Thursday, 26 February 2015

New engineering head for GKN Automotive

Peter Mölgg is the new president of engineering GKN Automotive, covering the GKN Driveline and GKN Powder Metallurgy divisions.

GKN Driveline is a leading supplier of automotive driveline systems and solutions, while GKN Powder Metallurgy produces precision powder metal products for engines, chassis, transmissions and driveline systems.

Mölgg heads up engineering across the two divisions. He has the vital task of leveraging synergies to identify and bring to market innovative, leading technologies for GKN’s expansive automotive customer base.

His remit is to make the best use of the resources, innovations and technologies within the two businesses in an attempt to maximise return on assets, and presumably ensure the two market-related related divisions work in close harmony, and maximise their networking and intelligence gathering expertise to help bolster these returns.

Mölgg joined GKN in 1979 and has held various senior engineering and general management positions in GKN Driveline and GKN Powder Metallurgy, so is well aware of technologies and processes in both divisions. He was most recently president Europe and Asia Pacific for GKN Sinter Metals. He established a GKN Automotive Technology Council to help develop new solutions.   

He said: “Technology is at the heart of GKN and is crucial to our strategy to develop the innovative, intelligent electric drives and all-wheel drive systems of the future, whilst also maintaining our leadership in conventional drivelines.

“I am extremely excited by this new role; GKN has a wealth of engineering expertise and experience to draw on from across the Driveline and Powder Metallurgy divisions. I want to ensure the full value of technology across our automotive businesses is rapidly developed to bring market leading technology to our customers,” he added.

Andrew Reynolds Smith, chief executive officer of GKN Automotive, added: “Car manufacturers are increasingly under pressure to deliver efficiency, as well as performance which makes cars great to drive. Intelligent drivelines and lighter vehicle components and systems are helping to achieve this goal. We are working hard to develop the best technologies for today’s markets and commit significant investment in advanced technologies for the future.”

In December 2014 GKN Automotive announced it had moved its key North American activities into a new regional headquarters in Auburn Hills. The new facility houses GKN Driveline and GKN Sinter Metals divisions.

The new site also houses GKN’s Land Systems and North American Services groups. The 168,000-square-foot facility is located on an 11.2-acre site at 2200 N. Opdyke Road.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills since 1986, GKN has over 350 employees at the new location. In addition to employees from the previous headquarters, GKN consolidated an additional 40 team members from a facility at 36200 Mound Road in Sterling Heights, Mich.

GKN’s new headquarters complex provides state-of-the-art testing and validation equipment along with additional engineering design areas for driveline and sinter metal products. The new facility provides the company with an additional 20 per cent more space for engineering and testing activities.

Mölgg will be based in Bruneck, Italy, replacing Rob Rickell, who has moved to become GKN president, Group Technology with a remit to oversee technology development and innovation across the GKN Group.

In October 2013, GKN Sinter Metals in Bruneck received the Investment Award at South Tyrol's 2013 Economy Awards. The award is presented to companies that demonstrate belief in South Tyrol, strengthening it and helping make it more competitive through investment. GKN Sinter Metals in Bruneck received recognition for setting new standards in innovation, productivity and return on investment.

A year earlier, GKN Sinter Metals was one of 16 companies selected from Schaeffler Group’s over 1,250 suppliers to receive the Supplier of the Year award. The award honours the best global suppliers based on excellence in quality, reliability, competitive cost structures, service, innovation and global presence.

GKN Sinter Metals supplies Schaeffler with engine and transmission products, like VVT components using conventional powder metal and metal injection moulding processes. GKN supplies Schaeffler from its plants in Germany, China, Italy, and Brazil. 

COMMENT. There can be few positions in a large global engineering company where it is vitally important to bridge the gap between two disparate divisions – engineering and metallurgy in order to capitalise on the expertise that is available.

Working in isolation, each business, GKN Drivelines and GKN Powder Metallurgy can function quite adequately. Yet in order for each to operate at the maximum of its capabilities, it is vitally important they work in harmony and assist one another to achieve their goals.

It is all too easy for the “not invented here” syndrome to creep in and undermine the potential on offer. Yet one has to imagine that the question uppermost on the minds of senior executives in GKN Drivelines is: How can we make best use of sintered products to improve our products, and offer our customers a superior yet cost-effective product.

By the same token, uppermost in the minds of GKN Powder Metallurgy (aside from finding higher performance materials and lower manufacturing routes) is the matter of how can we increase our applications within GKN Drivelines, because this will help us to penetrate other vendors – even OEMs – making similar products.

Bridging this gap, and bringing the two groups closer together, one imagines must be the role of the engineering president who, through his intimate knowledge of product and technology, can find ways for the two divisions to network and widen their horizons

Over the years, sintered automotive products have made great strides by way of improving their penetration into engines, transmissions, drive axles and other complex products where near-net-shapes have an important part to play in improving performance and reducing manufacturing costs. Even so, there is a belief there is much that lays undiscovered.

What is required is for none other than the proverbial and tireless enthusiast with a metal detector to constantly and painstakingly the search the field for the gold coins that inevitably lay beneath the surfac

This surely has a parallel with the role of engineering president: ever challenging, ever motivating, ever questioning and ever breaking down barriers that inhibit positive thinking. Only in this way can the full benefits of “leveraging synergies” be achieved. 

No comments: