Sunday, April 24, 2011

Integral Attends SAE Congress

Pictured above is a component from an LG Chem battery pack to be used in an
upcoming European vehicle. The gray cover on the end is made with ElectriPlast.
The pictures were taken April 12, 2011 at the LG Chem display at the SAE Congress.

Charging Forward Together

The Society of Automotive Engineers held its 2011 World Congress, in Detroit's massive Cobo Center and Exhibition Hall April 12-14. This year's theme was "Charging Forward Together." A team of colleagues from Integral Technologies attended and feel it fitting to provide a recap of events.

Cobo Hall bustled with thousands of attendees from many countries who represented a wide range of automotive and technology interests. And while it is axiomatic to say that Detroit made the US automobile industry, many, particularly those at the SAE congress, see it the other way around. Both down on their luck in recent times, Detroit and the resurgent automobile industry are once again on the ascendancy. One dramatic sign of that rebirth: Scores of recruiters staffing over 50 booths just inside the entrance of Cobo Hall, each looking to bring new life to a once moribund auto sector by hiring hundreds employees. In fact, media reports that auto related jobs were on the rise were put in proper context by the large number of companies recruiting for automobile manufacturers, suppliers and allied industries.

Members of the Integral team spoke with quite a few company representatives and found that Ford plans to hire 750 engineers, while Chrysler and GM are looking to add about 1000 engineers each. Clearly, this is good news for Detroit and the auto industry. Slowly, but surely, Detroit is coming back!

Cobo Hall was abuzz with the theme “Charging Forward Together,” and it wasn't long before the most casual observer realized what it was all about. Cobo was filled with displays, demonstrations and signage that focused on the electrification of the automobile. This theme was consistent in every discussion the Integral team had and the consensus view was that by 2014 nearly all vehicles will utilize some form of electrical assistance for propulsion. Although the technology is still in the nascent stage, it was clear that the future is focused on electrification. As an example, Ford will be launching five electrified vehicles in North America and Europe between 2012 and 2013.

Although hybrid and electric vehicles currently account for a small amount of market share, fuel prices and Federal rule changes taking effect in 2016 will continue to drive the industry towards electrification.

There was a tremendous amount of buzz around the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, both of which were brilliantly displayed at Cobo. Among other hybrid/electric vehicles on display were Honda, Mercedes, and Buick to name a few. Curiously, Toyota was the only manufacturer that did not attend the congress.

Of keen interest to readers of the Company Corner: The Tier 1 strategic partner for the SAE 2011 World Congress was LG Chem, which had a large impressive display of various battery designs. Their home charging unit was of particular interest to congress attendees; however, the LG Chem display of interest to the Integral team was the component pictured above, which utilizes ElectriPlast™. The cover you see on the end is used for shielding and is made from ElectriPlast™. When we asked the technician what the component was for (of course, we already knew) he told us it was for a battery pack to be used in an upcoming European automobile. Hmmmmmm!!

My overall impression after attending the SAE 2011 World Congress is that the current electrification of vehicles, as well as engineering and resources will continue, but at a more rapid pace to enhance the hybrid/electric technology.

And Integral Technologies will be in a far better position as a result.

Doug Bathauer
Director of Corporate Communications
Integral Technologies