If you’re familiar with us, you may be familiar with our mission: to meet or exceed the requirements of our employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and community through continuous improvement. Meeting and exceeding these needs always means staying on top of the latest news and changes affecting our clients and their industries, and reacting accordingly.
You may have heard that a few weeks ago President Obama announced his intentions to issue tougher fuel-efficiency standards for large trucks, starting this year and with the goal of a 10-20% increase in fuel economy by 2018. According to the President, increasing these trucks’ fuel efficiency would make the U.S. more energy independent while reducing greenhouse gas emissions (which are linked to climate change) and saving American consumers money.
This current focus on large trucks, Obama explained, is because while they make up only 4% of vehicles on the road, they cover more miles and are responsible for roughly 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions. The new standards come on top of, and specifically relate to, standards already in place for 2014-2018 model years.
So how does this relate directly to us, and in turn, to our customers? One of the proposed aspects of building more fuel-efficient vehicles is through weight reduction, and this requires us to place greater emphasis on ultra high-strength steel and/or aluminum. With aluminum, this will mean changing the way vehicles are assembled, which will be a new technology we will be working on. Right now, we will address this through emphasizing higher strength steels.
This is—and will continue to be—addressed in a number of ways. Presently, we are acquiring new servo drive presses that will allow us to make thinner gage parts and better formability with high strength steels. The new press with servo coil feeders can handle steel down to .030 inch thick, as opposed to .060 inch thick minimum in our current presses. The servo presses are also designed to result in less maintenance, and less energy use.
Additionally, many legislators are working on renewing R&D tax credits which would provide incentives for developing technologies and allow American manufacturers to be even more competitive and innovative. If continued this year, this would be another way we, and companies like us, could continue technological advancements that work toward greater fuel efficiency, among other things.
Regardless, we will continue meeting regulations, advancing our work, meeting your needs, and keeping you informed.