French plastic parts supplier Plastic Omnium has unveiled plans to invest €2.5bn in building new capacities and technology over the next four years. During its Investors Day presentation on 13 Dec, the automotive supplier said the investment would also be directed at optimising industrial facilities through Industry 4.0 and operational excellence, as well as developing new programmes and launching new research projects.
The increase in innovation capacity will enhance the company’s capability to address the looming challenges for the automotive industry, including the development of carbon-free, connected and autonomous cars.
In the area of carbon-free cars, Plastic Omnium is positioning itself as a supplier of storage for each form of energy. The company said it is developing specific solutions for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), turbocharged engine vehicles and electric vehicles.
The Group has also become involved in fuel cell propulsion.
For the connected and autonomous car, the French giant is positioning itself as the integrator of connectivity and to that end is developing innovation capacity in complex modules that integrate radar and sensors in the exterior parts.
“By 2025, smart bumpers and smart tailgates will represent greater added value and embedded intelligence. These new positions will enable Plastic Omnium to pursue long-term profitable and value-creating growth,” Plastic Omnium added.
To achieve these technological capabilities, the company has already taken a number of measures: Investment in Israel-based PO-CellTech, a fuel cell research centre; the construction of Brussels-based Deltatech advanced research centre for new energies; and the € 20m expansion of its Sigmatech global R&D centre for exterior components and modules near Lyon, France.
The company also is set to open Omegatech, its new testing and development centre for fuel systems for Asia in Wuhan, in 2019.
The innovation investments are part of Plastic Omnium’s strategy to maintain its leading position in exterior modules and equipment supplier for propulsion energies in the future.
The investment programme also includes four new plants – one in China, one in India, and two in the US - which are set to be launched in 2018. The US facilities include the Greer plant in South Carolina which is pilot plant for the deployment of Industry 4.0 of the future within the Group.
Additionally, the group aims to launch three plants in 2019 in India, Morocco and Slovakia.
Plastic Omnium - the growth and innovation startegy