Sunday, 31 August 2014

Kearah Mempertingkatkan Daya Saing


Menyusun semula masyarakat Malaysia demi membasmi kemiskinan untuk sama-sama menikmati hasil kekayaan negara adalah teras perlaksanaan Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) diawal tahun tujuh puluhan. Langkah pertama yang dilaksanakan pada awal tahun tujuh puluhan ini ialah membuka peluang pelajaran hingga keperingkat tinggi bagi anak-anak muda yang kebanyakannya terpinggir diluar bandar. Banyak biasiswa yang ditawarkan bagi anak bangsa Malaysia yang berkebolehan untuk melanjutkan pelajaran diperingkat ijazah di universiti-universiti tempatan mahupun keluar negera. Disamping itu pertumbuhan ekonomi banyak bergantung kepada hasil bumi dimana tanah-tanah yang tidak diusahakan dijadikan estat-estat kelapa sawit untuk penyusunan semula masyarakat miskin di pendalaman. Perusahaan minyak, getah dan bijih timah memberikan pendapatan lumayan dan digunakan untuk pembangunan negara dan pembangunan sumber manusia.

Menjelang awal tahun lapan puluhan, peluang pekerjaan khususnya dibidang sains dan teknologi amat berkurangan bagi menampung jumlah graduan yang dikeluarkan setiap tahun. Perusahaan berasaskan tani tidak dapat memberikan kepuasan pekerjaan kepada para graduan kecuali perusahaan minyak yang dapat memberi peluang kerja khusus bagi graduan dibidang kejuruteraan petrolium dan bidang-bidang yang bersangkutan dengan aktiviti carigali seperti geologi. Kebanyakkan graduan-graduan kejuruteraan mendapat pekerjaan dibadan-badan kerajaan seperti  JKR, Jabatan Parit dan Taliair, Lembaga Letrik Negara, di universiti-universiti dan lain-lain seupamanya. Menyedari hakikat akan timbulnya masalah sosial dalam masyarakat Malaysia akibat kekurangan peluang pekerjaan, ketidakpuasan dengan bidang kerja dan juga bagi mengelakkan berlakunya penghijrahan bijak pandai, sesuatu usaha harus dilakukan bagi mengujudkan peluang pekerjaan ini. Justeru dasar perindustrian negara di maktubkan dan implimentasinya bermula dengan bagitu cepat pada awal tahun lapan puluhan.

HICOM, “Heavy Industry Corporation of Malaysia”, sebuah syarikat induk ditubuhkan dan dipertanggungjawab untuk membangunkan rangkaian industri-industri sejajar dengan hasrat untuk menjadikan Malaysia sebuah negara perindustrian menjelang tahun 2020. Projek-projek memproses bahan mentah untuk dijadikan bahan asas keperluan kilang-kilang pembuatan dibangunkan seperti perusahaan besi keluli, PERWAJA, dan beberapa pelaburan usahasama menghasilkan bahan asas plastic dari minyak mentah digalakkan dimana projek-projek ini dibangunkan di kawasan pantai timur. Bagi menampung kegunaan bahan asas ini, industri-industri pemasangan ditubuhkan dan industri-industri kecil dan sederhana tumbuh dengan pesat memproses bahan asas mengeluarkan komponen-komponen keperluan industri pemasangan tersebut. Antara industri-industri pemasangan yang dibangunkan oleh HICOM ialah Proton kemudian diikuti dengan penubuhan Perodua, industri pengeluar enjin kecil motosikal seperti Hicom-Yamaha dan industri pemasangan motosikal seperti Hicom-Honda dan Modenas. Rangkaian projek-projek pengilangan ini berkembang dengan pesat dalam dekad lapan puluhan hingga ke pertengahan dekad kesembilan puluhan. Kejayaan Malaysia dalam dua dekad ini telah menarik mata dunia diatas kemampuan rakyatnya memenuhi hasrat untuk menuju status negara maju. Pertumbuhan ekonomi tahunan dalam dua dekad ini setinggi lebih 8% amat memberangsangkan.

Proses industrilisasi, khususnya perusahaan otomotif, ini telah berjaya meningkatkan kemajuan rakyat tempatan dari semua sudut termasuk dari aspek pengetahuan sains dan teknologi, kemahiran teknikal dan pengilangan, ekonomi mahupun intelektual. Perusahaan automotif yang berteknologi tinggi ini secara langsung telah menyediakan tapak kerja permulaan bagi para graduan kejuruteraan yang berkalibar dan berpotensi ditahun-tahun lapan puluhan dan seterusnya. Kini mereka ini telah berpengalaman dan menjadi pakar teknologi dan juga ahli korporat yang sangat-sangat diperlukan untuk terus membangun negara. Perusahaan otomotif juga telah berjaya mengujudkan, para usahawan dan ahli perniagaan yang mengambil peluang menubuhkan perusahaan mereka dalam memberikan sokongan bekalan komponen kepada industri otomotif tersebut. Bagitu juga dengan perkembangan didalam bidang akadamia di seluruh negara dimana para pelajar diperingkat tinggi mendapat pendedahan latihan praktikal diperusahaan otomotif yang memberikan gambaran dan pendedahan yang lebih meluas didalam bidang teknologi termasuk juga penyelidikan dan pembangunan di bidang teknologi otomotif.

Kalau pada tahun-tahun enam puluhan topik-topik  perbicangan banyak tertumpu kepada sektor hasil bumi semata-mata tetapi proses industrialisasi telah membuka pemikiran dan menambah pengetahuan rakyat Malaysia ketahap yang lebih tinggi sejajar dengan hasrat menuju kearah negara perindustrian dan negara maju. Walau apa pun yang diperkatakan, positif atau negatif, wujudnya sektor otomotif telah menyumbang kearah perubahan dan perkembangan sosial ekonomi rakyat Malaysia dari sebuah masyarakat yang hanya dikenali sebagai pengeluar bahan getah, kelapa sawit dan bijih timah kepada masyarakat perindustrian. Artikal seterusnya akan membincangkan segala cabaran dan rintangan dalam usaha rakyat Malaysia memajukan sektor otomotif ini.

http://mai.org.my/v3/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=96%3Akearah-mempertingkatkan-daya-saing

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Ensuring smooth transition to EEVs


NEW energy-efficient vehicles (EEV), with reference to the “plug-in hybrid electric vehicle”, the full “electric vehicle” and the “fuel cell hybrid”, are new mobility concepts beginning to enter the marketplace.

As can be expected, there would be many market and technical barriers that need to be addressed for their acceptance, both on the part of manufacturers and consumers alike.

Among the market barriers include a lack of market drivers, price, and infrastructure.

The current market demand is still insufficient to drive vehicle manufacturers to commit high investment necessary to develop and produce new energy-saving technological vehicles on a large scale.

Fluctuation in oil prices coupled with lack of customers’ knowledge are hurdles among car makers to venture into mass production of the new EEV.

Customers’ acceptance of these revolutionary concept of the new EEV may take a long time to ascertain in the marketplace.

Today’s customers are so accustomed to the established performance of the conventional and advanced internal combustion engine, and perhaps the hybrid technology too. Therefore, their expectation of the new EEV attributes must be the same or better.

Before these EEV can penetrate the marketplace, exposure and education on the vehicle is vital so that new mindset and expectations among the public are ascertained.

Availability of charging infrastructure, battery charging period and aftermarket services, such as maintenance facilities and qualified technicians, are additional concerns among road users who care more of their mobility rather that the type of vehicle they are in.

Affordability is yet another attribute that may discourage the widespread use of the new EEV. While all of the above prescribed market barriers may discourage car makers from venturing into mass production of the EEV, current production mainly focuses on low volume and high-end profitable models. Until up-scaling into mass production is viable, most of the EEV may remain beyond the general public’s affordability.

In the manufacturing arena, the lightweight materials have largely been developed for the aerospace industry, of which many of the technologies are applicable to the new EEV. Due to high value-added aerospace parts and components, material suppliers may choose to avoid selling their products to automotive parts and components manufacturers, unless there are promises of large volume orders. As such, start-up manufacturing with lower volume of parts and components may be hindered.

The new EEV promoters strongly believe that the life cycle cost of the vehicle is lower in the long run compared to the conventional technology but the initial investment cost is likely to be higher.

Generally, consumers are unwilling to invest in costly new technology until it is proven viable. The predicament is further enhanced if the vehicle risk is factored into where the manufacturers and consumers are concerned on the warranty and litigation.

Despite the prescribed barriers, the new EEV will eventually be the mode of public mobility due to the gradual global climatic changes.

Global legislators are pressured to regulate the harmful emission in their respective countries and inevitably, the new EEV is the long- term solution for transportation.

Malaysia’s involvement in promoting the EEV is therefore a commendable and visionary initiative that will position the nation towards well-prepared future EEV usage.

There are a lot to be done among automotive stakeholders to overcome barriers towards ensuring successful implementation of the EEV agenda in public education, infrastructure preparation, manufacturing concerns and future aftermarket requirements.

In all aspects, clear understanding of the EEV prerequisites is imperative for successful utilisation. Dynamic collaboration and concerted efforts of stakeholders on initiatives undertaken will surely position Malaysia as the prominent EEV user and producer of the future
http://mai.org.my/v3/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=302%3Aensuring-smooth-transition-to-eevs

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Materials innovations driver for EEV ventures


REDUCTION in vehicle weight is a major attribute towards achieving fuel economy in energy-efficient vehicle (EEV). Henceforth, developing low-cost lightweight materials is now becoming one of the major focuses within the global automotive community.

Although well designed parts and components will help reduce the vehicle weight, however, right material selections for all components are better approach to achieve higher degree in their weight reduction.

Advanced materials are now being incorporated into the vehicle design, including body, chassis, suspension, power train and interior features, such as seats and fittings.

Most developmental work is focused on advancing the characteristics of materials, including aluminium and magnesium, alloys, ultra-high strength steels, carbon fiber and polymer composites.

To maintain compatibility with the current manufacturing assets within the automotive industry, application of advanced high strength steel (AHSS) is still preferred in the short- to middle-term venture towards EEV.

AHSS has the potential to reduce parts and components weight, especially those in the strength limited structural design, by as high as 25 per cent.

AHSS cost more than the current regular steel by about 15 per cent, but still cheaper, although heavier as compared to lighter materials, such as aluminium and magnesium. Steel, being alloyed with nickel and titanium, demonstrates increase in strength with relatively lighter in weight.

Thinner AHSS, coupled with right design approach, may reduce the weight of components in its application.

Lightweight aluminium and its alloys have been successfully exploited due to years of developmental work within the aerospace industry.

Aluminium alloys have been well developed and their metallurgical aspects are reasonably understood.

Existing processes to shape the material into components are continuously being enhanced, and new processes are being introduced to achieve better production efficiency and quality output.

Aluminium alloys have entered automotive application in a broader spectrum in the last few decades. Body-in-white structures, power train components, engine parts, hood and panels are among its applications by automotive designers towards weight reduction exercises.

A reduction of some 25 per cent in weight is achievable with aluminium as compared to the steel materials used in most vehicles.

Magnesium and its alloys are currently the lightest material having the potential for automotive lightweight component application, achieving some 60 per cent in weight reduction against the current steel materials being employed.

However, magnesium widespread application is still limited due to its high cost and price volatility.

Carbon fiber reinforced polymer composite, five times stronger than steel, but only one third of its weight, is the most promising lightweight material applicable for automotive, such as body panels.

The material has the potential of reducing some 60 per cent of the vehicle body weight. The composite imparts high strength in the body structure and is able to resist impact loads. Widespread application, however, is still limited due to the cost of carbonisation process to produce the carbon fiber input material.

Metallic metric composites are now gaining ground in automotive applications for engine parts and components.

Aluminium matrix composites, although still costly, have the potential of replacing heavy steel components, such as brake discs and drums, cylinder blocks, cylinder liners, pistons, crankshafts, camshafts, valves, push rods, connecting rods, brake calipers and turbo exchanges.

Various local universities have been involved in metal matrix and fiber polymer composites. Although the research initiatives are mostly of academic exercises in nature, the accumulated knowledge can be useful for lightweight material development in the near future by the local automotive industry players.

Automotive aluminium parts and components manufacturers have long been established in the local scene.

The support of trained local metallurgists and material engineers in various advanced materials is crucial for their advancement into the manufacture of lightweight components for future EEV initiatives.
http://mai.org.my/v3/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=279:materials-innovations-driver-for-eev-ventures