2011 Automotive Engineering Exposition: Parts Suppliers (2)
Exhibits of technologies addressing fuel efficiency and environmental issues, cost reduction, riding
The following is an outline of the technology and parts exhibits by automotive parts suppliers at the 2011 Automotive Engineering Exposition addressing fuel efficiency and environmental issues, cost reduction, riding comfort and convenience in various areas ranging from transmissions to electric power steering and lighting equipment.
(See "2011 Automotive Engineering Exposition: Parts Suppliers (1)" posted on June 21, 2011 about exhibits related to EV/HEV and start-stop system technologies at the same exposition.)
Aisin AW exhibited the new CVT used on the new Vitz released in December 2010. JATCO exhibited the new 4-speed AT used on the Nissan March produced in China.
Toyota Industries Corporation exhibited resin-made panoramic roof available with the Toyota Prius α.
One of the emerging trends is the popular use of smartphones that act as or are linked to car navigation systems. Denso has developed an application called NaviCon that sends information from a smartphone to a car navigation system. Aisin AW has begun NAVIelite service where a smartphone itself is used as a car navigation system.
Koito Manufacturing exhibited a demonstration model of the "Adaptive driving beam headlamp" currently in development.
Compact gasoline-fueled engines
Schaeffler group exhibited GM's 1.4L Turbo Ecotec engine and Fiat's 1.4L FIRE engine, many components of which are supplied by the group.
GM's 1.4L Turbo Ecotec engine exhibited by Schaeffler group (continuously variable valve timing control system on both intake and exhaust sides)
Compact gasoline-fueled engines
|Opel 1.4L Turbo Ecotec||The four-cylinder 1369cc gasoline engine is used on the Opel Astra Sports Tourer released in Europe in November 2010. Schaeffler supplies the continuously variable valve timing control system for the intake and exhaust sides, valve-train systems, belt drive systems, etc. The engine combined with a 5-speed MT has 139g/km in CO2 emissions.|
|Ecotec stands for "Emission Control Optimization TEChnology", a generic term for GM's fuel-efficient, low emission gasoline and diesel engines.|
|Fiat FIRE engine||The four-cylinder 1368cc gasoline engine is based on Fiat's MultiAir technology. Schaeffler supplies MultiAir actuators (intake side), hydraulic tappets (exhaust side), dual-mass flywheels, clutches, etc. (FIRE is the engine's trade name).|
|Chrysler, partnered with Fiat, began producing FIRE engines in the United States in November 2010 and the engines are used on Fiat 500 produced in its plant in Mexico.|
Source: Displays and brochures at the Exposition, and the suppliers' announcements (for this and all other sections below)
Aisin AW exhibited the new CVT used on Toyota's new Vitz released in December 2010. JATCO exhibited the new 4-speed AT used on Nissan March produced in China. Both exhibits address improved fuel efficiency through an extended lockup range and other technologies.
ZF exhibited a Dual Clutch Transmission and rear wheel-drive 8-speed AT. The company also introduced a front wheel-drive 9-speed AT slated for volume production starting in 2013 (introduced on panels only).
The new CVT exhibited by Aisin AW (used on Toyota's new Ractis released in November and new Vitz released in December 2010)
The new 4-speed AT exhibited by JATCO (used on Nissan March produced in China)
Dual Clutch Transmission exhibited by ZF and supplied for Porsche Panamera
Clutches and dampers of the Dual Clutch Transmission for trucks supplied by Exedy to Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation
|Aisin AW||New CVT||The new CVT, used on the new Toyota Ractis released in November and the new Toyota Vitz released in December 2010, contributes to a 3.9% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the conventional CVT. Combined with the 1NR-FE 1300cc Dual VVT-i engine, the new CVT has achieved a 10･15 mode mileage of 24.0km/L on the new Vitz (2WD model) and 26.5km/L on the new Vitz having the newly-developed start-stop system (Toyota Stop & Start System).|
|The key to the improved fuel efficiency is the newly-developed torque converter that allows lockup immediately after starting (called "flex start control"). Also contributing are the enhanced thermal resistance and noise suppression.|
|Jatco||New 4-speed AT||The 4-speed AT designed for compact front wheel-drive vehicle was renovated for the first time in 21 years. The new AT is used on the new March produced by Nissan in China. All March models sold in Japan use the CVT but, JATCO says, Chinese people are yet unfamiliar with it.|
|JATCO changed the locations and combinations of parts and managed to reduce the parts count by 16%, the overall length by 11% and weight by 15%. The reduction gear previously submerged in the ATF (automatic transmission fluid) was moved upward to reduce the stirring resistance of ATF and the conventional lockup range was increased to reduce the transmission loss of the torque converter.|
|ZF Friedrichshafen||Dual Clutch Transmission||ZF exhibited the 7-speed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) used on the Porsche Panamera. This DCT is tailored to high-performance sports cars powered by a longitudinal engine. Porsche uses the DCT on the 911, Boxter and Cayman in addition to the Panamera.|
|According to ZF, the advantage of the DCT is that two sets of gears (odd- and even-numbered gears) can be engaged simultaneously. A shift process can be completed within a few hundredths of a second virtually without interruption of traction.|
|Front-wheel drive 9-speed AT||The world's first 9-speed AT for passenger cars (tailored to front-wheel drive passenger cars powered by a transverse engine). ZF is building an engine plant in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S. and will start producing the 9-speed AT, and the rear-wheel drive 8-speed AT, at the new plant in 2013 (introduced on panels only).|
|ZF says the 9-speed AT realizes unbelievably fast response and quick gearshifts, including double shifts and direct multiple gearshifts.|
|Chrysler has announced it will start using ZF's 9-speed AT in its cars in 2013. Chrysler will also adopt ZF's technology and produce the 9-speed AT at its Kokomo transmission plant in Indiana, U.S., starting in 2013.|
|Rear-wheel drive 8-speed AT||Adoptable from compact cars to full-sized high-end sedans and used on Audi A8/A6/A4/Q5, Bentley Mulsanne and BMW 7/5 Series and on X5/X6/X3/X1, Land Rover Range Rover, and Rolls-Royce Ghost (the Hybrid transmission based on the same 8-speed AT is used by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi).|
|Exedy||Clutch on DCT for trucks||The new Canter, a truck compliant with the P-NLT (post-new long term) regulations and released in November 2010 by Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation, is the world's first commercial vehicle with the DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) feature. The truck conventionally used AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) but the company switched to the DCT because of the torque slip-off phenomenon associated with the AMT. Exedy is the supplier of the clutches.|
|The use of wet clutches allows low-speed traveling (creeping) without pressing the accelerator pedal. The low friction of the wet clutches helps to meet the stringent requirement regarding durability and the clutch replacement is not necessary through the vehicle's life cycle.|
Electric power steering systems
JTEKT and NSK exhibited their latest power steering systems. The "hydraulic power steering with a motor-driven pump" exhibited by JTEKT has the motor integrated with the ECU in a compact, high-performance design. It also achieves energy saving through the standby mode (the motor is left idling at low speed) when it is not in operation.
Hydraulic power steering with a motor-driven pump exhibited by JTEKT (used on Nissan Elgrand and other models.; the old and the new pumps are displayed at the center for comparison purposes)
Compact, high-output pinion assist type electric power steering (used on the Fit for U.S. market) exhibited by NSK
Electric power steering systems
|JTEKT||Column-assist type C-EPS||The C-EPS is "friendly" to the motor as it is located in the vehicle interior (rather than in the engine compartment exposed to high temperatures). In comparison with the conventional product, the C-EPS on display has eliminated the column bracket to simplify the fitting method. The working current has been changed from 65A to 45A to reduce power consumption.|
|Pinion-assist type P-EPS||The motor is integrated with the controller to achieve a 15% mass reduction. The P-EPS has a strong assist force and is used mainly on vehicles powered by engines with 2000cc or larger piston displacement. It can be combined with a variable ratio type steering gear to deliver more power.|
|Hydraulic PS with a motor-driven pump H-EPS||The compact, high-performance H-EPS is designed to meet energy-saving needs. Its precise control improves the steering feel, while the standby control system (motor speed is kept low while it is not operating) achieves 70% energy saving over the ordinary hydraulic power steering. It is used on the Nissan Elgrand and other models.|
|NSK||Column-assist type EPS||In conventional electric power steering systems, the motor and the ECU that controls the motor are often located away from each other. This presents a number of problems such as a complicated harness routing and loss of electric power due to the wiring resistance of the harness.|
|NSK has developed a unique column-assist type EPS in which a compact motor is located near a similarly compact ECU. This has resulted in a high-efficiency and high-power EPS with an improved steering feel. The new column-assist type EPS is used on Toyota's Verso for European markets.|
|Pinion-assist type EPS||NSK exhibited the pinion-assist type EPS. The high-power brushless motor, compact in size and silent in operation, coupled with advanced motor control technology, delivers a stronger assist force along with an improved steering feel. Used on Honda's Fit for the U.S. market.|
Resin-made panoramic roof, textile folding roof
Toyota Industries exhibited the resin-made panoramic roof available on the Prius α released by Toyota in Japan in May 2011.
Magna Steyr exhibited the textile folding roof used on the Fiat 500 and the panoramic sliding roof used on Porsche 911 Targa.
Resin-made panoramic roof, available on the Prius α, exhibited by Toyota Industries
Textile folding roof, used on the Fiat 500, exhibited by Magna Steyr
Resin-made panoramic roof, textile roof
|Toyota Industries||Resin-made panoramic roof||Toyota Industries exhibited the resin-made panoramic roof used on the Toyota Prius α released in May 2011. The roof has the world's largest surface area for resin-made roofs (as of May 16, 2011). Toyota Industries has adopted two 3,000 ton-class large-sized two-color molding machines to produce the panoramic roof.|
|Mitsubishi Engineering Plastics has developed polycarbonate (PC) resin material which is supplied to Toyota Industries. The roof is approximately 8kg (40%) lighter than the glass roof of the same area (approx. 20kg). Its durability has been increased several times over the conventional product by means of an originally-developed hard coat which also contributes to thermal insulating properties.|
|The panoramic roof has a cloth-made electric roll shade that operates by switch. It also has an automatic shade-close function interlocked with the door-lock to prevent a temperature rise while the car is parked (only the roll shade opens and closes; the roof remains intact).|
|Partition for LFA, etc||The resin-made quarter window and partition (interior window between the luggage compartment and the cabin) used on the Lexus LFA were exhibited. Both are made of polycarbonate.|
|Magna Steyr||Roof on Fiat 500C||A soft-top with a large opening is used on the Fiat 500 C. Officially called the textile folding roof, the roof has a unique mechanism by which it folds up from the front edge to the position of the rear window while leaving B and C pillars intact. It only increases the vehicle weight by 40kg (to 1,020kg for the 1.2 8V POP model) from the original model. The company claims the roof is weather-resistant and free from deterioration due to aging.|
|Panoramic sliding roof||The movable glass-top roof used on one of the Porsche 911's open model Targa series lineup. The roof divides into the rooftop and the hatchback sections. The rooftop slides to open automatically along with the inner roller blind. The hatchback also swings automatically toward the rear.|
(Note) Magna Steyr is a leading manufacturer of roof systems that has produced and supplied soft tops, retractable hard tops, modular roofs and textile roofs for over 1.8 million vehicles since 1996. Among Japanese OEMs, Nissan uses Magna Steyr's soft tops on the 370Z Roadster and Murano Crosscabriolet.
Communication with smartphones, use of HUD and other images
A new trend is emerging where information is sent from the smartphone to the car navigation or using the smartphone as a car navigator.
Denso exhibited NaviCon, an application that sends a smartphone's positional information to the car navigator to set the destination accordingly.
Aisin AW has developed a car navigation application for iPhones and exhibited NAVIelite for using an iPhone as a car navigation unit.
Nippon Seiki demonstrated Space Vision i3 NS2011 concept that proposed the use of smartphones and an integration of HUD (head-up display), projected instrument panel display and other types of visual information, which will help increase visibility and operability while the driver is behind the wheel.
"Space Vision i3 NS2011 concept" exhibited by Nippon Seiki (HUD seen on the windshield, projected display in the instrument panel, and a smartphone screen at the lower right)
Use of the smartphone, HUD and other images
|Denso||NaviCon||Denso exhibited NaviCon, application software that connects an iPhone to Denso's car navigation unit which is a Toyota dealer option. Navigation service is available free of charge starting with the June 2010 shipments.|
|iPhone is connected to the car navigation via Bluetooth to remotely control the navigation map and set the destination from the iPhone. Destinations may be chosen directly from the map or indirectly from the addresses or bookmarks registered on the iPhone. The NaviCon also allows location searches using the Google search engine.|
|A new function was added in June 2011 after which bars and restaurants searched from "Gourmet Navigator" data are registered in the car navigation system via NaviCon and set as destinations. (The NaviCon itself does not have a navigation function.)|
|Aisin AW||NAVIelite||Aisin AW has developed an application called NAVIelite that allows iPhone to be used as a car navigation unit. The new service started in January 2011 under the concept of "wearable navigation" whereby the iPhone is used as one of the media.|
|What Aisin AW developed is an iPhone application called NAVIelite that has virtually all car navigation functions such as map displays, searches, researches and guiding. The application can be used with iPhone3GS and iPhone4 and the service is available for an annual fee of JPY3,800 (JPY2,800 for a simplified mini version).|
|The iPhone user will see nearly the same screens as from car navigation and locations will be identified using the same logic as car navigation, such as GPS and car speed pulses. The application will guide the user accurately to 30 meters from the destination and the map data are updated six times a year.|
|(Notes) 1.||According to Aisin AW, about 10% of those that buy new cars, especially luxurious cars, want a car navigation system installed before they leave the factory, and 90% of customers have such a system added at the dealership (NAVI･AI-SHIFT and other supports that communicate directly with the car are only available on navigation systems installed at the factory). Low-price car navigation systems are in a greater demand than the systems with advanced features.|
|2.||Toyota has developed "Smart G-BOOK" that allows the use of telematics service "G-BOOK" on ordinary smartphones. Until then, the service was available only on Toyota's genuine, originally installed navigation system. The service is now available, since December 2010, for G-BOOK or GAZOO members that use iPhone or Android-based smartphones, for a fixed fee of JPY900 (tax inclusive) for every six months. Those that own non-Toyota vehicles can also use the service after becoming a GAZOO member and registering as a Smart G-BOOK user.|
|Nippon Seiki||Space Vision i3 NS2011 Concept||Nippon Seiki exhibited a demonstration model and a panel describing "Space Vision i3 NS2011", a concept addressing enhancement of the driver's vision and operability and freedom of cockpit design by integrating the following three elements; (1) informative (2) intuitive and (3) interactive.|
|The first element "informative" (1) is achieved by heads-up display and internally projected instrument panel display; "intuitive" (2) by three-dimensionally designed touch sensor switches the driver can operate without moving eyes away from the road, and "interactive" (3) by a large-sized display to show the smartphone screen allowing the driver to operate the phone with the on-board switches and use the necessary applications in the car.|
Koito Manufacturing exhibited the second-generation triple-LED headlamp system used on the third-generation Prius, Lexus CT200h, etc., and reportedly plans to introduce third-generation headlamp consisting of two LEDs in the near future. The company also exhibited a demonstration model of the next-generation adaptive driving beam headlamp system.
Demonstration model of the next-generation adaptive driving beam headlamp exhibited by Koito Manufacturing
|Koito Manufacturing||Second-generation LED headlamp||A second-generation headlamp with three LEDs on each side, used on the third-generation Toyota Prius, Lexus CT200h, etc. (the world-first, first-generation LED headlamp used on Lexus LS600h in 2007 had five LEDs).|
|Koito plans to commercialize a next-generation LED headlamp in the near future that is characterized by performance enhancement and two LEDs. The company is eyeing a single-LED headlamp in the long run.|
|Next-generation adaptive driving beam headlamp (under development)||The basic concept is to maintain high beams as much as possible for better vision and automatically control the flux distribution by identifying other cars ahead and cars in the opposite lane with the frontal monitoring camera. This ensures best frontal vision for the driver without dazzling other cars.|
|Koito intends to develop a headlamp system having several modes including (1) ordinary low beams, (2) low beams for high-speed driving with more distant lighting, (3) ordinary high beams, and (4) high beams split in two parts (right, left) where the left side light is suppressed when other cars are running ahead and the right side light is suppressed when other cars are approaching in the opposite lane (in left-hand traffic).|
Other exhibits addressing riding comfort, operability, environments, etc.
Regarding technologies and parts intended to increase riding comfort and operability, Denso exhibited a remote touch controller and Calsonic Kansei exhibited a high-function cabin air filter being developed. Advics exhibited newly-developed disc brakes while NTN exhibited a steer-by-wire system concept.
NTN's steer-by-wire system
Technologies addressing improved riding comfort and operability
|Denso||Remote touch controller||A small controller located on the center console is used like a digital mouse to click a desired item in the navigation screen and control car navigation, audio and air conditioning. The driver will feel a moderate reactive force in the fingertip and can continue driving safely with the least change in the line of sight or focal point. Used on the Lexus RX 450h/RX350 released by Toyota in January 2009.|
|Calsonic Kansei||High-function cabin air filter||The new air filter being developed has an antiviral property (functional material is coated on the filter surface to fight various types of viruses). This is in addition to the dust collection (airborne dust, dirt) by conventional filters and pollen trapping (microscopic pollen is statically trapped by a charged filter).|
|Advics||Newly-developed disc brake system||The newly-developed disc brake for lightweight RWD sports cars, exhibited for the first time in Japan, has aluminum calipers (pads that press friction materials against both sides of the disc) that are integrally cast (mono-block construction) to increase rigidity. The system uses brake discs of high heat dissipation capacity and fade-resisting friction material preferred for sports driving.|
|NTN||Steer-by-wire system||NTN is proposing an SBW steering system of high functionality (steering stability and fuel efficiency) and a fail-safe feature. A small sub-motor takes on instantaneously (within 0.1 second) should the main motor fail. NTN plans to develop and propose various modules for the EV-dominant age and the SBW is an early step toward that goal.|
As for parts and technologies addressing downsizing and cost reduction, Aisin Seiki exhibited a rearview camera with a parking assist function while Calsonic Kansei exhibited an instrument panel that eliminates the coating process to save on costs.
Cost reducing instrument panel by Calsonic Kansei
Technologies addressing cost reduction
|Aisin Seiki||Rearview camera with parking assist function (new development)||The existing system uses a "CCD camera + ECU" combination but the new one integrates a CMOS camera and a graphic ECU resulting in a super-compact, low-cost system. The camera and the chip are housed in a 2.3 to 2.5cm near-cubic form. Unlike the old system that required a special display, the new one is compatible with an ordinary NTSC (television signal)-formatted display. Exhibited for the first time in Japan and to be used on vehicles starting in 2012.|
|The parking assist provides vehicle width line extensions and expected backup travel lines in the rearview image to assist the driver.|
|Calsonic||Instrument panel cost reduction||Calsonic Kansei intends to reduce costs by eliminating the coating process in making instrument cluster panels (coating is a separate process performed after the piece is removed from the mold and requires additional cost). The primary purpose of coating is to conceal resin weld lines and minimize lusters so the panels are not reflected on the window glass.|
|To tackle the contradicting issues, the company resorted to (1) flow analysis to predict welds and adjust the molding to make them least conspicuous if unavoidable, and (2) adding micro-grain patterns to the final process of resin molding so as to eliminate lusters otherwise caused by irregular reflection. The new technique has been adopted in volume production of instrument panels for compact cars where cost reduction is a key theme.|
Denso has developed spark plugs intended for use in regulatory-compliant ion current misfire detection systems. The company has also developed a radiator tank made from plant-derived resin as part of its environmental commitment. The tank is used primarily in vehicles in cold areas where it has a competitive edge in terms of costs.
Environmental and regulatory-compliant technologies
|Denso||Spark plugs for ion current misfire detection systems||Engine misfire detection by OBD (On-Board Diagnosis) is part of the regulations regarding emissions. It has been mandatory in Europe and the United States, and it has become mandatory in Japan as well since 2010.|
|Ion current misfire is normally detected by the engine RPM fluctuation method (see Note 1), but this method does not apply to engines having ten or more cylinders. Denso has developed spark plugs compatible with the ion current detection system (combustion ions in the flame are trapped at the electrode and detected as ion current), which is a misfire detection method for engines with ten or more cylinders.|
|(Notes) 1.||In the engine RPM fluctuation method, the engine rotation is measured constantly by a crank angle sensor and a misfire is determined indirectly based on the amount of time change of the detection pattern. This method does not provide reliable results with engines having ten or more cylinders since the torque fluctuation is very small when a cylinder fails.|
|2.||Toyota vehicles with engines having ten or more cylinders are the Century (12 cylinders) and Lexus LFA (10 cylinders).|
|Denso||Radiator tanks made from plant-derived resin||Denso has developed a radiator tank made from plant-derived resin mainly containing an organic compound extracted from the castor-oil plant in joint development with DuPont. This process contributes to suppressing an increase in the amount of CO2 in air.|
|The process also contributes to cost reduction in cold areas where salt is scattered to prevent roads from freezing. Since the salt contains a large amount of calcium chloride, the radiator must be made to withstand it at additional cost. The newly-developed radiator tank is highly resistant against calcium chloride and costs less compared to conventional tanks made for cold areas. Hence, the new tank is used on vehicles designed for cold areas and those made per global specifications including cold areas.|