Apr 17/23

Understanding Modular Design and Production in the Auto Industry

modular design


In today’s world of auto manufacturing, a car or large SUV can need as many as 30,000 parts to become a whole vehicle. Once separate suppliers make all those parts, a car can take between 17 and 18 hours on the assembly line to complete.

Now though, many automakers are rethinking their manufacturing tactics and how they get materials from their auto suppliers.

It seems the modular design is the future of auto-making, taking advantage of the vast materials and scope of capabilities provided by those parts suppliers.

Read on to learn more about modular design and what shifts it will create in the automotive industry.mm

Is the Auto Assembly Line a Thing of the Past?

In traditional auto manufacturing, an auto company would design a car. Then they’d go to auto parts suppliers to make the individual parts needed in assembly.

Those suppliers each specialized in different areas of the car, like plastics, engine parts, or even tires. Then all the parts would go to the automaker, where they would get assembled on the vehicle production line.

Now, automakers realize that an average vehicle takes tens of thousands of parts before its whole.

Maybe some of those parts can get assembled together or used in multiple vehicles, making the actual car production assembly line much more simplified.

What Is Modular Design?

Modular production is just catching on in the auto industry after realizing how it improves efficiency for car makers in several ways.

First, think of the car parts sort of broken into categories or modules. Many car companies gather these thousands of parts to assemble a car.

With modular design, the parts that go into a module are assembled before shipping off to the automaker. Then they take all the modules and put them together to build a car.

Another potential part of modular design, and less common for auto manufacturing, is when multiple vehicles use the same part. So a particular part can be used in multiple designed vehicles, creating fewer parts on the assembly line.

Why Modular Manufacturing Works

In today’s automaking, many parts of a car are made of various forms of plastics. Many of these plastics have different design features depending on the specific part’s use in the overall vehicle.

What manufacturers are figuring out is that it makes sense for some of their auto suppliers to be involved in the modular manufacturing process. For some of the high-tech plastics that need to be processed together to create a part, this just makes sense.

Modular Assembly Offers Important Flexibility

For automakers, this modular assembly is a smart choice. For some of these plastics, it makes sense to have the supplier make them to also put together the module.

It also means the auto manufacturer needs less storage for parts and the actual assembly of the car is less complex.

Modular Design and the Future of Auto Manufacturing

Modular design is slowly making its way into the automotive world as automakers realize the benefits. Using their suppliers as part of the modular design process utilizes their specialized skills.

At Mayco International, we specialize in product design and manufacturing. Let us help you envision how modular design can work for your manufacturing needs.