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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | Soft materials are the core of automotive interiors
Soft materials are the core of automotive interiors
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Cost pressure on auto manufacturers is leading to increase in demand for optimised designs to save on soft material (fabric, leather, etc) consumption in early stages of the product lifecycle. Helping automakers to fulfill these stringent design needs is Lectra with its CAD software. Lectra solutions have proven to reduce the lead times at design stage by 30-40 per cent as compared to the traditional methods of seat designing, says B T Nagesh, Managing Director, Lectra Technologies India Pvt Ltd. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, he explains the importance of soft materials for auto interiors and factors influencing car seat design and manufacturing.
How important is the role of soft materials in auto interiors (for aesthetics and functional benefits)?
Soft materials are the core of auto interiors. With the advancement in technology, automotive suppliers are able to offer interiors that suit the taste of the individual consumer aesthetically or ergonomically. With added features like mechatronic controlled adjustments of interiors, memory based intelligent seats, etc, the role of soft materials increases. The ability of the auto OEMs to offer personalisation to their consumers increases with the advance of technology in soft materials for interiors.
How is Lectra helping automakers to improve auto interiors?
Our Industry 4.0 solutions today play a vital role where OEMs & their suppliers can design seats at conceptual stage, significantly reduce the number of prototypes and lead times keeping in mind the manufacturability of the designs. Thanks to our solutions, we play a key role where the OEM/supplier has the ability to decide on the best design, right material consumption. This gives immense cost and time savings at all stages - be it design, prototyping or manufacturing
How is Lectra helping automakers overcome cost pressure?
Our solutions have proven to reduce the lead times at design stage by 30-40 per cent as compared to the traditional methods of seat design or prototype(s) creation during product development. Material (fabric or leather) savings to the tune of a minimum 0.5-3 per cent during production and “0 mm” buffer cutting depending on the different material types, allow our customer for higher cost savings. Today’s challenging business environment provides the opportunity to OEMs/suppliers to re-evaluate their technology & processes and bring in improvements to be much more agile, with Lectra’s Industry 4.0 solutions
What is the impact of trends like shared mobility, electric vehicles, rise in premium car sales, etc on auto interiors?
Auto interiors will always remain the crux. I do not see a day coming where consumers would buy cars without interiors that appeal to their taste/liking. With new trends coming in we are geared up to the changes.
We today have solutions, where our customers (OEMs/suppliers) in-turn can address to the different tastes of interior requirements of their customers - be it customised seat designs, product development and production of high-end & premium interiors.
What kind of new opportunities are you looking at in India?
Lectra, being market leader in its space in India for the auto interior segment, will continue to emphasise our growth in manufacturing solutions for auto interiors and aid in increase of automation thereby helping the Indian industry to stay at par with the global standards. We believe that digital prototyping of seats and steering trims will be the areas which would appease to both OEMs & suppliers, primarily for the fact that it reduces time and significantly lowers the costs involved during prototype manufacturing. As said earlier, lead time reduction to the tune of 30-40 per cent and material savings to a minimum of 0.5-3 per cent are extremely attractive numbers to OEMs/suppliers top-line and bottom-line revenues.
The start of airbag manufacturing in India with a few global and local players opens up new opportunities for Lectra, where our industry leading airbag solutions will be deployed sooner or later.
CAD Software. Lectra Solutions
B T Nagesh
Lectra Technologies India
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