Disruptive Changes for Automotive SuppliersFebruary 9, 2023
We all must confront unexpected changes throughout life, with our responses often determined by how we perceive them. If we view a change as a threat, we may react defensively and take immediate action to protect ourselves, our perceptions or our comfort zones. If we perceive the change as an opportunity, we may be more thoughtful and reasoned in our response—delaying action or continuing in our established routines as we wait to see how the situation plays out.
When a company faces major disruptions, the way that its managers perceive the disruption influences how they describe it to the rest of their organization, and that can determine how the organization responds. If the organization sees the disruption as a threat, it may overreact by committing too many resources too quickly. But if it is seen as an opportunity, insufficient resources may be allocated to its progress, especially if business-as-usual is truly the desired outcome.
During the last several years, we have witnessed retail moving from storefronts to websites, which essentially changes how we shop. Similarly, the automobile, as we know it, is changing in both the energy sources that it uses and in the ways that consumers view transportation. Autonomous vehicles certainly will challenge the necessity of owning a personal car, not to mention the challenge of adapting to the fact that these vehicles move, stop and change lanes with no driver behind the steering wheel.
Impacts From Disruptive Technologies
Disruptive technologies in metal stamping plants as well as tool-and-die shops impact business operations in similar ways.
- Radio frequency identification (RFID) and Bluetooth communication for die tracking
- Dunnage rack and material-transfer cart tracking by means of high frequency (HF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) communication technologies
- The use of industrially robust RFID systems for shut-height validation for dies, and new mechatronic systems for monitoring progressive-die processes and value-added in-die validation and error-proofing
- Rapid die-change technologies using remote energizing and information transfer via wireless couplers on transfer dies and in progressive-stamping dies.
On the materials side, automakers have employed advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) for nearly 30 years now. More recently comes production of ultra-high strength metal stampings via cold forming and hot stamping processes. Processing stampings from aluminum generally requires a different approach as compared to steel. While many aluminum sheet alloys are easily cold formed, difficult alloys can benefit from warm forming or hot stamping processes. These technologies, once limited only to research labs, have emerged as viable forming processes in some metal forming plants.
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