Detroit — Varroc Lighting Systems has a promising new automotive headlamp technology, and a growing customers base.
If it only had more engineers, it could also win more business.
"We could have more business if we had enough engineers," Rainer Neumann, Varroc's vice president of global technology, said April 11 at the SAE International WCX World Congress Experience here.
Varroc has roughly 900 engineers worldwide, Neumann said, and the company's global engineering footprint includes locations in Poland, Czech Republic, India, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.
But to do what it wants, as its products become more intricate and advanced, it needs another 200 engineers, Neumann estimated.
"We have more variants of cars, and that means more headlamps," he said. "But we need more people from the engineering side for headlamps because it's a more complex solution. And this number of engineers, we do not have.
"This is the most challenging aspect."
Engineering shortages are plaguing suppliers and automakers around the world. The situation is particularly tough as the industry develops vehicles and components with electrified architecture and autonomous driving capabilities.
Varroc, originally an Indian manufacturer, went global in 2012 when it acquired the lighting business of Visteon Corp. It is now headquartered near Detroit in Plymouth, Mich.
Speaking to an SAE audience, Varroc discussed a new lighting approach it is now marketing called laser booster technology. The system uses a blue laser diode that is converted into an intense white light. The result is a high-intensity beam that allows a driver to see longer distances.
It can be found in high-end vehicles such as a Range Rover. Varroc also is developing a tail lamp that projects an image onto the ground when reversing out of a parking spot. Neumann called it "one of the most promising" features Varroc has coming.
But it needs more engineers, he said.
The supplier's European engineering base is in the Czech Republic, but it also has opened an engineering facility in Krakow, Poland, a town with a large population of students that is close to the Czech Republic.
Last month, Neumann gave a presentation at a job fair in Krakow to about 2,000 students and young people.
"We are heavily searching for people like that," Neumann told Automotive News.
The company is making contacts at universities known for engineering and technical programs across the globe in hopes of hiring students. In addition to needing more engineers for product development, Neumann said Varroc also wants more engineers to make it possible to expand its global manufacturing footprint.