Corey Brown serves as the current Director of R&D, Air and Cooling and Filtration BU, North America, Sogefi Group, facilitating the development of advanced automotive components through continual innovation. Having started his journey at Sogefi as an enthusiastic product engineer over a decade ago, transitioning into a dual role as test lab manager and VAVE engineer. In 2020, Brown was promoted to Director of R&D to accelerate Sogefi’s electrification growth as well as continue to serve their internal combustion customers. Brown draws on his technical expertise to design intake manifolds, cam covers, air cleaners, and turbo ducts. His efforts and industry knowledge have been instrumental in positioning Sogefi as a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of technical under hood components. With Brown at the helm, Sogefi is delivering on its commitment to designing, developing, and manufacturing high-quality products through its air and cooling, filtration, and suspensions divisions.

In an interview with the Manufacturing Outlook magazine, Brown sheds light on some of the current challenges prevailing in the global auto manufacturing industry and how companies can convert those challenges into unique opportunities.

What, according to you, are some of the challenges that the auto manufacturing sector faces today?

One of the biggest challenges the global automotive manufacturing industry faces today is the unexpected surge in the cost of raw materials. The price of commonly used raw materials, such as nylons and polypropylene, has skyrocketed. This spells trouble for auto manufacturers, who are already struggling to keep costs down in the face of supply chain disruptions. Another major challenge weighing down the automotive industry is the shortage of raw materials, such as Nylon 6 and 66 resins. 

What are some of the key trends disrupting the auto manufacturing sector today?

Vehicle electrification is gaining momentum, transforming the mobility industry and presenting major opportunities in all vehicle segments. Companies are embracing this trend with full gusto to stay ahead of the competition. Sogefi made the leap to electrification development a few years ago to keep pace with the momentum behind clean, electric, connected mobility.

"One of the biggest challenges the global automotive manufacturing industry faces today is the unexpected surge in the cost of raw materials."

Historically, we have been producing several critical parts for the internal combustion engine which include but not limited to air intake manifolds, cam covers, turbo ducts, transmission oil pans, mechanical water pumps, and thermostats. We are leveraging the technical competencies in injection molding developed over the past 25 years to create value-added products for hybrid EVs or BEVs.

Could you please walk us through some of the latest projects you have been working on?

At Sogefi, we have several technical developments in the pipeline, including integrated cooling modules consisting of electric water pumps, electric ball valves, and temperature and pressure sensors. By leveraging the latest technologies, we are incorporating several components and consolidating them into a convenient little package. This way, it helps reduce the module's weight and makes room for components that demand larger space to function. Sogefi also offers three unique battery cold plate technologies to optimize the thermal management of the battery pack.

How do you envision the future of the auto manufacturing industry?

With a focus on sustainability, the automotive industry is at the tipping point of transformation, driven by electric vehicles, connected cars, new business models, and always-on connectedness. 

 Here I would like to emphasize that thermal management is key when developing a well-balanced cooling system for today's electric cars. It enables batteries to run efficiently and extends battery life. By preventing overheating of batteries, a thermal management system can reduce the chances of thermal runaway, explosions, and the release of toxic gases.

Along with our air and cooling division, our suspensions division is gaining major traction. By producing stabilizer bars for several different electric vehicle OEMs, we have a clear advantage over our competitors.

Sogefi's history as a leader in engine cooling, filtration and vehicle suspension components is a testament to its commitment to innovation and excellence. Bringing value from its operations to all stakeholders has always been Sogefi's top priority, and we believe we have been able to accomplish our goal. The Sogefi team is keen on learning about new opportunities and networking, and we are planning to expand even further on electrification components.