Notable finalists for the King Willem I Prize in late 2020, AWL is a leader in the field of digitalization and automotive innovation. So, we wanted to hear their thoughts on some trends and challenges that many other organizations face within the automotive market.

AWL manufactures all parts of their machines themselves. Even within their own production, AWL isn’t facing any major issues in terms of delivery of materials because of the biggest challenge the world faces now.

“Despite COVID-19, we didn’t really face any big trouble in terms of the supply chain. Our biggest challenge was the uncertainty of our tier-one customers. They had questions about quantities. We knew there were a lot of opportunities, and we know there will be more to come.’’

Gerard Ramaker, Manager Sales Automotive | AWL-Techniek

Local manufacturing is a trend to watch in the long term. Under the lens of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, more and more OEMs see the value of local manufacturing strategies. And transportation difficulties during the pandemic have forced many manufacturers to take action sooner than expected. AWL sees a difference between how the North American and European market behaves.

Supply Chain Insights

China’s strengthening influence is one of the major trends AWL touches on. Particularly in relation to Lithium mining and export, which plays an increasingly important role in the supply for battery manufacture.

“We know that there will be an end to the supply of Lithium. On the other hand, new technologies come up. So, it will be possible in the future to store energy in another way.’’

Gerard Ramaker, Manager Sales Automotive | AWL-Techniek

In late 2019, Niels van’t Hul spoke of AWL’s recent successes in the welding of battery frames, cooling plates, and battery modules.

“Companies already know us from the high-tech solutions that we make with robots, which enables them to produce parts. They now know where to find us in the quest for machines for the e-mobility related auto parts. For example, together with a customer we developed the automation of new battery modules.”

Niels van ’t Hul, Sales Manager General Industry| AWL-Techniek

Development and innovation are key components of AWL’s strategy. So, it’s no surprise that they’re tracking these trends and adapting design and manufacturing processes ahead of the competition.

Sustainable Product Developments

A closed-loop strategy is at the forefront of the world’s most innovative company strategies. The big question is, “how do we re-use parts and extend the lifetime of a product/part?”

‘’The keyword for AWL is modularity. We manufacture and develop machines that are created out of modules. These modules can be re-arranged in new machines. So, what we tend to do is that we produce machines that can suitably produce for fifteen years, but a lot of assemblies are done after seven years. So, we break the machines apart into smaller machines and can re-assemble a whole production line. This is our philosophy, and it is called M-Line. By doing this, we do not only save materials but also engineering time.’’

Gerard Ramaker, Manager Sales Automotive | AWL-Techniek

In Our Experience…

Many organizations are coming to understand that they’re better served by investment in refurbishment and repair, than they are spending time and resources on entirely new production lines. It’s possible to make considerable savings by responsibly maintaining functional machinery beyond initial expectation.

AWL is preparing for the future by carefully observing industry trends, adapting, and innovating to meet market requirements. They continue to prove this with the establishment of their E-mobility Task Force and the tremendous potential that modular production lines present. It’s this innovative design thinking that drives industry progression and ensures sustainable development.

If you want to learn more about trends, innovation, and automotive industry-specific software solutions, check out this series of EV Automotive on-demand webinars.

Want to know more?

Today’s manufacturers are seeking sustainable product solutions more actively than any generation before us.
So, how can digitalization help to accelerate sustainable product creation throughout the value chain?

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