Hyundai Motor Group on Monday announced a new investment plan worth 1.12 trillion won ($1 billion) as part of its efforts to elevate its competitiveness in next-generation automotive material development. The Korean auto giant, which owns the Hyundai and Kia brands, said it would build two factories that produce specialty steel and high-quality iron powder ― the two key materials used in vehicle engines and transmissions.
The latest investment plan, the carmaker said, comes as a growing number of global automotive companies are teaming up with auto parts manufacturers with an aim to secure their competitive edge in the market.
Hyundai Steel, the second-largest Korean steelmaker and a Hyundai affiliate, plans to complete the construction work of the specialty steel plant by September near its Dangjin steel mill in South Chungcheong Province. Its production is scheduled to start in the latter half of this year, with an annual output nearing 1 million tons.
“Korea Electro Technology Research Institute (KERI) will focus its study on the development of next-generation power grid, high voltage and direct current (HVDC) technology this year,” a top official of the institute said.
KERI has set the three topics (low carbon, high confidence and convergence) as its strategic direction. Kim Ho-yong, president of KERI, stated, “The institute will actively push for development of converged medical equipment technology, electricity propulsion, test certification of electric apparatus, and Nano-based electric new material technology in 2012.”
“In particular, we will actively cope with the recent trend of technology convergence, smart grids and High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology research and developments (R&Ds) through reform of research organization and propulsion for strategic tasks with relevant institutions.”
Kim said, “By doing so, we will research and develop a top-tier global technology in the fields where most universities and enterprises do not engage.”
Developing and advancing software and material technologies will lead the industry for the next few years and Korea along with China will be the vanguard of this innovation, according to Samsung Economic Research Institute.
The think tank chose top 10 promising technologies based on ingenuity and market potential, and noted that the software and material technologies are currently more relevant while technologies related to the manufacturing process were of the past.
“Software and material technologies are progressing prominently. As technologies such as cloud computing, Web standards, big data analysis saw rapid advancement, research and development on software is very actively being conducted, with 44 percent of the venture capital investment in the United States targeting the sector,” Lee Sung-ho, a research fellow at the institute, said in the report.
A Korean research team has developed technology that allows for waste metal scraps to be recyclced.
The Korea Institute of Materials Science (President: Cho Kyung-mox) said, on October 27, that a research team led by Dr. Ha Kook-hyun at its functional material research center had developed a superior ultralight powder – the size of whose particles is controlled to measure as little as 0.3 micron by applying ultralight alloy scrap.