Mercedes-Benz Cars plants to source electricity from German wind farms

Mercedes-Benz Cars has entered into a power purchase agreement with Statkraft, Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, enabling Mercedes-Benz Cars to source electricity directly from wind farms in Germany, whose subsidies from the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) expire after 2020. Because the agreement with Mercedes-Benz Cars will contribute to the... Details →


Volkswagen Toolmaking opens 3-D printing center; HP Metal Jet binder jetting system

The Volkswagen brand’s Toolmaking unit is adding a 3-D printing center to its facilities in Wolfsburg. With the opening of the center, the unit is bringing the most highly advanced generation of 3-D printers to the Volkswagen Group, which will allow the production of complex vehicle parts in the future.... Details →


BMW investing €200M in Munich plant to prep for series production of i4 EV in 2021

The BMW Group is investing around €200 million in its Munich plant in preparation for series production of the BMW i4 electric vehicle, which will be manufactured at the company’s headquarters starting in 2021. The BMW Group is pursuing the strategy of producing fully electric vehicles together with plug-in hybrids... Details →


Arc welding generates welding fume that is hazardous for human health. A team from the Far Eastern Federal University in Russia, with other colleagues in Russia and Greece, has focused on the key characteristics, as well as dispersion models, of welding fumes within a work zone. An open-access paper on... Details →


The BMW Group Leipzig plant is commissioning 70 more hydrogen-powered tugger trains (indoor tugs). These are used in production to supply the assembly lines with supplier parts. The BMW Group is working in a consortium including Fronius (manufacturer of fuel cell systems for forklift trucks), Linde Material Handling (goods handling... Details →


The BMW Group is increasingly relying on innovations from the fields of digitalization and Industry 4.0 in production logistics. The focus is on applications such as logistics robots, autonomous transport systems at plants and digitalization projects for an end-to-end supply chain. Staff can control logistics processes from mobile devices such... Details →


BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics launch cross-industry project to support sustainable cobalt mining

As part of a cross-industry initiative, the BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics have launched a joint cobalt pilot project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A contract to this effect between the companies, together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, will aim... Details →


GM restructuring; changing product development, production; 5 NA & 2 international plants shutting next year; staff reduction

General Motors on Monday outlined a series of major restructuring steps that it said would accelerate its transformation for the future, building on the strategy it laid out in 2015 to strengthen its core business, to capitalize on the future of personal mobility and to drive significant cost efficiencies. These... Details →


Albemarle signs exclusivity agreement with Mineral Resources for 50/50 lithium JV in W. Australia; $1.15B deal

Albemarle Corporation, a leader in the global specialty chemicals industry, signed an Exclusivity Agreement (Agreement) with Mineral Resources Limited in relation to the potential creation of a 50/50 joint venture (JV) to own and operate the Wodgina hard rock lithium mine and ultimately develop an integrated lithium hydroxide operation at... Details →


Volkswagen to change Emden and Hanover to become electric vehicle plants by 2022

Following Zwickau, Volkswagen intends to change its plants at Emden and Hanover in Germany over to the production of electric vehicles. After Zwickau, Volkswagen is therefore establishing its second e-mobility center in Germany in Lower Saxony. At a works meeting held on Wednesday in Emden, HR Board Member Gunnar Kilian... Details →


Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) has developed the what it says is the world’s first general-purpose hydrogen burner for industrial use in collaboration with Chugai Ro Co., Ltd. The burner is now in use at the forging line in Toyota’s Honsha Plant. In conventional hydrogen burners, hydrogen reacts rapidly with oxygen,... Details →


Novelis plans Customer Solution Centers to innovate alongside automotive customers

Novelis Inc., the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, plans to establish a global network of Customer Solution Centers (CSCs) to accelerate collaborative innovation between Novelis and automakers for the next generation of vehicle design. Novelis will work with OEMs to determine how to maximize lightweight, high-strength aluminum to... Details →


The BMW Group’s Dingolfing plant in Germany will supply the batteries for the all-electric MINI to be built in late 2019 in Oxford, South England. The batteries for the vehicle will come from the new battery production facility in Dingolfing; the electric motors from the neighboring BMW Group plant in... Details →


Volkswagen Group China is beginning construction in Anting of the Group’s first factory specifically designed for the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform. The first model that will be produced in the factory of SAIC Volkswagen will be an electric Volkswagen brand SUV in 2020. Together with the FAW-Volkswagen factory... Details →


Audi plans to apply machine learning (ML) in series production. The software Audi has developed recognizes and marks the finest cracks in sheet metal parts— automatically, reliably and in a matter of seconds. With this project, Audi is promoting artificial intelligence at the company and revolutionizing the testing process in... Details →


BMW Group, Northvolt and Umicore partner to develop sustainable life-cycle loop for EV batteries in Europe

The BMW Group, Northvolt and Umicore have formed a joint technology consortium in order to work closely together on the continued development of a complete and sustainable value chain for battery cells for electrified vehicles in Europe. The chief objective is to make battery cells sustainable by establishing a closed... Details →


Novelis breaks ground on automotive aluminum facility in Changzhou, China; $180M investment to double capacity in 2020

Novelis, the global leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, broke ground on the expansion of its automotive aluminum manufacturing facility in Changzhou, China. The $180-million investment will double the facility’s production capacity of heat-treated aluminum sheet by 100,000 metric tons in order to better meet the growing demand for automotive... Details →


BMW Group extends JV contract with Brilliance to 2040, increases stake to 75%; €3B investment in plants

The BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. (CBA) announced the early extension of the joint venture contract for BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) and the further deepening of the existing successful collaboration. The extended contract is valid for 22 years (from 2018 to 2040). Furthermore, the BMW Group intends... Details →


The Volkswagen brand has introduced a new production strategy—TRANSFORM.TOGETHER—which targets a 30% increase in productivity worldwide by 2025 compared to 2018. Production is therefore making a major contribution to achieving the profitability target of over 6% for the brand. We must invest heavily in our future. Electromobility, autonomous driving, new... Details →


DOE awards $1.2M to four vehicle and hydrogen projects under High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) Program

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced $1.2 million in funding for four projects—two with the Vehicle Technologies Office and two with the Fuel Cell Technologies Office—under the High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) Program. This program aims to utilize the high performance computing (HPC) of DOE’s national laboratories to help... Details →


DOE awards MIT researchers $1.9M to advance electrolytic production of copper; direct production of copper wire

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded MIT associate professor of metallurgy Antoine Allanore a $1.9-million grant to run larger scale tests of a new one-step, molten electrolysis process (earlier post) to produce copper from sulfur-based minerals—the main source of copper. One of Allanore’s primary goals is to make... Details →


BYD invests $5M in new warehouse facility in US; greater efficiencies and production capacity for battery-electric buses

BYD has completed its latest US investment, a new $5-million 100,000-square-foot warehouse for its Lancaster manufacturing plant. This is the firm’s fourth expansion of its current manufacturing campus in Los Angeles County, bringing its total investment in Lancaster facilities to more than $53 million. The new warehouse provides additional space... Details →


SJTU team makes progress in strain-hardening in high-strength metals by incorporating nanofillers

A team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), with colleagues at Tsinghua University and Brown University, have developed a means to regain the strain-hardening ability of high-strength metals by incorporating of extrinsic nanofillers at grain boundaries. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal NANO Letters. Grain... Details →


With the opening of three new FAW-Volkswagen vehicle plants at three locations—in Qingdao, Foshan and Tianjin—as well as the Volkswagen FAW Platform Tianjin Branch component plant, the Volkswagen Group is strengthening its localization strategy in China. With the opening of a second vehicle production plant in Foshan, a mega plant... Details →


A new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study by Ricardo for the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) across a broad range of vehicle sectors finds that the relative contribution of each vehicle life cycle stage is highly dependent on the vehicle type and powertrain technology as well as what assumptions are... Details →


Volkswagen, in partnership with HP and GKN Powder Metallurgy, is the first automotive manufacturer using the “HP Metal Jet” process in propduction. HP Metal Jet simplifies and speeds up metallic 3D printing; productivity improves fifty times compared to other 3D printing methods, depending on the component. Volkswagen and its partners... Details →


The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory announced the availability of a new manufacturing technology that simplifies the manufacture of nanomaterials in high volumes. Known as Flame Spray Pyrolysis (FSP), the technology offers significant benefits over traditional methods used to manufacture the particle-based substances that are critical to... Details →


NextGenAM 3D printing project pilot plant opens; focus on high level of automation

The partners in the NextGenAM 3D printing project—Premium AEROTEC, Daimler, and EOS—have put their first pilot plant into operation at Premium AEROTEC in Varel, northern Germany. The partners launched the project in May 2017 to develop the basis of a future system for series production using 3D printing technologies. Additive... Details →


The US Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is awarding nearly $3 million to 13 projects to stimulate the use of high performance supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing. The US DOE national laboratories have some of the most significant high performance computing (HPC) resources available,... Details →


Audi is now the first premium manufacturer to produce automobiles completely free of wastewater. At its site in San José Chiapa, Mexico, the company is using a new water treatment process that collects 100 percent of the wastewater produced there, purifies it and feeds large volumes of clean water back... Details →


Teijin acquires composites company Inapal to expand European automotive business

Teijin Limited has acquired Inapal Plasticos SA (Inapal), a leading automotive composite supplier in Portugal. The shares of Inapal will be purchased by Teijin Holdings Netherlands B.V., the Teijin Group’s holding company in the Netherlands. The acquisition was completed at the beginning of August 2018, following the satisfactory completion of... Details →


High growth in demand for lithium batteries is spurring three-fold growth in mine production of lithium over the next four years, with 86kt of new lithium metal capacity coming on stream, according to data and analytics company GlobalData. After moderate growth in lithium supply between 2010 and 2017 of 6.4%... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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.... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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)... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →


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... Details →