Ricardo to transition into manufacturing electric vehicle batteries
The British engineering company in the defence industry, Ricardo, has announced that it to start manufacturing electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The firm has completed its EV sports car battery manufacturing concept programme, placing it closer to its overall goal of becoming a niche battery manufacturing for high performance hybrids and EVs.
Ricardo has designated the task of working on EV batteries to its ‘Performance Products’ division, under it’s production of engines, transmissions and driveline systems.
The team recently completed the project’s first phase, which involved working with the company’s hybrid and electric systems engineering team.
“Ricardo has an already well-established capability in the design and engineering of electric and hybrid vehicle battery packs and management systems,” reported Mark Barge, Managing Director of Performance Products at Ricardo.
“As such, it makes complete sense for us to provide a turn-key service – including battery pack manufacture – for performance electric vehicles, in the same way that we manufacture high performance engines, transmissions and drivelines for premium and motorsport applications powered by combustion engines.”
“Ricardo has a proven capability in the establishment of complex and high-quality supply chains for high-value, small to medium volume high performance products.”
“The project just completed is a further demonstration of Ricardo’s aim to become both the engineering and manufacturing partner of choice for the niche battery systems of high performance EVs and hybrids,” he concluded.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.