Today and tomorrow SEAT is holding the second edition of Innovation Day, an inspirational event focused on identifying and encouraging the spirit of innovation among the company’s own employees. Through a hybrid format, which combines online and in-person activities and sessions, the company has unveiled some of the ideas, visions and projects that could chart the future of the automotive industry.
Car parts made from gas and rice to achieve vehicles with less plastic and more sustainability; virtual reality and immersive reality applications to reduce times and optimise car design and manufacturing processes; and a highly realistic image simulation programme developed in-house are some of the projects that participants at Innovation Day have been able to see.
The event is organised in three parts. The first is an online and in-person summit, with up to 50 projects, where workers have been able to learn about the main innovative projects that have emerged over the last year and interact with their creators. The second part is made up of talks on innovation led by experts on topics such as artificial intelligence, innovation in times of crisis, or innovation for the younger generation, among others. Finally, five working groups have applied innovative methodologies to try to solve corporate challenges related, for example, to new mobility options, the connected car or the customer experience.
SEAT Vice-president for Human Resources Xavier Ros stated that “innovation is a catalyst for SEAT in two ways: on the one hand, it enables us to evolve toward processes in the short term and to implement more efficient ways of working which translate into value and that have an impact on the company’s results. On the other hand, it enables us to create new products, services and ways of doing things that can become differentiating factors for our business tomorrow.”
Ku-Fizz and Oryzite: sustainable innovation
One of the most outstanding innovations presented by SEAT during the event is Ku-Fizz, a physical foam filling technology that reduces the weight of plastic parts, improving current technologies. It consists of injecting gas between the layers of some of the vehicle’s parts, which then turns into foam. In this way, less plastic and injection material is used, lightening the weight of these parts and at the same time reducing the carbon footprint, production times and costs.
Oryzite, on the other hand, is an innovation pilot project based on the circular economy that researches the use of rice husks to replace plastic products, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint. More than 700 million tonnes of rice are harvested worldwide each year. Twenty per cent of this is rice husks, some 140 million tonnes which are largely discarded. This new raw material is being tested in the linings of the SEAT Leon. The tests consist in modelling some parts of the car, such as the rear hatch lining, the double load floor of the boot or the ceiling headliner with rice husks mixed with polyurethanes and polypropylenes. At first glance they do not differ in any way from those made with conventional technology, but they actually weigh much less.
Data Driven I+D: real-time innovation
Data Driven I+D is a custom-made software and applications project that enables to integrate all the data generated in the R&D area to work on them in real time, thanks to the online information generated. Thus, this technology facilitates faster decision making based on real data, which improves process efficiency.
It involves a new way of working that uses the benefits of cloud computing to achieve adaptive operability, based on a system of live alerts and notifications. This model can be applied to any project or area requiring technical information: Business Analytics, Data Governance, App Factory, Business Performance, Organisation and Culture Transformation.
AVASim Tool: virtual reality for parts assembly
AVASim Tool is a very simple to use virtual reality assembly simulator, which is used in the design phase of car prototypes and which makes it possible to detect difficulties in the assembly of certain parts. Thus, it shows whether collision points occur, and responds to the forces of action and reaction in a tactile manner. It enables information from the collisions to be exported to a report, with the aim of analysing problems in parts assembly at an early stage so that they can be resolved before physical construction.
Moonkey and CUPRA, creations made reality
Moonkey is a design program that enables simulating images with a level of realism never seen before. It is capable of automating the creation of Computer Graphics video and images using software developed by a team of SEAT coders and designers.
This powerful, state-of-the-art 3D creation platform has one of the industry’s best graphics engines and supports real-time and offline channelling. Moonkey was recently used by the company when it announced that the 100% electric el-Born model will be launched under the CUPRA brand, with a video that was made entirely with this technology. In addition, it offers a wide range of scenes, geometries and material libraries that enable the brand’s models to be automatically positioned and animated in a wide variety of environments in just a few minutes.
At the same time, visitors to Innovation Day were also able to learn first-hand about some of the latest features applied to the CUPRA brand’s vehicles and concepts: display screens that can be oriented to the driver and passenger, as well as customised content for each one; individual speakers and connectivity; and leather seats that use 3D perforations in the interior to give a more sculptural character to the design, among others.
Innovation all year round with SEAT INNOVA
Innovation Day was also the forum to launch SEAT INNOVA, a networking and inspiration platform that connects workers from different areas and reviews past projects, while enabling participation in challenges, workshops and talks concerning all areas of the company.