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Automotive revolution spells opportunities for design engineering companies

03 August 2017

The radical overhaul of the automotive industry could spell opportunities for design engineering companies like GX. The Welsh based company, who has been involved with automotive product design for over 10 years, believes in order to meet the new targets announced, the solution lies in design and technology.

As managing director of GX, Mark Helmich notes, “If the industry is to meet the imposed deadline of 2040 when the production of any petrol or diesel powered vehicles will cease, and switch to electric, we need to embrace new skills and equally invest in better infrastructure.

This provides us with a tremendous opportunity to reshape the production methods and explore other methods to power our vehicles in the future.”

GX’s product development team were instrumental in developing the world's first electrolyser unit to refuel hydrogen cars. Their design engineers helped to pioneer a hydrogen generator for domestic and automotive fuel applications.

“For alternative methods like electricity or even hydrogen to become viable methods to power vehicles there needs to be a major overhaul to our transport network. There are only thirteen hydrogen refueling stations currently in the UK, with only two cars using the technology,” Mark comments.

“Similarly, there are only a handful of cars powered solely by electricity, whilst others use hybrid technology to ensure the car does not run out of power on longer journeys; the need for enough electric points to allow quick and efficient recharging will be a key factor facing the government.”

Looking forward, Mark believes that more companies like BMW, will consider ways to reconfigure existing production lines to build electric cars. Having heavily invested in their plant at Oxford, BMW confirmed they will build their new electric powered Mini at their Cowley plant.

“The automotive industry is in the throes of a major revolution; production methods will need to be modified or redefined to meet the need to build alternative fuel vehicles,” says Mark. “As a design engineering company, our expertise includes creating efficient SCADA automated systems for car companies including BMW and Nissan.”

With their combined experience in automotive design, Mark anticipates that product development teams’ skills will be in high demand. “We have experience in working in collaboration with automotive R&D departments, bringing fresh ideas and specialist skills to help them produce prototypes and final designs.

“At GX our skilled product designers, with expertise in mechanical, industrial, electronic, software and system design and engineering, work in collaboration with our clients’ own experts. By taking this combined approach to each design project we bring a unique perspective and a wealth of previous knowledge.” 

It was this collaborative approach, between the product design team at GX and a global supplier of innovative automotive products that helped transform the interiors of cars in mid range family cars. Twenty years ago, the design engineers at GX experimented with new plastic plating techniques to develop radio bezels for Skoda and fully functioning prototype dashboard displays. More recently they have worked on instrumentation clusters for autonomous driving systems vehicles.

As Mark concludes, “Whatever the future holds for the automotive industry, be it driverless cars or alternative fuels, what is clear is that we need to invest now in technology and skills so our love affair with the car can continue.”

Pictured is a working prototype of the En-Gage concept 

Click here to watch Visteon En-Gage concep