KTH is an auto parts maker for Honda that specializes in metal stamping and welding operations. The company is one of the region’s largest employers and invested more than $3.7 million to develop a research center in late 2015 as auto makers faced higher fuel economy demands and crash test standards.
The research and design center has 19 employees who develop new ways to blend materials and new manufacturing processes. There are plans to add some additional employees by the end of the year.
“We wanted to separate ourselves from the like suppliers,” said Rob Hayes, senior vice president of engineering, quality and production at KTH.
Federal fuel efficiency requirements are pushing automakers to develop vehicles that can achieve 42 miles per gallon by 2020 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. The Trump administration has announced plans to re-examine those requirements, but KTH officials said automakers will likely continue to push for safer, more efficient vehicles regardless of the federal requirements.
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