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Cost Efficiency in the Automotive Cutting Room

What does it take to run cost-effective automotive seating manufacturing operations in the current uncertain economic environment?

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To be ready for any business challenge or emerging opportunity, you need to develop and implement mid- and long-term operations and engineering strategies. For suppliers in a contracting market, cost efficiency is the strategic choice to ensure profitability.

The cutting room is an overlooked area with significant potential to improve production efficiency in automotive seating and interior component manufacturing. For suppliers who equip their cutting lines with advanced fabric-cutting capabilities, it’s possible to achieve long-term profitability by maximizing accuracy and capacity while reducing costs.

What it takes to stay ahead

To remain competitive, your company needs to achieve critical operational performance goals. Meeting cost targets is key to maintaining budgetary commitments. By shortening manufacturing lead-time and measurably lowering material costs, you can ensure that your production costs remain within budget. And by improving product quality, you can also drive continuous improvement processes throughout these initiatives.

Cutting room capabilities can play a key role in achieving operational performance goals. By replacing outdated or basic fabric cutters with high-performance cutting equipment, automotive seating suppliers can make measurable cost reduction improvements.

Increased operational efficiency

Advanced-technology fabric-cutting equipment can dramatically improve operational efficiency in the cutting room. A reduced maintenance schedule can give suppliers a competitive edge by delivering substantially more cutting time. With the use of specially-designed parts and consumables with a significantly longer lifespan, fewer maintenance interventions are necessary.

The improved cutting accuracy of advanced-technology cutting equipment can optimize yield considerably, leading to increased material efficiency and cost savings. With the ability to reliably manage common cutting lines, it’s also possible to cut upholstery materials without any buffer between cut parts. Both increased accuracy and the optimized use of upholstery materials can help suppliers lower their scrap rate and reduce waste. The significant reduction in waste enabled by precision cutting can in turn contribute to broader sustainability objectives within the organization.

Zero-buffer cutting capability

Lectra developed the VectorAutomotive iP series in direct response to the cost challenges faced by automotive suppliers. Its specially designed sintered steel blades can cut a wide range of synthetic and foam-backed materials without breakage. VectorAutomotive iP’s high-precision cutting capability improves cutting accuracy, measurably lowering the rate of scrap.

VectorAutomotive iP is the first solution on the market to combine breakthrough cutting equipment innovation with an optimized software application and specially designed consumables to achieve zero- or near-zero buffer cutting on a wide variety of automotive materials. For automotive suppliers, this amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars in material savings annually when compared to other solutions.

With VectorAutomotive iP, you can achieve competitive advantage by acquiring zero-buffer cutting capability. A 1mm reduction in buffer is equivalent to a 1% gain in material. VectorAutomotive iP enables high-ply cutting on ply thicknesses up to 9cm, dramatically increasing cutting capacity. In addition to the significant material savings offered by VectorAutomotive iP, the solution enables equivalent savings of paper and plastic cutting films. 

Proven zero-buffer cutting capability for automotive materials

VectorAutomotive iP’s specially designed blade executes precision cutting of multiple layers of synthetic and foam-backed materials with real-time management of common cutting lines. Zero-buffer cutting has been demonstrated for these materials:

  • 18 layers of 2mm vinyl
  • 18 layers of single-layer thermoset elastomeric polymer (TEP)
  • 15 layers of 3mm foam-backed vinyl
  • 12 layers of 5mm foam 
  • 9 layers of Alcantara

The way forward for vehicle interior suppliers

The vehicle interiors industry is struggling to recover from the ongoing economic crisis. In the current challenging business environment, cost efficiency is the strategic choice for automotive suppliers to ensure profitability. Operational excellence will be key to optimizing quality, cost and lead-time. For seating manufacturers, an optimized production footprint includes a streamlined cutting room.

Smart investments contribute to meeting financial targets and ensure a return on investment. In the automotive cutting room, Lectra’s VectorAutomotive iP delivers immediate, tangible performance improvements for positive bottom-line impact within a short payback period. This key advantage makes an even greater difference when investing in multiple units, as VectorAutomotive iP’s superior performance offers comparable output to that of a greater number of elementary cutting machines.

Find out how to lower operating costs in the face of changing competitive dynamics with our e-guide, developed especially for Toyota Boshoku.

Read our e-guide "How to lower operating costs in the face of changing competitive dynamics"

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