TI Fluid Systems plc is evolving to accommodate the ever-expanding market for electric vehicles. The Oxford, England-based automotive supplier is opening what it calls "E-Mobility Innovation Centers" worldwide.
The facilities will be similar to one it opened in April 2022 at its global engineering center in Rastatt, Germany. The company will reconfigure its U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., to open one center there, and plans to complete three more operations next year, one each in China, Japan and South Korea.
The company recently renewed the lease on the Auburn Hills site and hopes to begin construction this month to expand and modernize the corporate offices and build the new center. The project will add about 48,000 square feet to the existing structure, expanding it to 192,000 square feet.
In turn, TIFS plans to close its nearby tech center and transfer those resources to the expanded headquarters building. The company expects to complete construction by the first quarter of 2024, a TIFS representative told Plastics News.
The new Auburn Hills center, TIFS said in a March 14 news release, will unite "six core competencies — virtual engineering, design, processing, prototyping, product testing and vehicle testing — under one roof … harnessing the power of digitalization" to make components for electric vehicles.
By 2035, EVs will make up about half of new car sales worldwide, rising from about 2 percent in 2020, according to a recent Goldman Sachs Research report.
The new TIFS facility will have 30 EV charging stations, three vehicle lifts and one injection molding machine: an 85-ton Shibaura press. The company will injection mold some fully functioning parts, and rely heavily on 3D printing to produce prototype components.
"The advancement in 3D printed tools for the injection molding process will expedite the development process for fully functional prototypes," the representative said.
TIFS makes delivery systems and tanks for a variety of automotive fluids and fuel. The company has manufacturing facilities in 104 locations in 29 countries and employs 25,600.