The climate changes predicted at a global level, and already happening in some parts of the world, call for a serious commitment to reducing the emissions produced by human activities. The transport industry contributes significantly to the production of gases that generate the so-called “greenhouse effect”.
Among the numerous structural interventions aimed at reducing emissions in the short term, the electrification of means of transport is becoming increasingly important.
For example, the energy efficiency and CO2 reduction targets set for 2025 in Europe for passenger cars already require the use of a “hybrid” traction system (combustion engine + electric motor). And from 2035 vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines will be banned.
For the automotive industry, therefore, scenarios of profound change are expected. The first major evolution will be gradually replacing internal combustion engines with electric motors.
UTIL has embraced this wind of change and has developed innovative solutions to apply its deep expertise in fine-blanking technology to produce components adopted by manufacturers of systems for hybrid and electric vehicles.
The EV Report spoke with Ugo Ansaldi, Global Program Manager at UTIL, to get his view about future trends for the automotive sector and the steps his company is taking to play a primary role in the transition of powertrain systems from fossil fuels to more sustainable sources.
Internal combustion engines are gradually being replaced with electric motors. Is that an opportunity or a threat for UTIL?
That is definitely a great growth opportunity for our company! Thanks to our sound knowledge of fine blanking technology, we can produce, for instance, the balancing discs used in electric motors, minimizing the mechanical finishing processes after the blanking process, with a considerable advantage on costs and production times.
Which other components for e-powertrain systems can be produced by applying the company’s technological know-how?
The experience we have gained in more than fifty years of production of components for braking systems, which are characterized by high dimensional precision and high production volumes, can be used to manufacture components for traction batteries, joints for pipes for cooling and heating systems, just to mention a few. These components will gradually establish themselves as key elements in the architectures of hybrid and then completely electric vehicles.
In terms of customer value, what benefits can UTIL bring to the table?
First of all, I would like to point out that fine blanking is the actual game changer. This technology enables us to produce high-precision components in a repeatable way, and in large quantities, minimizing the number of secondary operations to obtain the shapes, dimensions, and tolerances required by the customers.
In addition, thanks to the recent opening of a new area dedicated to high-precision mechanical operations at our Villanova D’Asti, Italy plant, we have further expanded our manufacturing capabilities to accelerate the production and processing of products and solutions for the e-mobility segment. The new area will consist of two numerically controlled lathes, a threading machine, a component washing machine, a laser marking machine, and some auxiliary equipment, a strategic development worth over 2 million euros.
Last but not least, our research and development capabilities allow us to propose ourselves as the ideal partner offering the opportunity to optimize components design while maximizing performance and minimizing cost.