ENGEL, the manufacturer of injection moulding machines and systems expert hosted two-day automotive conference trend.scout 2018 in Shanghai at the end of October, 2018 which was attended by more than 300 participants. Development and production managers, as well as managing directors of both Chinese and international companies, were the main participants of the conference.
New technologies and opportunities for the future on the basis of the specific requirements of local producers were the focus of the conference. Speakers included representatives of Volvo and Nobo (a member of the Great Wall Motor Company), Continental and Ecorea, as well as JSC Automotive, ExxonMobil, Sabic and ENGEL.
The automotive market in Asia is developing at a fast pace. “Over 100 vehicle brands are now competing in China,” said Dr Norbert Müller, head of the ENGEL Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies. Electric vehicles are in the focus. Renowned Chinese suppliers are also bringing their products in the premium segment opening up new important opportunities for the market entry of new technologies. ENGEL is developing cost-effective processes for large-scale composite lightweight construction, covering a broad range of technologies from HP-RTM and SMC to the processing of thermoplastic semi-finished products such as organic sheets and tapes, through to innovative reactive technologies such as in-situ polymerization (T-RTM).
Muller, said, “What is new is that composite manufacturers in Asia are also increasingly focusing on thermoplastic-based solutions. The possibility of functionalizing thermoplastic composite materials immediately after moulding in the same mould using injection moulding can secure decisive time advantages.”
The automotive industry is undergoing a transformation process that could slow down the dynamic market development and lead to consolidation. It is noted that hybrid vehicles are growing faster than electric vehicles. With the increasing pressure on efficiency, process integration and automation are becoming more important.