Reliability Testing in Automotive and Digital Factories

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B-Matties_porsche-hub-motor.jpgMatties: It’s interesting that you have mentioned electric cars. I was recently at the Porsche museum in Stuttgart.

Naisbitt: Picking up your car? (Laughs)

Matties: It was nearly ready (laugh). And they had the electric motor that Porsche built in 1900 as part of a hybrid vehicle on display. When we start talking about electrics, a lot of people think this is a new technology, but it was built in 1900 by a 24-year-old. We’re refining it, but there’s a lot of history behind this.


Naisbitt: Like with anything, there are ideas, and then there’s having it on the mass scale that the automotive industry is at, which are two very different things. Even with batteries, lithium is a finite resource, and as far as I’m aware, lithium is the main factor of what is used.

Matties: Talking about autonomous vehicles includes bringing in electronics and drive systems—the computer aspect.

Naisbitt: And once they’re switched on, they’re never switched off. Life cycles now are going from 15,000 hours for the traditional lifespan of a fossil fuel car, and the warranty period that the manufacturers demand is seven years, up to 150,000 hours of a lifespan expected last year and 14 years warranty with electric vehicles. That is such a huge jump, so the traditional testing methods are going to change because we’re talking about much longer reliability. As I said, the electric car is always going to be on in some capacity.

Matties: The pressure for reliability is only going to grow.

Naisbitt: As you correctly stated, these manufacturers need to have an ROI on the billions of pounds that have been poured into it. But you can’t make people buy electric cars either, so do people really want to go down that route?

Matties: The green aspects are still there, but they’re doing a great job of making electric vehicles go from zero to sixty miles per hour in two or three seconds.

Naisbitt: I know; that’s fun. And there are millions and millions of cars on the road around the world.

Matties: And they are operating in extreme conditions.

Naisbitt: Yes, and this may be a bit extreme, but potentially 30–40°C to -20°C.

Matties: Or waking up in Arizona when it’s 80°F out and having the temperature to 120°F, for instance, but cars go even higher.

Naisbitt: And if you live in Alaska, your car is going to be subjected to negative temperatures for the majority of the year, which is a huge challenge.

Matties: I was on a flight coming back from Heathrow. They have GPS and metrics. The air temperature when we took off was 23°C, and when we were airborne, it was around -52°C.

Naisbitt: The good thing is that you know it’s coming. With aviation, you know it was going to get cold when you’re in the air and warmer when you land. It’s not as variable because you know it will happen, but on the roads, anything can happen; there are so many more variables and events that can occur. But then when it comes to driverless technology, how do you manage the switch between driverless and non-driverless cars. Do you introduce a law banning all non-driverless cars one day? I highly doubt it.

The pace of development in the industry and world is incredible. The cars from the ‘50s to the ‘80s were pretty basic, and now we’re entering the stage of autonomous vehicles. People have grown up on the classic petrol cars, which moved to diesel and is now moving to hybrids, all in a very short timeframe.

Matties: Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you feel we should include in this interview?

Naisbitt: Again, at Gen3, we’re doing a lot of development work to evolve with the industry. At productronica, we released the new software for our AutoSIR2+ and AutoCAF2+, which are real step changes and improvements. A big thing with our customers being able to interpret the data and get the reports from the measurements that they’re taking and our new software is going to help that.

Matties: Does it organize the data in a user interface?

Naisbitt: Yes. We’ve got a whole new user interface. It takes the data in a whole new way. One of our distributors says that their customer wants to do four months of testing, which is 4,500 hours. We have new report features that enable you to quickly access, read, and interpret your data and easily save it to whatever you want, such as CSV files, Excel, Word, etc.

Matties: How do you decide what your development projects are going to be?

Naisbitt: We’re fortunate enough to have a lot of close ties with some large companies combined with standards and our knowledge. These companies are pushing that development and want to get ahead of the game; we have good relationships with them. Since we are a manufacturer as well, we can build on the ideas they have.

Matties: You’re getting direct input on a unique level from the standards point of view too.

Naisbitt: Exactly. We get input from different angles, including internally, with our engineers who are constantly improving the products as well. There’s lots of work on that side as well.

Matties: Thank you, Andrew.

Naisbitt: Thank you very much.

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