ACMA bets on innovative raw materials from sustainability perspective

Focus on alternative, non-ferrous raw materials such as aluminium, magnesium, titanium and copper will be crucial from lightweighting and sustainability perspectives in the future.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 03 Jul 2024 Views icon1385 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
ACMA bets on innovative raw materials from sustainability perspective

The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) hosted the fourth edition of its annual Automotive Raw Materials Conclave in New Delhi, where key stakeholders gathered to determine the industry's future roadmap. 

The seminar shed light on how non-ferrous raw materials such as aluminium, zinc, titanium and copper, hold an important place in the automotive industry from a sustainability perspective, and carbon reduction in vehicles. 

Shradha Suri Marwah, MD, Subros, and President, ACMA said, “The automotive industry is at a crossroads, facing unprecedented challenges and opportunities. As we pivot from traditional manufacturing practices to more sustainable and innovative methods, non-ferrous materials like aluminium, copper, magnesium, and titanium are becoming increasingly critical.

These materials not only offer superior properties such as lightweighting, corrosion resistance, and enhanced performance but also play a vital role in reducing the environmental footprint of our industry.”

“By working together, especially with the raw material suppliers, we can develop new technologies and processes that enhance the efficiency and sustainability of non-ferrous materials. Partnerships between industry players, research institutions, and government bodies will be key to overcoming these challenges and unlocking the full potential of these materials,” she added. 

Deepak Thukral, Head, Supply Chain, Maruti Suzuki India, said, “With the Indian economy slated to become a 7 trillion economy by 2030, there is strong headroom for growth for the automotive industry, which is set to cross the 4-million-units mark in passenger vehicles in 2024-25. Therefore, while there is immense potential for all industry players, there are also going to be challenges of sustainability and circularity.”

Thukral explained that the revamped scrappage policy as well as the stringent BS-VI emission norms endow upon the industry to transform itself towards value-added manufacturing with a strong focus on innovation and sustainability. “And that calls for a shift towards EVs and cleaner mobility solutions,” he pointed out.

“Therefore, the raw materials also need to transition towards greener, and more sustainable options, and hence, traditional ferrous metals are being replaced by non-ferrous materials that offer unique benefits to cater to the evolving needs of the industry,” Thukral said.

He cited examples that while aluminium is already being used in body panels, engine blocks, and several other areas within the vehicle, copper, on the other hand, is going to play a key role with electric vehicles becoming more mainstream. Plastics and carbon-fibre composites are also emerging as strong alternatives with the average plastic content-per-vehicle is going up with an increased usage in parts such as fuel tanks, or rear-door hatch panels. “It is our responsibility to ensure a safer environment for future generations, and therefore, industry players must make a roadmap towards carbon neutrality and sustainability which should encompass all aspects right from the mining of the raw materials to the end of life of the vehicles,” highlighted Thukral.

EPR an important sustainability measure

The Maruti Suzuki senior executive also shed light on the subject of EPR or the Extended Producer Responsibility standards that mandate parts makers to ensure end-to-end recyclability of components to drive circularity.

Thukral said that the recycling of aluminium alone saves up to 95% of the energy required to produce fresh aluminium, and the EPR is an important step towards sustainability. “EPR is one such initiative taken by the government to ensure a circular economy. The government has notified components such as plastics, tyres, batteries, and e-waste under the EPR,” he pointed out. 

“Investment in solar plants and tree plantations are some of the key measures to drive sustainability and ensure low carbon emissions in manufacturing operations. While the future is brimming with opportunities, sustainability must become the centerpiece of our strategy for long-term growth,” added Thukral.

Lightweighting a key imperative 

As per Santosh Subramanian, Partner, PwC India, “While we have been witnessing several megatrends emerge in the last few years, electrification is the one that is here to stay. Globally, electrification presently stands at around 15% penetration, and is expected to touch 45% by 2030. China, however, is poised to continue to take the lead, and the major growth within automotive is going to come from ICE to EV transition.”

“Therefore, as a strategy, lightweighting is going to be a key imperative for EVs, and is also going to play a vital role in determining fuel efficiency enhancements for conventional vehicles and higher range for EVs,” Subramanian said.

He also stressed that non-ferrous materials such as aluminium, magnesium alloys, titanium and copper, offer immense potential for lightweighting along with the added advantage of sustainability. Subramanian cited that OEMs such as Ford, and Toyota embarked upon their aluminium journey as early as 1992, while in recent times, the Tesla Model S is one of the most prominent models with high usage of aluminium.

Subramanian pointed out the fact that about 10% reduction in weight improves fuel efficiency by 6%, and as an execution plan, there needs to be collaboration across governments, and industry, as well as the establishment of focused research institutions to further drive the implementation of non-ferrous materials in the automotive industry.

According to Vinnie Mehta, Director General, ACMA, “ACMA is committed to circularity and has cluster programmes that focus on sustainability. Even the ACMA awards are now focusing on circular economy and carbon reduction measures of component suppliers.”

Tags: ACMA,Subros
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