CEO Challenge - Miguel Pinto, General Manager KATHREIN Automotive Portugal

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Being part of a very dynamic industry that is the automotive industry, which is growing and simultaneously suffering a disruptive environment with Industry 4.0 and digitalization, Kathrein Automotive is catching the big wave by growing substantially since 2010 and achieving its goal of becoming the biggest automotive antenna supplier in the world by 2021.

In Portugal, Kathrein Automotive employs currently more than 400 people in Vila Real, exporting 100% of its production to Europe, the United States, Mexico and Asia. Its product range focuses on automotive antennas for all global standards including the development of the latest electronic components for LTE signal processing. At this moment, for the years 2018/2019 one of the main goals, besides maintaining the actual growing of 22 million antennas per year in 2021 (in 2010 we were producing 7 million antennas per year), it is to bring the product development to Vila Real with the creation of a R&D Department.

The company is investing in the digitalization of the factory shop floor through the implementation of MES tool, and the installation of sensors in machines, production cells, logistic trains, exchanging information among themselves, automatically and autonomously, making production decisions, cost, machine anomaly alert and processes deviations through AI (“Artificial Intelligence”) algorithms. This will enable the optimization of processes and products through the creation of a virtual factory based on the data generated by the real factory, driving towards Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is not just a trend, but a (r)evolution. A (r)evolution of the industrial production systems, ensuring benefits such as increased safety and product quality, and improved process efficiency, but also a (r)evolution in the way of “savoir faire” and industrial mindset. However, for the solutions to be effective in our companies, it will be necessary to define standards, which guarantee the interoperability of the machines, the massive collection of data (Big Data) and its treatment in real time.

We take this strategy really seriously, and our top management together with our team of digital transformation and business intelligence will bring Kathrein Automotive at the forefront of this fourth industrial revolution, which is based on the digitalization, sensorization and automation of the economy.

This new era will be supported, in turn, with the technological advancements of high performance and efficient antenna systems that will be the key element for implementing innovative communication technology in the vehicle in the coming years. The introduction of autonomous driving in our daily lives will greatly accelerate the increase of built-in antennas in vehicles, as well as the adoption and development of new communication technologies such as DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communication) and C2X (Car to Everything).

Summarizing in one sentence the car of the future: "A computer in shape and size of an automobile and in which a significant percentage of peripherals will be antennas".

We already decided that we will be part of it!

Miguel Pinto, General Manager KATHREIN Automotive Portugal