“SE SEUS PROJETOS FOREM PARA UM ANO,SEMEIE O GRÂO.SE FOREM PARA DEZ ANOS,PLANTE UMA ÁRVORE.SE FOREM PARA CEM ANOS,EDUQUE O POVO.”

“Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. Will Durant”

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AUTOR DO BLOG ENG. ARMANDO CAVERO MIRANDA SAO PAULO BRASIL

terça-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2010

Has the world really discovered the advantages of Brazilian automotive engineering?

By Thiago Struminski, Industry Analyst, Latin America -FROST & SULLIVAN

The Brazilian automotive engineering has a long standing tradition, it exists for over 50 years and the country unveils its 3rd generation of automotive engineers. Its competence was built by vehicle producers which over the 50s and 80s locally manufactured cars, long gone from their production plans in Europe and the U.S and required several adaptations for the local market. It is the case of GM's Opala model. The specific conditions of Brazil drove the need to search for unique solutions and created spaces for local development activities. The country has a wide territory, poor road conditions and in terms of temperature; the south of Brazil reaches -5 Celsius, and the north +40 Celsius. Vehicle producers have to take all of that into account when projecting the durability of a vehicle body. Therefore, the utilization of different materials is one of the ingredients to give a local face to the Brazilian Automotive Engineering. Later on, the development activities evolved to the derivation of vehicles conceived abroad such as the pick up Corsa and the Astra Sedan, originated from Germany.

Throughout its history, creativity and capacity to offer low cost solutions have always walked side to side with local automotive professionals. The local engineering culture was formed under strong cost pressures and requirements to increase productivity levels with limited resources. Such scenario has contributed to another very important differential: flexibility. The speed in terms of capturing the new trends and bringing it to new models is certainly a major competitive advantage in a time which product life cycles decrease with strong intensity.

The Brazilian automotive industry has been the pioneer in producing small pick ups and 1.0 liter engines. The latter has amazingly pushed forward the sales of popular vehicles in the early 90s and still accounts for 52 percent of all cars sold in the country.

However, the flagship automotive technology is related to alternative fuels. During the 70s, the oil crisis forced the Brazilian government to find solutions in order to diversify its energy matrix. The way out was to introduce gasoline blended with a high volume of ethanol; in order to foster the development of straight ethanol fueled vehicles. Later on in 2003, important suppliers such as Magneti Marelli, and Bosch, through some special electronic sensors developed in Brazil the flex fuel technology. In practical terms, the flex fuel allows the choice of fuel (at each vehicle refueling) according to characteristics of price, quality, performance or even fuel availability. Soon after its introduction in the Brazilian market, flex fuel vehicles reached 86 percent of market share in only four years. At the moment, local efforts are concentrated on Biodiesel which is already obligatory by Brazilian legislation.

In such a spirit, Brazil has successfully evolved from the tropicalization of products designed elsewhere, to the unit by unit construction of new vehicles. Finally, the Brazilian automotive industry has achieved a status of a global platform designer.

A critical point for the Brazilian automotive industry would be to speed up the process of involving engineers within development activities. Currently to capacitate a project coordinator to the automotive industry takes an average of 8 years. In order to be 50 percent more effective the ideal target is to reach a 2-3 year level.

The industry needs to enhance the attractiveness of working for the automotive industry and the engineering activity itself. Local associations such as SAE Brazil are trying to incentive newcomers at the very bottom of the education system creating technical courses for youngsters and fostering a culture of technology. It is essential for a country which lags behind in its educational system. Most developed countries have an average of 25 engineers per every 1000 thousand inhabitants; Brazil has much lower average than that. The percentage of graduated Brazilian Engineers in comparison to all graduated University students is also below international standard.

There are about 13,000 engineers engaged on the Brazilian automotive industry. The movement private sector/University has intensified over the recent years and promoted specific success stories such as GM/Politecnica, Ford/Unicamp, Fiat/PUC Minas and UFSC, but still has a lot to improve. Around 68 percent of the research groups involved in automotive are concentrated on the South/Southeast region. All the vehicle producer/University associations draw the example of the link Embraer/ITA. The Brazilian airplane manufacturer was the first local company to really speed up the development of specialized engineers giving them interesting career opportunities. Working with more than 4,000 engineers, with the assistance of the University it has manage to create a very innovative culture, allowing them to produce the latest technology and become world reference in terms of regional jets. As the example is followed by the automotive industry, results are starting to appear.

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Um comentário:

  1. By constitutional determination regarding the educational system, the aforementioned legislation still applies as long as it does not go against the Constitution. This ambiguity is a consequence of the absence of a new Bases and Guidelines Law and characterizes a transition phase until the new law is finally elaborated and enacted. The bill has already been submitted to congress.
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