Trends in e-mobility within the European Automotive Industry to Look out for

  Enquiry / contact me

An application story from Omron

Industry 4.0

Trends in e-mobility within the European Automotive Industry to Look out for
Trends in e-mobility within the European Automotive Industry to Look out for
Trends in e-mobility within the European Automotive Industry to Look out for
Trends in e-mobility within the European Automotive Industry to Look out for

New approaches, such as AI and integrated robotics, could reshape future production processes. Seven tips for automotive companies.

At the beginning of 2020, very few business leaders would have predicted the huge challenges that would hit companies over the next few months. With the disruption caused by Covid-19, the EU Commission now estimates that economic output in the Eurozone could crumple by 8.7 percent this year

The automotive industry has been particularly affected, with the virus exacerbating the decline in sales. For example, the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) at the University of Duisburg-Essen forecasts that German vehicle manufacturers and suppliers could lose a quarter of their total workforce by 2030. A similarly gloomy picture is also emerging in the UK. In contrast, automotive supplier AMZ predicts that the growing demand for electric cars could lead to the creation of many new jobs. 

The challenges facing manufacturers and suppliers mean that they will need to develop new strategies in order to future-proof their production and processes. These will increasingly include items such as innovative technologies, robotics, sensors, artificial intelligence (AI) and integrated solutions. Industry experts believe that the move from traditional car production to electro-mobility (e-mobility) is now much more feasible and will boost both the efficiency and sustainability of production processes.

European companies risk being left behind

In addition to declining sales and stringent regulations, the biggest challenges facing the European automotive industry include strong competition from Asia, along with pressure to provide innovation and sustainability. Many European providers are finding it hard to keep up with companies in China, Japan and South Korea. 

Henry Claussnitzer, Business Engagement Manager Automotive at Omron Europe, comments: “There’s also the question of whether the industry depends too much on technologies such as batteries. One thing is certain: to be competitive, companies must reposition themselves as quickly as possible. Innovative and integrated strategies are essential. These will include robotics, high-performance sensor and control technologies; and also intralogistics, AI and machine learning.” 

The need for a common vision

Alfred Pammer, Head of Factory Automation at cts GmbH, an Omron partner and system integrator, points out the many different national and international regulations with which automotive companies have to comply. “Sustainable production is becoming increasingly important,” he says. “At the same time, the industry mustn’t become over-regulated. A uniform international approach would make sense, as different country laws slow down processes and innovations and sometimes even block them. There’s a lot of catching up to do.” 

The strict European data protection guidelines are a good example of the challenges faced by the industry. Alfred Pammer continues: “As artificial intelligence thrives on data analysis, for example, a better balance should be created here so that Asian markets don’t move ahead while European suppliers are increasingly left behind.” At the same time, it’s vital to constantly strengthen customers’ trust in a company’s brand and products. “Without a strong integration and technology partner,” he says, “the transformation from a traditional automobile manufacturer to a high-flexibility, low-volume e-mobility company won’t be feasible.”

Examples of transformative technology

Another topic that will become increasingly important to companies in the automotive sector is data analysis. Many new technologies, such as AI and the Internet of Things (IoT), require integrated and well-thought-out data strategies. One example is Predictive Maintenance: the maintenance of machines based on information collected at the machine level (‘at the edge’). Powerful software solutions are the key to ensuring connectivity and communication between the systems. Such technology also makes the transition to the factory of the future easier. For example, production lines can be ‘smartly’ connected to mobile robots, driverless transport systems (also known as automated guided vehicles or AGVs), cobots, ERP, MES etc.

A case in point is BMW. For greater flexibility and links between work processes, the company uses innovative transport and logistics concepts. These include mobile LD robots from Omron for transporting materials for production. These autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs) are equipped with a conveyor attachment developed by cts. The system integrator has developed a complete technology package, specifically tailored to BMW's requirements. It consists of the LD robots and conveyor attachments, plus software that connects the Enterprise Manager with the company's own ERP system. Similarly, Continental relies on AIVs made by cts. “The heart of Industry 4.0 is software, which brings everything together,” explains Alfred Pammer.

Jorge Pereira Hernández, General Manager of Keyland Sistemas de Gestión, also points out the growing importance to the e-mobility industry of smart robotics, including collaborative robots (cobots), interacting with other technologies. This approach will not only support efficiency and sustainability but will also offer a particularly quick return on investment (RoI). He says: “At the same time, companies benefit from standardised, optimised processes. The many different vehicle drive concepts require automated workflows and controls, as well as intelligent systems that support human employees and minimise errors. Automotive companies need to take action now.”


Henry Claussnitzer sums up that the use of robotics, AI, and sensor, image and vision technology in the factory of the future should always be viewed as a holistic overall structure: “A data-based approach will help European companies to act more cost-effectively and more competitively. Battery manufacturing is a good example, because it requires highly integrated systems and processes. An intelligent warehouse system flanked by mobile robots can significantly increase process efficiency while reducing manual effort as well as errors and waste.”

Posted on December 10, 2020 - (547 views)
Revierstr. 5
44379 Dortmund - Germany
+49-231 75894-37
+49-231 75894-50
View full company profile
Related articles
Carlsberg Announces Extension of Digital Manufacturing Solutions Across 28 Breweries
Predictive Maintenance of Rotating Equipment
Global Survey Conducted by Molex Highlights Continued Progress in Industry 4.0
Presto Engineering and Cadence Partner to Expand Semiconductor Package Design Solutions for Automotive and IoT Markets
Computer-On-Module With 4 to 16 Cores
IERA 2021 Awarded to ABB's PixelPaint Solution
Nidec ASI continues its efforts for greener and more sustainable mobility
Prevent control network cyber attacks
Seamless Connectivity Fuels Industrial Innovation
Brady Further Strengthens Capabilities as a Full-service Provider of Printer & Material Expertise with the Acquisition of Nordic ID
Mobilizing Real-time Remote Operations
JUMO IoT Platform for Reliable Process Management
Robot Tools RFID Identifications
Open Standards Platforms
Open Standards Platforms
Co-creating the Future of the IoT World
Co-creating the Future of the IoT World
Procentec: Industry 4.Human
Robot Tools RFID Identifications
Co-creating the Future of the IoT World
Global Survey Conducted by Molex Highlights Continued Progress in Industry 4.0
Versatile Industrial 5G Router
Unistream® PLC: Robust PLC Hardware with Virtual HMI
A Revolution of the Modern Data Center
IP67 Ultra-robust HMI Devices
Wireless Kits - Wi-Fi5/BT5.0 and LTE Cat.16
Eco-friendly Augmented RFID Solution
Compact & Configurable Rugged Industrial Computers
IO-Link Position Sensors
Ultra-low Power Radio Module
IERA 2021 Awarded to ABB's PixelPaint Solution
PTC Leverages Spatial Computing Capabilities with Vuforia Engine Area Targets
HMS Networks Releases the World’s First Industrial 5G Router and Starterkit
New Series of Transducers for High Performance Gaging Probes
Ultrasonic Sensors with IO-Link Interface
Turning Data into Actionable Information is Vital to the Success of any Industry 4.0 Projects
AI Convention 2020 Replays: Tilkal
AI Convention 2020 Replays: Oracle
Capgemini Launches First Set of Intelligent Industry Offering for 5G & Edge Technologies
Mouser's Digital AI Conference is now Available On-Demand