"In the era of software-defined automobiles, no matter what software is used, it needs to be realized through mechanical devices in the end, and these technologies also need to be continuously updated and developed." During the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, Japan Seiko Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as NSK) executive officer Mr. Yu Guoping, President of China and General Manager of NSK Investment Co., Ltd., said in an interview with the media.
Driven by the wave of electrification and intelligence, a new round of technological revolution in the automotive industry is accelerating. Everyone began to cheer for the achievements of higher-level autonomous driving scenarios. They lamented the beauty of the software car era, but they always ignore that hardware determines the boundary of software. key. In fact, every step of the technological revolution is actually inseparable from the continuous research in the field of basic parts and components by companies including NSK. On the other hand, as a well-known company in the global bearing industry, how will NSK judge the future changes in the auto market? How to deal with the challenges of new technologies brought about by the new era will also affect the direction of technological transformation of the automotive industry to a certain extent.
In the future, the increase in the auto market is limited, and parts and components companies need to be optimistic but cautiously respond
"It is still difficult to have an annual sales volume of more than 30 million in the next 5-10 years." When asked how to view the development trend of China's auto market, Yu Guoping believes that future market changes need to be optimistic but cautious.
In fact, affected by the epidemic, the domestic and foreign auto markets will show a certain degree of decline in 2020, especially the global new car production has fallen back to the scale of 2011, with only less than 80 million vehicles. Entering 2021, with the gradual control of overseas epidemics and the introduction of vaccines, the performance of the auto market has been boosted to a certain extent.
Among them, due to the effective control of the epidemic and the strong support of national and local policies, the Chinese auto market has rebounded rapidly in the past year. The annual new car production and sales dropped slightly by 2% and 1.9% compared with 2019, reaching 25.225 million and 2531 respectively. Million vehicles. In the first quarter of 2021, China's automobile production and sales were 6.352 million and 6.484 million vehicles, representing a year-on-year increase of 81.7% and 75.6% respectively. Based on this good trend, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicts that car sales in 2025 are expected to reach 30 million vehicles.
However, in the view of Kaiming Chengping, China's domestic risks are controllable in the short term, while overseas conflicts such as chip shortages and raw material price hikes caused by the epidemic are becoming increasingly serious and are not optimistic. The performance of the auto market in 2021 remains to be seen. "In addition, overseas risks will still be serious in 2021, or will be slowly reduced in 2022, and the problem of chip shortages may be alleviated by the end of this year." As the price of raw materials moves toward long-term and high-level development, it will further test the industry chain. Cooperation model. Based on NSK's experience in 2020, Yu Guoping suggested that corporate cooperation should strengthen communication to form supply and demand visualization. At the same time, OEMs, upstream suppliers, and raw material companies should sign a price increase linkage mechanism to work together to overcome difficulties.
Regarding the medium and long-term development trend, Kaiming Bearing’s point of view is that consumer demand for emerging technologies such as intelligence and electrification in the short and medium term will provide a certain amount of room for increase in the overall automotive market sales. However, it needs to be recognized for the longer-term automotive market. To make two points, one is that the increase is not necessarily the overall auto market demand, the demand for new energy will increase, while the demand for traditional fuel vehicles is declining; the other is that with the aging of the population, the restrictions on urban construction and other contradictions have become prominent. Sharing may become mainstream, and the overall demand growth of the auto market may slow down.
Based on this, Kaiming Bearing stated that nowadays, parts and components companies need to cut into the pain points of end users and lead the wave of technological revolution in order to maintain an invincible position in the future market competition with a solid core competitiveness.
The era of full electric drive is accelerating, and the core technology still needs a revolutionary breakthrough
In 2021, my country officially launched the "14th Five-Year Plan" and the development plan for the automobile industry in the next 15 years. According to the "Energy-saving and New Energy Vehicle Technology Roadmap 2.0" and "New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan 2021-2035" released by my country at the end of last year, China's new energy vehicle sales will account for 20% by 2025. , And by 2035, my country’s energy-saving and new-energy vehicles will each account for half. This means that the era of full electric drive is accelerating.
In this regard, Kaiming Bearing pointed out that the proportion of traditional fuel vehicles will continue to decline in the future, and the direction of pure electric vehicles will remain unchanged. However, based on China and the world's goal of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, thermal power will be the mainstay in the short term. The pure electric models or non-optimal solutions. Therefore, before the widespread use of cleaner renewable energy, hybrid systems may be a better choice. Based on this, "In the next 5-10 years, fuel, hybrid and pure electric vehicles will present a three-pronged pattern."
But at the same time, facing the era of full electric drive in the future, there are still many technical bottlenecks to be resolved.
In recent years, with the continuous evolution of the miniaturization and weight reduction of electric vehicle drive systems, and the increasing market demand for high-efficiency drive motors, higher speed requirements have been put forward for ball bearings for drive motors. However, under high-speed rotation of ball bearings, heat generation and cage damage are issues that need to be solved urgently.
To solve this problem, at this stage, NSK has released the third-generation high-speed ball bearings for electric vehicle drive motors (Gen3), which are suitable for high-speed operating conditions with dmN*1=1.8 million. It is reported that this series of grease-lubricated deep groove ball bearings can achieve the highest speed in the world, reduce the energy consumption of electric vehicles, extend the cruising range, and at the same time contribute to the expansion of the interior space through the miniaturization of the drive motor. "With the continuous development of technology, the demand for high-speed motors is gradually increasing. I think that high-speed ball bearings will usher in greater development in the next five years." Kaiming Bearing revealed that NSK is currently one of the few that can produce ultra-high-speed Ball bearing company.
Super high-speed ball bearings (picture source: NSK)
Based on NSK's technical accumulation in the field of ultra-high-speed ball bearings, it has introduced a new type of electric bridge, which further improves the cruising range of electric vehicles while achieving miniaturization and light weight. In addition, between its ultra-high-speed motor and gearbox, NSK also introduced a traction deceleration mechanism based on NSK's unique tribological technology, which is placed in the electric bridge to realize the motor running at high speeds. For silent deceleration.
In the new electric axle, NSK is equipped with the latest torque sensor and electric power flow switch to perfectly match the 2-speed reduction mechanism to achieve smooth shifting and efficient transmission, thus providing a new solution for the electric vehicle drive system.
2-speed smooth shift electric drive system (picture source: NSK)
With the continuous advancement of intelligent electric vehicle technology, NSK has developed an electric brake actuator, using its world-leading ball screw technology, which can accurately execute the brake commands in place, and has a small volume, light weight, high performance, It has the advantages of high response speed and higher safety, which can be applied to pure electric vehicles and fuel vehicles. "At present, this technology has been put into production in China in April this year. With the continuous expansion of new customers in the future, its production capacity will further increase." Yu Guoping revealed.
In addition, based on NSK's advantages in mechatronics, it has further introduced a steer-by-wire that supports automatic driving technology, which can achieve straight-line stability at high speeds while ensuring maneuverability at extremely low speeds. When combined with a high-output steering actuator, it is also suitable for large commercial vehicles such as trucks.
Steer by wire (picture source: NSK)
And finally, NSK integrates the above technical advantages and brings a cluster roaming module at this auto show. It adopts an integrated design and has driving, steering and braking functions. It is equipped with a load sensor and a vehicle height adjustment mechanism, which can automatically adjust each module. The load balancing can be applied to various vehicles such as smart logistics vehicles and smart buses.
NSK cluster roaming module (picture source: NSK)
Consolidating traditions and expanding new products, NSK walks on "two legs" to the next century
As mentioned earlier, the times are changing rapidly, but the market size is very limited, and the survival of the fittest is becoming an inevitable trend. More and more marginal companies may flee the "Dunkirk" of the auto industry.
"Facing the future, I think the industry will accelerate integration, high-quality companies may continue to absorb and merge the remaining capacity, and the strong will remain strong." According to Kaiming Bearing, at present, several major international mainstream component companies have increased their transformation efforts and continue to develop New technologies, materials and products, but at the same time local companies are also accelerating to catch up. "As a foreign-funded enterprise, we cannot stay on the same page, and we must continue to innovate and build a higher core competitiveness."
For NSK, based on more than 100 years of solid accumulation in the field of component manufacturing, it has now formed basic scientific research, established a long-term and credible cooperation model with international mainstream OEMs, manufacturing processing and quality management, precision and intelligent manufacturing And other four core advantages.
But it is clear that if you want to compete for a larger market share in the future, it is far from enough to stay in step now. "We need to accelerate the development and commercialization of new technologies and products on the basis of maintaining the share of existing products." Yu Guoping revealed, "In the next 5-10 years, we need two legs to walk together."
NSK at the Shanghai Auto Show booth (photo source: NSK)
At the same time, he further affirmed the importance of the Chinese market.
In recent years, China has become a fertile ground for cultivating many emerging technologies, thanks to the great support of the Chinese government for innovative technology and the automobile market, and the enormous tolerance of the huge market for new things. But at the same time, the rapidly changing market pattern and ever-changing market demand during the rapid development of the technological revolution put forward higher requirements for every company that wants to leverage the "China Speed" to develop rapidly.
Based on this, Kaiming Bearing stated that next NSK will further accelerate the research and development and promotion of new products in China, "We hope that these research and development results can become NSK China's new competitive advantage in the future."
"NSK is a century-old store, facing the next 100 years of survival, we still need to consider some new technical fields, industries, and products, so as to achieve a breakthrough revolution, in order to maintain better production and development in the future." Ming Bearing said.