Is there a 3D printer in your future? It’s really no longer a question of if, but when. That’s because now, after more than three decades, the technology known officially as “additive manufacturing” is finally maturing and mainstreaming—and transforming modern manufacturing in the process.
Mining OEM CAD Files Through SEMA’s Tech Transfer Program
Among SEMA’s many member services is its Tech Transfer program, designed to help product developers and manufacturers design and create quality components and items for vehicles from original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) data files. The program traces its roots back to 1999, when Ford first provided vehicle blueprints to SEMA to share with association members. Now housed in the new SEMA Garage—Industry Innovations Center, the Tech Transfer program has grown to encompass a wide-ranging digital catalog of CAD files from Ford, GM, Scion and Chrysler (including Fiat, Jeep and RAM). While simple in concept, accessing the program may at first appear a little daunting for first-timers. To help explain its ins and outs, SEMA News sat down for a Q&A with Gary Pis, SEMA vehicle data product manager, who coordinates the program.
Legacy Stylings Meet New Technologies
The automotive aftermarket owes quite a bit to hot rodders. While, technically, the industry existed prior to the street scene of the ’50s, it was hot rodders who sparked the explosion of innovative performance and appearance products that now characterize the heart and soul of the automotive specialty-equipment market. They made tinkering with, modifying and personalizing cars cool, catapulting the industry into the $33-billion powerhouse it is today. And although the industry has since grown and broadened to encompass a dizzying array of products and trends in countless categories, hot rodding has hardly faded from the scene.
The May issue of SEMA News magazine doubles as the annual SEMA Membership Directory, and SEMA encourages you to keep this copy on your desk throughout the year to use as your reference tool in locating SEMA-member companies.
The membership directory is also available online. The online membership directory is continually updated to include new SEMA members. In addition, the online version of the membership directory lists members’ staff personnel, and you can contact them via e-mail through your MySEMA account.
Over the past 52 years, SEMA has developed a track record of assisting members in a variety of areas related to industry and business development. The mission of “helping members’ businesses succeed and prosper” is steeped in history and first grew out of a need for consistency and community among racing industry members.
In the early years, as the industry grew, specifications remained a challenge. It became clear that a partnership was needed for manufacturers. Regulations were necessary in order to keep moving forward, but the manufacturers needed to organize. Discussions began on how to create specifications and legitimize products and, on March 26, 1963, the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) was formed in response.
The Truck’n America Family Goes the Extra Mile to Service Clients
Truck’n America—headquartered in a 10,000-sq.-ft. facility in Waldorf, Maryland, with 25 employees and six locations in the Maryland and Virginia area—has been a family-run business for more than 40 years. The team is currently led by Chuck Morrison IV and his brother Dan.
Morrison’s father and grandfather were from Indiana, which was considered “truck-cap central” at the time. They brought truck caps down to Maryland and sold them out of a crab shack they rented in Waldorf.
Compass Points for Specialty-Equipment Companies
Business trends reveal themselves in a host of incarnations, and we seek each year to ferret out those that pertain to the automotive specialty-equipment aftermarket. The SEMA Show, new-vehicle sales, educational tendencies and other indicators may reveal significant industry developments—or at least give savvy professionals some compass points to steer by. We hope that the following areas of interest help with the navigation.
Market Forces and Technology May Change the Shape of the Industry
The wheel and tire market has improved over the past year, according to a widely held consensus among professionals in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. New offerings, technology and an improving economy bode well for sales in 2015, but there are also impediments that may deflate some of the optimism.
New products shape the automotive specialty-equipment industry, and companies that get their innovations to market earliest have the best chance for success. Millions of dollars are spent each year to research, design, develop and produce prototypes that are eventually honed into the finished parts that reach consumers’ vehicles. Until recently, that process has been time consuming and expensive—especially for smaller manufacturers that don’t have huge budgets. But technology is changing the R&D process.
Jotech Motorsports’ Formula for Success: Love What You Do and See Projects Through
Jotech Motorsports, located in a 14,000-sq.-ft. facility in an industrial complex three miles off I-635 in Garland, Texas, has been in business for 20 years. The company started in a small, 800-sq.-ft. shop averaging $30,000 in monthly sales of Honda and Acura products. It has since grown to a $150,000–$300,000-per-month business with seven employees.