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Experts Warn Automotive Industry about to suffer Massive Electric Shock

Originally Published04 Novemberr 2002

A fundamental change facing the automotive industry is the move from the current 12/14-Volt electrical standard to the new 36/42-Volt standard, which will be gradually introduced into the marketplace starting in 2003. This represents a threat and an opportunity to suppliers of automotive electronic, electrical, mechanical and hydraulic components and systems. For example, steer by wire and brake by wire systems will challenge traditional mechanical and hydraulic systems. Insulating and housing materials made of plastic will have to be specified to a higher level of thermal and electrical durability.

Those who wish to secure the future of their companies need to be mentally prepared to deal with the changeover well before their customers start shopping around for suppliers who understand what the 42-Volt scene is all about. In preparation for the challenges ahead a 42-Volt Special Interest Group (42-VSIG WM) is being formed to assist West Midlands automotive suppliers to manage the transition from the current 12/14-Volt standard to the 36/42-Volt standard and adapt to the changes imposed by steer by wire and brake by wire systems.

The facilitators of 42-VSIG WM are, The University of Warwick?s Warwick Manufacturing Group, TRW Conekt, and the European Automotive Initiative Group. This initiative is supported by the Accelerate Programme (Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and is partly-funded by the European Community Regional Development Fund.

On 26 November, there will be an introductory 42-Volt Forum, where representatives from all tiers of the automotive industry will be given an overview on the key 42-Volt related issues facing the industry. This will be presented by Alan G. Williams, Electrical Systems Manager, TRW Conekt, Solihull. Dr. Gordon Smith of the Warwick Manufacturing Group will give an overview of the important materials engineering issues related to the introduction of higher voltages. Chris Quigley, Managing Director of Warwick Control Technologies, will cover the evolutionary shift from mechanical and hydraulic controls to electronic controls.

The meeting will take place at the Advanced Technology Centre, University of Warwick (9:00 AM ?12:30 PM). Attendees are encouraged to remain after lunch to engage in discussions with the presenters and facilitators. For further details, contact Dr. Gordon Smith or Richard McLaughlin on 02476 523784 or 07788 722039 respectively.