first among Asian destination Countries (and fourth non-EU market, after Turkey, USA and Brazil), with over 395 million Euros (+31.3% versus 2015), with a positive trade balance amounting to 174 million Euros (they were 82.4 million in 2015), surpassing China (346 million Euros, with the 16% upswing compared to 2015 and a negative trade balance of 690 millions).
Decreasing by 23% are instead the exports towards the NAFTA Area, by a value of 1.5 billion Euros, maintaining a positive balance of over 605 million (892 million in 2015).
The export value drops by 28% towards USA and by 13% towards Canada, whereas in the last part of the year it recovers towards Mexico (+0.9%).
Country that in 2016 attained a new manufacturing record, with over 3.6 million vehicles (+0.9%) and now living a diversification phase of investments and of decreasing dependence on United States, after the protectionist measures adopted by the new American Government.

Exports: mechanical components are driving

The subdivision of automotive components into macro-classes witnesses the mechanical part ambit (including accessories and glasses) achieves 65.4% of the export value, with 13.06 billion Euros (-0.2% compared to 2015) and a positive trade balance of around 5 billion (5.5 in 2015).
With a value of 3.86 billion Euros (-0.3%), the motor field follows, weighing by 19.3% on the total exports of automotive components, with a positive balance of 1.13 billion Euros. The field of tires and rubber items for vehicles features an export value of 1.19 billion Euros (-1.8% versus 2015), with a negative balance of 482 million Euros. The exports of the sound reproducer field score instead the 14% increment.

Italy trade of components and accessories for vehicles (Anfia processing of Istat data).
Italy trade of automotive components and accessories (Anfia processing of Istat data).

The export of electric components and similar achieves the 6.3% growth, with a positive balance of 71 million Euros (75 million in 2015). Concerning single components, a significant positive trade balance is reached by motors (1.13 billion Euros), brakes (945 million Euros), bridges with differential (674 millions), pumps (374 millions), glasses (325 millions), wheels (303 millions), headlights and lamps (222 millions).

Growing production for the Italian automotive in 2017

According to the preliminary data released by ANFIA, in February 2017, the domestic production of cars registered the 6% rise, with almost 65,000 manufactured units.
Export and domestic market went on driving production data: in the first 2017 quarter, the automotive market achieved growing volumes by 12%.
In particular, in January 2017, the vehicle exports from Italy reached a value of 1.74 billion Euros (+27.7%), representing 5.5% of all exports, whereas the vehicle imports account for 2.48 billion Euros (+27.9%), i.e. 7.7% of all Italian imports.
United States represent in value the first destination Country for the export of vehicles from Italy, with the 19.3% percentage, followed by Germany and France, with shares by 12.3% and 10.9% respectively.
In this context, also the Italian production of automotive components and accessories for vehicles and their motors ends the month of February with a positive trend (+9.9%) and the first two months with +4.5%. In January 2017, according to the last available data, the orders of this specific field grew by 12.6% (+13.6% domestic orders and +11.6% foreign orders).
The turnover achieved by components is therefore growing by 10.2% in January, especially thanks to domestic components, with the 12.1% upswing.

Towards a smarter and eco-friendly car

How will the car of the future be? What technological, structural and manufacturing demand will it satisfy?
«The current technological trends move towards a double direction: an increasingly sustainable, but also safer and smarter, mobility» explained the President of ANFIA-Components Group at the Turin convention.
Within 2021, the European Automotive industry will reduce CO2 emissions by almost 42% compared to 2005, so becoming one of the most virtuous industrial sectors.
«This means that the Automotive manufacturing will go on investing in the optimization of vehicle technologies, aiming at a further improvement of the internal combustion motor efficiency and at the weight reduction, through the use of new materials and nanotechnologies as well as a greater diffusion and an enhancement of the performances of vehicles with alternative power supply».

Orders and production of car components and accessories and their motors.
Orders and production of automotive components and accessories and their motors.

This scenario influences a more and more incisive development of alternative and hybrid technologies in automotive ambit, even if Italy seems to proceed more cautiously in comparison with the other European Countries.
According to an analysis by ANFIA, during 2016 Italy holds the eleventh position by registrations of electric cars (in the ranking of European Union nations extended to EFTA).
That record includes pure electric, hybrid plug-in and hybrid extended range and has just 2,827 registrations out of a total of 206,600, even if growing by 20.7% versus the previous year.
Their market share in Italy is 0.2%. Hybrid cars (encompassing petrol-electric and diesel-electric) registered in 2016 are 37,000, rising by 47.2% compared to 2015, corresponding to 12% of the European market. Their market share in Italy is 2%.
If we analyse the car registrations in the first 2017 quarter and we subdivide them by power supply, in March the market share of petrol cars remains stable with 33.5%. Whereas for diesel cars the percentage grows from 55.8% in February to 56.2%.
The market of hybrid and electric cars features rising volumes that exceed the average, both in the month and in the progressive since the year beginning.
The market share, even if inferior to February one (3%) reaches 2.6% in March, versus 1.8% of one year ago. LPG cars show an exceptional growth as well, both in March and in the first quarter, rising their market share to 6.1% in the month (6.3% in February), against 5.4% of one year ago.
Natural gas cars are instead still dropping; the penetration percentage, even if rising in March 2017 (1.6%) in comparison with the previous month (1.4%), is lower than one year ago (2.5%). «The purchase price of hybrid and electric cars, considering in particular electric models, is still too high for a mass diffusion, if it is not supported by adequate incentive policies» states Giuseppe Barile.

Giuseppe Barile, President of ANFIA–Components Group.

«On the other hand, the electric car industry sets the target of reaching production levels finally allowing significant scale economies and then a decrease of car purchasing prices.
Thus widening the range of buyers. In general, future prospects indicate a mix of alternative power supplies, according to a technology-neutral approach, in conformity with the limits of emissions and environmental targets established at European level». Moreover: «It is worth reminding that the development of infrastructures for alternative fuels is a key element for the enhancement of the relative market of vehicles with alternative power supply. It is progressing, in our Country, thanks to the implementation of the European Directive DAFI. This outlines for the first time a shared framework of measures aimed at the implementation of infrastructures for alternative fuels  to be carried out through national strategic frameworks.
Thats includes the minimal requisites for the construction of recharge points for electric vehicles and natural gas refuelling points (LNG and CNG), LPG, biomethane and hydrogen.
The Legislative Decree 16th December 2016, n. 257, in force since 14/1/2017, governs the implementation of the Directive in Italy and is fruit of a synergistic work among ANFIA and the other concerned associations».

More than 1.6 million vehicles are likely to be sold

Frost & Sullivan’s “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook, 2018”

According to Frost & Sullivan’s recently released “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook, 2018”, the electric vehicle market reached the 1.2-million sales mark for the first time, with more than 165 models available for sale. China is leading the market with 48% market share followed by Europe with 26%.

Solid-state batteries

Solid-state batteries are likely to be the “game changers” of future battery chemistries, as they render 2.5 times higher density than lithium-ion. In the last 6 months, more than 10 automakers have announced future electric vehicle launch plans. Based on the announcements, electric vehicle now have a market potential of about 25 million units that will be sold by 2025; more than 400 models will be made available.

Frost & Sullivan’s “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook, 2018”
Frost & Sullivan’s “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook, 2018”

The Tesla Gigafactory is currently 35% operational and aims to produce 50 GWh of batteries in 2018. On full capacity, it will manufacture 150 GWh which will power an equivalent of 1.5 million vehicles with a 100 kWh battery capacity. Toyota, Fisker and BMW are likely to be the first automakers to adopt the battery in its electric vehicles by 2023.

Charging infrastructures

The electric vehicle charging infrastructure challenge has not yet been addressed, as there is a need for more charging stations globally.

Frost & Sullivan’s “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook, 2018”
Frost & Sullivan’s “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook, 2018”

Currently, the density of charging stations is high in limited areas or regions where an electric vehicle sale is highest.

Costs and market 

Electric vehicles are likely to cost the same as conventional cars by 2020 which will be a huge threat to the conventional car industry. The EV industry will no longer require financial support from the government to regularise the price of an Electric vehicle in the form of cash incentives.

Logistics companies, such as DHL, DPD, TNT, etc., are switching to a 100% electric fleet by replacing current conventional vehicles with electric vehicles that are equally competent and a perfect fit for the business model. OEMs are shifting to 100% electric vans by 2020. 11 OEMs have announced electric vehicle milestones and targets.

Frost & Sullivan’s “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook, 2018”
Frost & Sullivan’s “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook, 2018”

If all the announcements made so far were to come true, there will be about 25 million electric vehicles sold by 2025 or 20% of all cars sold would be EVs.

Energy and petrochemical companies have started investing heavily in establishing electric vehicle charging stations, as they are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of the electric vehicle market. Shell acquired the largest infrastructure operator “The New Motion” in the Netherlands which owns a network of 30,000 charging stations.


About two years ago the IMA Group, world leader in the design and manufacture of automatic packaging machines, became majority shareholder of ATOP, outstanding company in the sector of automated machines and lines for the manufacturing of stators and rotors for electric motors. Among the operation pillars, it is worth highlighting ATOP’s know-how, which has allowed IMA to rank with incisiveness in the strategic rising segment of “E-mobility”, in addition to standard automotive, industrial, household appliances and power tools market segments.

The great success of the operation and of the state-of-the-art of technology and innovation was underlined by the international-scope ATOP’s digital event broadcast last January 20 and 21: Electric AtTraction, whose name fully mirrors the optimistic future, surrounded by the presentation of the available IMA Digital Services in the name of 4.0, which belong to the IMA Group, constantly pursuing new solutions and technologies for the transport emission reduction, so protecting the environment.

During the event, spotlights were cast on ATOP winding technology and smart flexible manufacturing solutions confirming that ATOP is a state-of-the-art player in hairpin, the reference technology for large scale production of stators for electric traction motors.

Moreover, utmost attention was paid to the new Hairpin Forming Machine, the future of the hairpin forming process for the e-mobility product proposal by ATOP and the relative excellence in phase of hairpin stator Electrical  Test and the 3D Quality Control performed on the welding joints of the hairpin wires made by laser welding. Not less important is the presence of the virtual platform for the accurate production and programming management, besides the use of Remote FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) to efficiently and effectively carry out the remote checking procedures of its lines, still in full cooperation with the Customer Technical Team, but without their physical presence on site.

Electric vehicles, the revolution is French

Goal declared by the French President Emmanuel Macron is making France one of the main protagonists, or even the absolute primattress of the European e-mobility scenario. To reach this ambitious achievement, the tenant of the Eliseo has recently announced the allocation by his Government of a total of eight billion Euros that, in intentions, are at least partially intended for boosting the sales of light zero-impact vehicles.
Like elsewhere, the slowdown that affected the automotive panorama even before the advent of the Coronavirus emergency has made its effect felt in transalpine territory. Here, according to some estimates, in March and April registrations reached the -90% negative peak overall, although electric cars seem to have limited damages, stopping the fall around -66%.
Therefore, the institutional financing is aimed at reviving the fate of industry in general and, however, Macron explicitly anticipated that in the next five years the Country is expected to be able to produce at least one million of full-electric or hybrid models yearly.
Until next December 31st, the Government’s incentive in favour of the purchases of electric vehicles by private buyers will rise from 6,000 to 7,000 Euros and other provisions have been drawn up to full benefit of corporate and commercial fleets – they will take advantage of a 5,000 Euros bonus – and plug-in. The latter will benefit from funds up to 2,000 Euros, provided that they can travel for 50 kilometres minimum driven by the electric power supply only and their list price does not exceed 50,000 Euros.
Clearly, the plafond is not likely to be accessible to all, since it will be limited to the first 200,000 models bought in the frame of this programme. However, there is something else. The French executive has fixed in 12,000 Euros the incentive in favour of all those who are going to scrap their old car to shift to a completely electrified four-wheeler.
A race to facilities is to be budgeted, since in 2018 a similar initiative, but based on a 2,500 Euro incentive, had resulted in the exhaustion of 45% of the available amount in less than five months. Going back to the project recently baptised by Emmanuel Macron, it was blessed by big French automotive companies PSA and Renault-Nissan – the latter beneficiary of an anti-crisis loan worth 5 billions by the Government – that, besides working at the respective development roadmap of electric vehicles, are planning the production of dedicated batteries in partnership with Total Group.
(Roberto Carminati)

Volkswagen, the sustainable production on Meb base is starting

In Foshan and Anting Chinese factories, which together have a maximum overall capacity of 600,000 units per year, they have started the production of the two new models of the 100% electric ID family, specific for that national market. They are ID.4 Crozzi By Faw-Volkswagen and ID.4 X1 by Saic Volkswagen, manufactured on the innovative Meb platform, and the release on the market is expected for the beginning of 2021.
This move will allow the Group to rise the share of electric vehicles in its product portfolio by 35% within 2025 and Volkswagen will propose eight models of the ID family by 2023.
«Our ID. family, based on Meb platform – declared Stephan Wöllenstein, Ceo of Volkswagen Group China – will revolutionize the industry and the market of electric cars. Meb features unique versatility and it is an unbelievably flexible platform for the vehicle production, that is to say it allows offering a broad range of very interesting electric models, from compact city cars to spacious vans or Suv».
Foshan production site is fully powered by renewable energy and its original structures have been renovated, so becoming one of the most flexible sites in the global production network: they rely on 1,200 robots in the welding department and an almost 100% automation degree in the painting one. Here it is possible to manufacture both standard internal-combustion vehicles based on the Mqb platform and fully electric cars on Meb base. A highly flexible configuration enables the production of 6-8 Meb models simultaneously.

The new hybrid plug-in by Ferrari

Extraordinarily fine. SF90 Spider, convertible version of the SF90 Road, it is not only the first Ferrari series plug-in hybrid spider, but it also represents the absolute reference in terms of drive performance, innovations and emotions compared to the range by Maranello Company and the production of the whole sports car sector.

It is a disruptive car, for those aspiring to the highest level of Ferrari technology and wishing to be excited by its performances without giving up versatility and the drive pleasure with open top assured by RHT (Retractable Hard Top), factory trademark of the spiders by Prancing Horse since 2011.

The hybrid plug-in system of SF90 Spider assures it top performances: the 780 HP turbo motor is in fact joined by three electric motors, one at the rear and two on the front axle, which raise the maximum available power to as many as 1000 HP.
However, the great refinement of this plant does not imply complications for the pilot because the sophisticated control logic autonomously supervises the energy flow management according to use conditions.

Therefore, the driver’s only task is setting up one of the use modalities of the power unit (eDrive, Hybrid, Performance and Qualify) that can be selected by the brand-new eManettino and let emotions free.

Like the SF90 Road, also the SF90 Spider is equipped with four-wheel drive on-demand, an absolute première for the sports cars by Maranello Company that allows the car to turn into the new benchmark for the standing start: 0-100 km/h in 2.5 s and 0-200 km/h in 7.0 s.

The adopted architecture has allowed engineers to enhance also the management logic of the dynamic car control, now called eSSC: the system constantly assesses the dynamic vehicle conditions and checks its driving stability and front electric motors, in order to manage independently the torque applied to the inner and outer wheel (Torque Vectoring), significantly improving traction out of corners and allowing the pilot to reach the limit in full simplicity and safety.

Components. Driving sector of industrial growth


The new mobility paradigms impose to this sector and to the component one to invest in the research of green automated solutions connected with the telematics infrastructure network.
It is a dynamic and lively market, with a strong propensity for innovation. This is the picture outlined by the last edition of the Observatory on Italian components, the survey carried out by Turin Trade Chamber, by ANFIA and by CAMI Centre of Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. «In 2016, this sector achieved a turnover of 40 billion Euros, growing by 4.3% compared to the previous year.

Observatory on Italian components.
Observatory on Italian components.

The export is worth 20 billion Euros and the main destination areas of Italian components are Europe and United States – affirmed Vincenzo Ilotte, President of the Trade Chamber of Turin during the press conference on the Observatory –Besides, the automotive world is in constant evolution: ten years ago, we imagined a market characterized by low-cost vehicles.
Today reality is different: companies invest in the autonomous drive, in materials, in infomobility and entertainment. It is a field driven by continuous technological transformations».

The automotive industry trend in the world

In 2016, 95 million vehicles were produced on a global scale, 22 millions more than in 2007: about half of them were sold in Asia, 23% in Europe and 19% in the NAFTA Area.
«The data on the 2017-trend show in the first semester a world-scale growth in the production of vehicles by 2.4%, amounting to 45.8 millions, with the 1.8% reduction in Europe and the 4.4% increment in Italy (576,000 units) – underlined Giuseppe Barile, President of ANFIA Component Group – In Italy, where the production of the automotive sector production grew by 7% in 2016, against the +1.7% of the overall industrial production, and the 1.1 million vehicles produced make us rank as the sixth manufacturing Country in EU. Components provide an important contribution also to the trade balance, maintaining a trade surplus for over 20 years, corresponding to 5.5 billion euros in 2016 (+0.3%) and around 3 billions in the first 2017 semester, as confirmation of the consolidated international success». The new trends that characterize the sector, such as the environmental sustainability, will exert an impact on enterprises’ working and business modalities.
«Our chain must react and achieve the suitable structure for increasing the competitiveness level through the investments in product and process innovation – added Barile – Concerning this, according to a recent survey, 46% of Italian companies have started projects connected with Industry 4.0 and 29% of them undertook all that already two years ago».
Observatory on Italian components. Since 2007 until now, the world demand for vehicles, risen by over 30%, has enormously changed: industrialized and “motorized” Countries, historically production areas, have witnessed the decrease of the weight of their markets from 57% to 44%, whereas BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), whose demand has grown by 118% versus 2007, have reached 37% of word sales (it was 23%). In the first 2017 semester, the global demand for vehicles reached 47 million units (+2.6%). In Europe, sales rise by 4.1% also thanks to Russia, which scores +7% after years of consecutive drops. In the same year, in Italy registrations grow by 9%, whereas the year-end forecasts expect 1.98 million registrations approximately (+8%).
The world vehicle production, supported by the positive demand trend, in 2016 scored over 95 million units, with +4.7% versus 2015. The world productive increment was by over 4.2 million vehicles, of which 3.5 produced in China.
In Italy, both the internal demand and the export have led to over 1.1 million units produced in 2016 (+9%). Compared to 2007, the world production registers, as for registrations, the 30% rise. In the first 2017 semester, according to the estimates by Ward’s Automotive Reports, the production scores the +2.4% growth and for Italy by 4.4%. In 2017, the world production of vehicles is expected to confirm the trend, exceeding 2016 volumes. In Italy the growth is going on, too, having closed the 1st semester 2017 at +7.3 (ISTAT data). In 2016, 54% of vehicles were manufactured in Asia-Oceania, 23% in Europe and 19% in Nafta area, 4% in the rest of the world.
China is the first producer nation in the world, with 30% of the world production, followed by USA (13%) and Japan (10%).

The chain structure

The automotive component world is constantly evolving: to take the chain complexity into account, intercepting all the categories of suppliers involved, the investigation has included in its observation range also activities like specialists in telematics and infomobility, motorsport and aftermarket.
Observatory on Italian components.According to this logic, among automotive component enterprises, we can distinguish: system integrators and module suppliers, at the top of the supply chain with factories located closed to manufacturer’s plants, which implement functional systems or modules, with a high competence level; specialists, producers of parts and components, with such a content of innovation and specificity as to constitute a competitive edge, encompassing also the category of telematics specialists that work at applications connected with infomobility; motorsport specialists that, starting from the fitting out of cars for sports competitions, design and manufacture components (seats, steering wheels and safety belts) or supply solutions adopted for mass productions, too; aftermarket specialists, which implement parts and components directly sold on the market through a distribution network or consortia of spare part suppliers.
They can have supply relationships with automotive industries but there are also aftermarket divisions of the same multinationals. Besides subcontractors, which produce standard parts and components according to the specifications supplied by customers and easily repeated by competitors, and in whose category we can identify the companies that execute mechanical machining such as turning, milling, rolling, stamping or treatments (thermal, painting etc.), the chain is completed by engineering and design activities, protagonists in the devising and design of a car, particularly numerous in Piedmont (55% of the Italian total), which supply services directly to assembling companies or Tier 1 suppliers.

The Observatory’s results

The survey, presented by Barbara Barazza, Manager of the Study, Statistics and Price Sector of Turin Trade Chamber, has highlighted that in 2016 all component manufacturers scored good performances: among suppliers, the most dynamic are the specialists in motorsport (+9.5% at Italian level), subcontractors (machining) (+9.4%), E&D (+7.8%) and system/ module providers (+5.6%).
In Italy, over 76% of enterprises declare they export: the percentage has grown by one point in the last year (it was 75%). On the whole, 39% of the overall automotive turnover derives from export. EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) is the main addressee of the Italian export, mentioned by 86% of enterprises but the first 5 markets are all in Europe (Germany, France, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom).
Observatory on Italian components.
A sound component industry, thanks to export, geographical and productive diversification and enlargement of destination markets, succeeds in maintaining a high saturation level of the productive capacity, which in 2016 reached the 78% average. The percentage of enterprises that have declared a plant saturation percentage exceeding 80% has grown from 51% in 2015 to over 61% in 2016 and has indistinctively concerned all productive segments of the chain.
Sector players look optimistically at the future: for the current year, expectations not only maintain a positive sign but consolidate in comparison with the previous year: 87% of operators declare their optimism (80% in 2015) and confidence pervades all clusters, with particularly rosy forecasts for module and system providers (91% with growth estimates), specialists and E&D (89%) and the aftermarket (80%). Green, new materials, infomobility, autonomous drive, electric and hybrid motors represent the new directions in the process of transformation of automotive induced activities, like the cost reduction and the process reorganization. Finally, 71% of the sample declare they invest part of their turnover in research and development activities that are prevailingly carried out “in house”.

The round table

The last part of the press conference on the Observatory was dedicated to a discussion, chaired by Francesco Zirpoli, Center for Automotive and Mobility Innovation, Ca’ Foscari University, on the opportunities and the challenges for the Italian component chain.
«The Italian automotive supply chain is living a time of growth and development. However, the mobility world is changing. The Italian component industry will be able to constitute the backbone on which to base the mobility future in Italy if it succeeds in reversing the trend involving lower investments than international competitors in research and development and scarce networking to gain access to new technological competences.
Observatory on Italian components. As far as the overall Italian situation is concerned, the challenge to be won is maintaining in Italy the design and the production of vehicles, systems and modules with high technological complexity. This requires a trend inversion in innovation investments that currently position Italy in a disadvantaged situation compared to Countries with a similar industrial tradition». Massimo Mucchetti, President of Senate Industry, Trade and Tourism Commission highlighted that in Italy, in industrial ambit, components are becoming more and more important than the implementation of the finished product but it is necessary to invest to be in the technological forefront.
Giorgio Elefante
, Automotive Sector Leader Italy Price Waterhouse Coopers was then called upon to speak: «There are some key points for the business management: the awareness of challenges, the conscious determination of strategies, the individual and collective professional force and institutions’ support. We need clear rules supporting innovation. The automotive sector is driven by some big changes that will exert an impact on mobility, such as demographic trends and urbanization, the geo-political scenario characterized by a rising climate of protectionism, climatic changes and the shortage of resources, the technological evolution of products and services. Finally, internationalization plays a determinant role and it is necessary to support those enterprises that invest in research and development centres so that they can create sustainable value».
Vincenzo Ilotte, General Manager 2A Spa highlighted the great flexibility of the net in our entrepreneurial fabric and how this element can represent a point of attraction. In the opinion of Giuseppe Barile it is necessary to focus on research and development. Ezio Fossati, ZF Senior Vice President FCA & CNH Global Sales Division A has reconfirmed that it is essential to create an eco-system of collaborations: «Technologies evolve so quickly that no company can have all competences in its inside» (Elena Ferrero).

Maserati PLAN: new electric versions incoming

There is much excitation around the industrial future of Turin. But let us take a step back: Stellantis is the new Group that will stem within the first 2021-quarter from the merger of FCA and PSA; a holding aimed – as already written in the name – at becoming the polar star of the car of the future. Grugliasco and Mirafiori headquarters intend to restart from the relaunch of Maserati and from the premium segment, especially in the wake of the electric propulsion revolution. In the current scenario, 8,000 cars are produced in Mirafiori factory, versus 218,000 of 4 years ago, with 30% of working hours and many workers at zero redundancy payments owing to Covid emergency. The investment plan, worth 2.5 billions until 2025, should be at stake for the 16 models by the Trident Company.

In 2021, they will start with the release of Grecale Compact SUV, implemented in Cassino, and then the company will launch a new model per year for the next five years, including GranCabrio and GranTurismo. Each new model of the range will include also an electrified version, such as the racing car MC20, with the addition of the typical rumble noise, even if fully electric.

The name of the electric range will be “Folgore” and Maserati estimates to achieve, within 2025, 70% of its sales in the SUV segment.

A very significant curios: 350 millions of the 2.5 billions invested by FCA for Maserati are intended for the supercar MC20, at which 180 people will work on two shifts.


The electric prototype of Mercedes

It is called Vision EQXX the new fully electric prototype announced by Mercedes, a model that is likely to be the zero-emission vehicle with the highest autonomy ever obtained, over 1,200 km. This achievement would allow travelling from Beijing to Shanghai with a single charge.

Behind the development of Mercedes Vision EQXX there is a team with headquarters in Stuttgart, supported by the British Group AMG High Performance Powertrain, specialized in design and development of electric motors for motorsport. Feather in the cap of this new model will be the efficiency level of the vehicle and of the powertrain. «We have – affirmed Markus Schafer, Research and Development Manager of Mercedes – set up a team of our engineers to undertake an extraordinary challenge: manufacturing the electric car with the highest autonomy and efficiency ever implemented. It is a wide project, researching for state-of-the-art technologies».

Vision EQXX demo car will be very important to improve further the electric cars of Mercedes EQ range, constantly widened.