Leoni, a global provider of energy and data management solutions in the automotive sector and other industries, is celebrating the completion of the building shell of the Factory of the Future at today's topping-out ceremony. This marks the next milestone in the realisation of its Competence Centre in Roth: Through digital technologies, intelligent products and solutions and cloud-based services the company will here create the basis for trailblazing production.
The megatrends of e-mobility, autonomous driving and connectivity are leading to serious changes in the structures of the automotive sector right now. In particular, the wiring – the vehicle’s nervous system – must adapt to these new requirements. Increasing data rates and rapidly growing power demand call for new, more flexible data and power architectures. “We want to take even better advantage of the opportunities presented by digitalisation in the future. To this end, we are expanding our portfolio to include intelligent cables, systems and services. The Factory of the Future will provide ideal underlying conditions for innovation and efficient production,” said Bruno Fankhauser, member of the Board of Directors of Leoni AG with responsibility for the Wire & Cable Solutions Division.
Focus on data and power distribution
In addition to the development and production of state-of-the-art data cables for autonomous driving, solutions for even safer, more efficient and more reliable power distribution in electric vehicles are being developed. Every watt saved can be translated into range (mileage), and every minute saved in the charging process enhances the appeal of electric driving.
This includes, for example, a charging cable for so-called high-performance direct current charging. The cable temperature rises substantially during charging and therefore requires active cooling using a liquid. The LEONiQ technology enables the cable to monitor its own temperature, the possible ingress of liquid and visualises the charging status using luminous fibres – like Leoni’s intelligent charging cable iEVC.
System simulation is another area that is due to be expanded. The focus here is on the functional simulation of energy and data transmission systems to support customers in the development process of finding a solution even earlier, significantly accelerating this process.
Completion of relocation by 2020
According to the current timetable, the building designed by the architects and master planners of Omlor-Mehringer and built by Züblin as general contractor will be handed over to Leoni towards the end of 2018. Leoni still expects to relocate the current production facilities from its existing plant in Stieberstrasse, phase by phase, starting in 2019. Relocation of the roughly 800 employees to the Factory of the Future on a site sized 134,000 square metres is likely to be completed in mid-2020. In total, Leoni will be investing EUR 90 million in the facility.