Spring 2021 Venture Client Cycle

Steering Wheel Manufacturing with Autoliv

Supply chain

About

Autoliv is at the forefront of automotive safety technology and our success is rooted on world-class manufacturing operations and close cooperation with our customers. We are guided by our vision of Saving More Lives. Now, we are looking to automize the production of steering wheels. If you have cutting edge solution for glue activation in the most demanding use cases, we would like to hear from you!

Theme Description

Autoliv supplies life-saving safety systems to all leading car manufacturers worldwide. Our robust solutions are based on solid research and extensive application skills and are developed in close cooperation with the customers.

The success of Autoliv builds on top of world-class manufacturing operations. To assure standardization and high quality and to maintain proprietary production technologies, Autoliv’s production lines and equipment are often developed and manufactured by Autoliv itself. Also, we have established final assembly centers inside or close to our customers’ manufacturing plants.

We are the global market leader in the category and are known for our superior functionality and design. As the customer trends and needs are evolving, we want to lead the way with steering wheel manufacturing capabilities ensuring the safety and efficiency of our operators. To succeed in this, we are looking for tools and processes that exceed the demanding needs of steering wheel.

Opportunity Overview

Autoliv manufactures steering wheels, which are supremely crafted to meet the strict safety requirements and are functional and stylish. The steering wheels are handcrafted, and it can take up to one hour for an operator to glue and sew the wrapping onto a foamed steering wheel.

The process demonstrates the superior craftsmanship of our operators and is the guarantee for our market-leading quality. Now, we look for new tools that would make our operators’ work safer and more efficient.

In steering wheel manufacturing, it is a demanding task to make the synthetic or genuine leather wrapping stick onto the foamed steering wheel. The process includes gluing, heating and stitching, and the result needs to comply with our highest quality standards. To make the work safer, and building towards autonomous manufacturing, we are looking to simplify how we attach the leather wrapping onto the polyurethane steering wheel. The primary interest is in new ways to activate the glue used in steering wheel manufacturing. Your solution can be anything from a simple hand-held tool to robotic systems as long as it can activate the glue through a layer of synthetic or genuine leather. Our yearly manufacturing volumes are counted in tens of millions, so even small improvements result in significant benefits.

If you work on new solutions that could be applied in the precise and manual art of steering wheel manufacturing, be sure to contact us! Below you can read more on the activation of glue use case.

Focus Areas

Examples of solutions we’re interested in

Glue Activation

A step in the automation of the steering wheel process is to ensure that the leather can be attached to the polyurethane body of the steering wheel by increasing the heat of the glue through the leather wrapping instead of applying heat directly onto the glue.

Today the activation of the glue is done with a heating gun and the activation is done on the glue side, not on the leather side. We would like to activate the glue through the leather to ensure a possibility to automate this process step. We are looking for alternative ways of activating the glue to avoid wrinkles and burnt leather and thereby reduce the rework time.

  • The activation of the glue must be applicable both for the polymer powder blend and water-based glue.
  • In addition to glue, other materials include artificial and genuine leather and the polyurethane steering wheel body.
  • The safety of our human operators is the #1 priority for us.
All opportunities
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