MERA (Manufacturing Engineering Research Area)
Nader Asnafi (Associate Professor, Ph. D., Dr. Eng.)
Senior Manager –Research & Advanced Engineering
Volvo Car Corporation
SE-405 31 Gothenburg, Sweden
The importance of the Automotive sector and „High-tech manufacturing‟ for Sweden
Joint program proposal work started January 2005
Contract signed summer 2005
First call in September 2005
Sectorial R&D program with national and regional financiers.
Developed in cooperation between industry and government.
Industrial manufacturing R&D needs have strongly influenced the agenda.
A program board with 8 representatives from industry and public partners. External
high-level person is chairman of the board.
Network and close cooperation between industrial parties.
To contribute to the Swedish industry‟s ability to reach world-class
competitiveness within knowledge-based manufacturing
Premium academic R&D within manufacturing disciplines.
Research agenda at universities and research institutes is formed
together with industry, and executed by integrating industry and
academia in R&D projects and programmes.
Drivers focus areas
• Shorter time to market by: • Integrated product development
- flexible manufacturing regarding volume and manufacturing:
and products - simulation of manufacturing processes
- virtual verification of the whole process - virtual product development
• Manufacturing processes: • Increase suppliers ability:
- advanced joining and forming processes - networking strategies and capabilities
- new technologies for new materials - support systems for joint R&D
50 projects approved so far - total turnover 90 M€
Budget and approved financing 2005-2008
Approved projects focus
40 57 M€ Domain I – Domain II –
34 M€ = 305 MSEK Budget examples examples
30 • New joining • Simulation of
Approved technologies manufacturing
20 33 M€ • Machining of light- processes
weight, mixed material
Domain III – Domain IV –
M€ examples examples
Public Industrial • Virtual verification of • Management and
production lines control of manufacturing
Receiver of 33 M€ approved public funding
17 M €
11 M €
Company Institute University Virtual and Digital support tools
Scope and partners of approved projects
So far, 50 out of over 90 applications have been approved.
The scope of approved projects is primarily manufacturing processes
and manufacturing systems.
Projects have organized themselves into topic specific clusters for
maximum impact and resource utilization
10 universities and 4 research institutes are involved in projects, often
More than 20 non-partner companies are involved substantially in
projects and an additional 30 companies are involved to a lesser
Manufacturing R&D activity forms
Strong Research Centers Joint projects between
researchers and industry
Overall objective: Supporting
Overall objective: Create new
research centers that work with
knowledge and implement it in
manufacturing technologies both in
short and long term perspective
Innovation & cooperation Industrial continuous
Overall objective: Supporting Overall objective: To implement
innovation and cooperation existing knowledge in industry and
environments within the industrial applications
In progress -
Development of a Swedish
automotive manufacturing R&D initiative
Swedish automotive industry has taken initiative to form an “Industrial cooperation
group” within the program. Both OEMs and suppliers are part of the group.
The group, besides coordinating industrial actions in existing projects, is working
with strategic issues regarding manufacturing for the automotive industry.
The group has initiated several topic cluster groups where projects and people with
the same technical interests can meet.
University and institutes researchers can also participate in topic clusters.
The group is very active in strategies for future manufacturing programs.
The Swedish Automotive Manufacturing R&D Cluster
Component Body & Cab
Virtual Logistics &
Manufacturing Materials Education
& MDM handling
8 Manufacturing R&D sub-clusters created
4 clusters for transverse processes
affecting all manufacturing processes
Logistics & Production Virtual Education
4 clusters based on the sequential Material Management Engineering
automotive manufacturing process handling (Lean and MDM
BiW (Body & Cab)
2015 Sustainable Manufacturing Systems
Capable of Producing Innovative Products
•Swedish Automotive Manufacturing R&D Cluster
•Swedish Automotive Industry Needs of Manufacturing R&D 2009-2014
•Continuity and change – requirements for global competitiveness
Future challenges for MERA
• Program conference in Stockholm in October 2008
– CEOs of Scania and AB Volvo confirmed speakers, government
representative still pending
– Will be co-arranged together with the Scandinavian
Technical Fair 2008
• Strategic challenges
– Evaluation of program and projects
– Integration of academic and industry researchers
• Contribute to a Swedish national manufacturing research strategy
• Dissemination of project results, also to other manufacturing industries
• Continuation 2009 -- ?
Stamping Dies Manufacture for the Automotive Industry
To reduce the starting cost (investment cost, entry ticket)
for stamping dies by 30%
To reduce the die manufacturing lead time by 40%
To establish a chart for selection of die materials, surface hardening
methods and surface coatings for forming and trimming dies.
Knowledge generation to enable optimized Kaizen activities, to improve
the client/orderer competency and to broaden handling competency in