Detroit Electric Returns to Mich.
After an absence of more than 70 years, Detroit Electric has returned to the Motor City to conduct business, generating new jobs and a range of electric vehicles for the mass market.
The auto maker has established a corporate headquarters in downtown Detroit, Mich., and has set up a site to assemble the first pure electric sports car in the state. The facility’s production will start in August 2013, with an annual capacity of 2,500 sports cars. Officials for Detroit Electric say the company will create more than 180 sales and manufacturing-related jobs during the next 12 months.
Detroit Electric’s first model will be a two-seat sports car, targeted to launch in Detroit in Q2.
The expanded sale of the car is scheduled for additional markets by the end of August 2013. Detroit Electrics will begin production of two other models by the end of 2014.
Manufacturing Energy Use, Intensity Down
Manufacturing energy consumption data show large reductions in both manufacturing energy use and the energy intensity of manufacturing activity between 2002 and 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
According to EIA analysts, total energy consumption in the manufacturing sector decreased by 17% from 2002 to 2010. Manufacturing gross output decreased by 3% during the same period. Consumption of every kind of fuel used for manufacturing also declined during this period.
“Taken together these data indicate a significant decline in the amount of energy used per unit of gross manufacturing output,” EIA analysts say. “The significant decline in energy intensity reflects both improvements in energy efficiency and changes in the manufacturing output mix.”
The manufacturing sector comprised more than 11% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010.
Employers Take Workplace Charging Challenge
Officials for the Energy Department say 16 major U.S. employers and two stakeholder groups have joined its Workplace Charging Challenge to give more American workers access to new transportation options.
The challenge, part of President Obama’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, aims to expand the availability of workplace charging for American workers, which would increase the convenience of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) and provide drivers with more options.
Signing the pledge commits partner organizations to assessing workforce PEV charging demands, then developing and implementing a plan to install workplace charging infrastructure for at least one major worksite location.
The new batch of partners more than doubles the original set announced in January, and includes companies such as Hertz Corp., NRG Energy, Raytheon Co., and Southern California Edison. Click on the link icon to learn more about the Workplace Charging Challenge, including its benefits and a complete list of companies involved.
More Environmentally-Efficient Vehicles
Officials for Owens Corning announce the company will join a strategic alliance to develop solutions in thermoplastic composites for automotive mass production. The alliance also includes BASF and TenCate Advanced Composites.
“There is a critical and growing need in the automotive industry to have lighter, stronger, and more environmentally efficient products,” says Arnaud Genis, group president, Owens Corning. “Glass fiber solutions are not fully leveraged and by combining the talent and resources of Owens Corning, BASF, and TenCate…we will be able to take significant weight out and find the optimum solutions for our customers quickly.”
The strategic alliance runs as follows:
- BASF contributes comprehensive knowledge in the production and formulation of thermoplastic resins;
- TenCate Advanced Composites provides its expertise in composite manufacturing; and
- Owens Corning brings the technology to develop tailor-made fabrics and glass reinforcement solutions.
As global emission standards for vehicles increase the need for lighter vehicles that maintain strength and durability, fiber reinforced plastic composites are becoming more important.
“Continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites, such as tapes and laminates used in the thermoforming process, have huge potential for structural parts,” says Dr. Martin Jung, head of structural materials research, BASF.
Compared to metal parts, fiber reinforced plastic composites can be 30% to 50% lighter, while thermoplastic composites help increase fuel efficiency in automobiles and reduce customer costs. Additionally, thermoplastic composites reduce production cycle times and can be recycled.
Solving Manufacturing Distortion Problems
Coherix Inc. and PEMAlliance have completed a project that could shine new light on manufacturing distortion problems.
The NIST ATP High Definition Metrology (HDM) 2 Micron Project produced a tool enabling operators to compare a part in its “as build” state to its “as designed” CAD model. The “as build” state differs from the “as designed” state by the amount of so-called manufacturing induced distortion. HDM has the capability to first show a vivid 3D picture of manufacturing induced distortion, and then provide measurements of the distortion.
The project’s three main areas of focus were:
- HDM 3D analysis of the machined surface to enable optimization of the cutter path, optimization of periodic tool changes, and confirmation of first part right after start up and tool changes.
- Location and dimension of features, such as holes, ports, and slots. Robust 3D HDM has speed, accuracy, and flexibility for feature analysis.
- Surface defect detection and classification of porosity, scratches, cracks, dings, and dents – all of which are difficult to diagnose due to random occurrences.
The NIST ATP HDM 2 Micron Project also included Ford Motor Co., U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology, University of Michigan, Kettering University, Roush, MAG, and Trumble Inc.
Michicgan Companies Provide Tooling to China
Reshamca LLC and O. Keller Tool Engineering Co. have teamed up to deliver a complete assembly fixture and tooling program for the new GM X44F 7-speed, dual clutch transmission program that is being assembled in Chongqing, China.
Officials for Reshamca say they worked with the China Trading Co. to establish a long-term contract for O. Keller to provide the initial 40-tool program. The tools were designed, developed, and delivered within a seven month window, says Rex Smith, president, Reshamca.