English summary

Welcome to AUTOPART!

AUTOPART is a research project that aims to develop methodology, tools, methods and industrial demonstrators for the establishment of focused automotive spare parts production, in combination with production of ordinary automotive parts. The project is carried out by Benteler Aluminium Systems Norway AS and Plastal AS, in collaboration with SINTEF and NTNU.

About the project

The automotive parts supplier industry is characterized by strong competition and long-term contracts. The contracts are usually 7 years, and when they expire the supplier is committed to deliver spare parts for 15 years. In the contract period, the parts producers deliver standard products to the large car manufacturers. This period is characterized by high volumes and forecast-based production. In the succeeding commitment period only spare parts are delivered. This period is characterized by sporadic orders and lower volumes.

Automotive parts production is usually adapted to mass production of standard parts; however, the same production system is also used in low-volume production of spare parts. The spare parts marked has a potential to be profitable, but it demands rapid and flexible production, and creates challenges for the producers. Standard automotive parts and spare parts demand two different foci – mass production and flexible production, respectively. This affects the choice of machinery, operators and production control, and is difficult to combine in the same system. The alternative is to build two focused factories; however, this demands duplication of resources and is thus not cost efficient.

Benteler and Plastal are suppliers for the car industry. They produce aluminum bumpers and bumper coats, respectively. Benteler and Plastal have identified a common future need with respect to spare parts production, and will, together with SINTEF and NTNU, realize the AUTOPART research project. The overall idea for value added is that focused spare parts production, in symbiosis with other units of the factory, will yield world-class performance.

Specifically, the research project will focus on four important R&D areas for future automotive parts production:

  • Development of a strategic framework for multi-focused production
  • Development of a method for rapid re-optimization of layout and flow in order to respond to changes in demand
  • Development of decision support for aggregated sales and capacity planning in multi-focused factories
  • Development of a concept for lean production control in high-variation, low-volume production, and implementation of the project’s research results in the shape of a demonstrator for world-class production of spare parts


Very few automotive parts producers have succeeded in tapping the full value added potential in spare parts production, and Benteler and Plastal are in position to be among the world’s leaders in their niches within this market. The activities in AUTOPART develop the companies to be world class with respect to next generation spare parts production, which takes place in symbiosis with ordinary mass production in order to increase volume and mix flexibility, as well as to reduce costs. As such, the level of innovation in AUTOPART is regarded as very high.


The initiative and funding is made by the collaboration partners, and in addition to this the AUTOPART project receives funding from the Research Council of Norway.

Publisert 6. april 2012

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