JSAE Automotive Engineering Exposition 2012: parts suppliers (2)

Technologies for weight reduction, fuel efficiency and safety



 Reported below is an outline of technologies addressing efficiency of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines (ICE), size and weight reduction, fuel efficiency, riding comfort, safety and car navigation, exhibited by automotive parts suppliers at the JSAE Automotive Engineering Exposition 2012 held at Pacifico Yokohama on May 23-25.

 Powertrains and devices addressing improved efficiency of ICE-powered vehicles included an Intermediate locking variable valve timing (VVT) device, exhibited by Aisin Seiki, with the expanded valve timing control range, a fourth-generation common rail system, exhibited by Denso, with the maximum injection pressure of 300MPa, and a nine-speed automatic transmission for transverse-mounted engines exhibited by ZF.

 Among technologies contributing to size and weight reduction were Denso's thin condenser and Asahi Kasei's plastic oil pan (prototype). Aisin Seiki exhibited front grille shutter that improves fuel efficiency.

 Safety, comfort and convenience were other themes of technologies at the Exposition. FPS introduced an automotive application of speakers that generate planar wave rather than spherical wave as in conventional speakers.

 Aisin AW, Denso and Clarion exhibited car navigation systems that coordinate with smartphones.

Related report: JSAE Automotive Engineering Exposition 2012: parts suppliers (1) (June 2011)

Technologies addressing improved efficiency of ICE-powered vehicles

Aisin Seiki's intermediate locking variable valve timing control device
Aisin Seiki's intermediate locking variable valve timing control device
(conventional VVT in upper right, the new intermediate locking VVT in lower right) (to enlarge)

Six-speed MT used on Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ
Six-speed MT used on Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ (exhibited by Aisin AI) (to enlarge)

Nine-speed AT for transverse-mounted engines exhibited by ZF
Nine-speed AT for transverse-mounted engines exhibited by ZF (to enlarge)

Fourth-generation common-rail system being developed by Denso
Fourth-generation common-rail system being developed by Denso


Technologies addressing improved efficiency of ICE-powered vehicles

AISIN SEIKI Intermediate
Locking Variable
Valve Timing
 Aisin Seiki exhibited an intermediate locking VVT. The use of a thin vane system realizes a compact-size device, same as Aisin's conventional VVT, and yet a larger rotational transform angle of 65-degree crank angle.
 Conventional hydraulic VVT generally locks at the most lagged position of rotational transform angle. The new system, thanks to improved locking mechanism, can lock and unlock at intermediate position.
 The new VVT system, through these improvements, contributes to (1) accurate engine starting and reducing HC right after the engine starts, and (2) better fuel efficiency owing to Miller Cycle combustion, through use of lagged position of VVT, which was not possible in conventional VVT systems.
AISIN AI 6-speed Manual
 Six-speed manual transmission, used on Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, requires less shifting force and delivers agile shifting feel expected of sports cars.
ZF 9-speed Automatic
For FWD vehicles
 The world's first nine-speed automatic transmission for transverse-mounted engines for passenger cars is to be produced starting in 2013 in the new plant being constructed in South Carolina, U.S. With a 9.8 gear ratio range, the AT achieves a maximum 16 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, compared to conventional six-speed AT, while delivering a pleasant riding sensation.
 Fast response and short shift times. Optimal gear can be selected according to each driving situation, such as rapid acceleration and high-speed driving. Direct multiple gearshifts (more than two gear shifts at a time) are possible.

(Note) ZF already has eight-speed AT for rear-wheel drive vehicles primarily on up-market models. According to ZF, the exhibited nine-speed AT is designed for transverse-mounted engines primarily on front-wheel drive models and can be adapted for a broader range of vehicles. Chrysler has announced the company will use ZF's nine-speed AT on its cars (on Dodge Dart starting in MY2013).

DENSO 4th Gen. Common-rail
Loop Injection
Control System
 Denso's fourth-generation common rail system has a 250 to 300MPa super-high fuel pressure system and is being developed toward the best atomization for combustion. The fuel injection pressure is raised to up to 250MPa on passenger cars to keep the exhaust gas clean, and to the world's highest fuel pressure of 300MPa on heavy-duty trucks to reduce the particulate matter.
 The system uses the world's first closed-loop injection control system. Injectors contain a pressure sensor that feeds the injection ratio back to the associated injector. This contributes to increased fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions.
 Denso plans to use solenoid type injectors. The company does not plan to use NOx after-treatment devices as the system will realize ideal combustion.
SUMITOMO CHEMICAL Diesel Particulate
 Sumitomo Chemical has developed aluminum titanate of superb heat resistance and durability, and developed a diesel particulate filter using the titanate material. According to the company, the filter is characterized by "high soot mass limit" and "low pressure loss."

Source: Displays and printed materials distributed at the JSAE Automotive Engineering Exhibition 2012 (for this and all other sections below)


Column-assist type and dual pinion type EPS

Column-assist type EPS
Column-assist type EPS (used on Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ)

Dual pinion type EPS
Dual pinion type EPS (used on Daimler A/B-class models)

Column-assist type and dual pinion type electric power steering (EPS)

JTEKT Column-assist EPS  The column-assist EPS, used on Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, is chosen by car manufacturers as it lowers the mounting position of the steering gear (for steering the wheels) and contributes to lowering the vehicle's center of gravity (the EPS assist device does not need to be engaged with the steering gear that steers the wheels).
Assist EPS
 Pinions are located at two places along the rack (a steering input pinion and an assist mechanism comprising a pinion, motor and ECU). Separating the steering shaft and the assist mechanism makes the EPS mounting easier and increases the freedom of layout. The dual-pinion assist EPS has increased output by 20 percent compared to the company's conventional pinion-assist EPS. Volume production is under way for use on Daimler's A- and B-class vehicles.
H-EPS  The power steering system uses an electric pump to generate hydraulic pressure. It gives the powerful feel of the conventional hydraulic power steering while contributing to increased fuel efficiency by controlling the motor rpm during high-speed cruising and non-steering drive. The H-EPS is used on Mazda Axela.



Technologies addressing size and weight reduction

Lightweight, thin condenser for air conditioners, foreground, with conventional condenser, background
Lightweight, thin condenser for air conditioners, foreground, with conventional condenser, background
(exhibited by Denso)

RFM-formed cooling pipe
RFM-formed cooling pipe (exhibited by Asahi Kasei and RP Topla)

Plastic oil pan
Plastic oil pan (prototype, exhibited by Asahi Kasei)

CFRP seat frame with a potential 40% weight reduction
CFRP seat frame with a potential 40% weight reduction (exhibited by NHK Spring)

Low-friction, lightweight hub unit
Low-friction, lightweight hub unit (exhibited by JTEKT)

Technologies proposing size and weight reduction

DENSO Lightweight and
Thin Condenser
 Denso has developed a new type of condenser, Global Inner-fin Condenser, by fully redesigning its conventional condensers to achieve substantial size reduction. The density of the inner fins was raised to increase the heat transfer area and the louver shape in the fins was made finer to increase the heat removal performance. As a result, the product width was reduced from 16mm to 11mm. The new condenser is used in the air conditioner on the new Toyota Corolla launched in May 2012 in Japan.
 The new condenser was also developed with overseas procurement of materials in mind. The reduced width offers carmakers greater design flexibility under the hood which, in turn, will contribute to parts sharing across models being pursued by Toyota.
Asahi KASEI/
RP Topla
(RP Topla Floating
Core Molding)
 RFM (RP Topla Floating Core Molding) refers to a method in which a ball-shaped floating core is pushed by gas through passage to replace molten resin with a hollow that will make pipe. This increases design flexibility and can reduce weight by 60 percent compared to products made of metal. RFM is often used by European carmakers and Toyota uses it in its cars designed for European markets. The resin is supplied by Asahi Kasei Chemicals.
Asahi KASEI Plastic Oil Pan
 The plastic oil pan being developed is made by the company's original CAE technology. It has already passed engine durability and other test conditions. An oil pan made of metal weighs 3.1kg but the plastic oil pan of the same size on display weighs only 1.2kg.
NHK Spring Shot peening for
hollow stabilizers
 Compared to solid stabilizers, 30 percent has been the best weight reduction achievable with conventional hollow stabilizers. The shot-peened hollow stabilizer developed by NHK Spring is said to achieve 53 percent weight reduction. (Shot peening is a process in which tiny steel balls are projected to impact a surface with force and drastically increase fatigue strength of the material. It has the similar effect as hammering.)
 Shot peening is applied at two inner bends of the stabilizer to obtain the same rigidity, normally available from a solid stabilizer weighing 5.07kg, using a hollow material that weighs 2.40kg (53 percent weight reduction).
CFRP Seat Frame  CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) is used at the side frame and lower panel of the seat frame to reduce weight by 40 percent and increase rigidity by 45 percent from conventional product. NHK Spring exhibited the seat frame only as a concept.
JTEKT Low friction/
Light Weight
Hub Unit
 The low-friction, lightweight hub unit, used on Daihatsu Mira e:S (for driven wheels), contributes to reducing the total weight (wheel, drum rotor and bearing) to 640g/car and reducing total friction of rolling loss and seal sliding resistance by 55 percent.
Compact &
 The compact, lightweight driveshaft, used on Daihatsu Mira e:S, has been developed by optimal shape design based on analytical techniques addressing smaller and more lightweight components. The exhibited driveshaft represents 4 percent reduction in outer diameter and 200g (8 percent) reduction in mass.


New approaches toward higher fuel efficiency

Front grille shutter contributing to improved fuel efficiency
Front grille shutter contributing to improved fuel efficiency (exhibited by Aisin Seiki)

Low-friction chain lever & guide
Low-friction chain lever & guide (exhibited by NTN) (to enlarge)


New approaches toward higher fuel efficiency
AISIN SEIKI Front Grille Shutter  The shutter fitted to the front bumper closes to warm up the engine when the engine coolant temperature is low, or to reduce air drag when running at high speed, to improve fuel efficiency. The shutter closes or opens according to the coolant temperature or vehicle speed. The front grille shutter is used on the new Lexus GS450h for Japan and European markets.
NTN Low Friction
Chain Lever & Guide
 Unlike the conventional timing chain that slides along a resin-made guide (a support plate), the new chain runs along bearings to convert sliding resistance to rolling resistance. As a result, it reduces the friction by 50 percent maximum, 22 percent on average, along with an approximately 1 percent increase in fuel efficiency of the vehicle (reference exhibit).



Preventive safety equipment by Denso, Aisin Seiki and GENTEX


Technologies addressing improved preventive safety

DENSO Driver Status
 The image of the driver's face taken by a camera fitted to the steering wheel is analyzed by image recognition technology to detect or estimate the driver's physical condition (the direction of the face, eyes blinking, drowsiness, head position, etc.). The system warns or alerts the driver as needed when the driver is inattentive, drowsy, or closing his/her eyes.
AISIN SEIKI Rear Obstacle
 The system uses a stereo camera to detect the position of an obstacle, its identity (car, human being, child, bicycle, etc.) and its motion, and alerts the driver if necessary to avoid a collision or other accidents.
Vehicle Surrounding
 The monitor displays the top view of the vehicle (image of the vehicle as viewed from above) to alert the driver of any obstacles that are otherwise likely to go unnoticed.
Bio Monitor  Sensors in the seat detect the driver's cardiac beat and aspiration and alert externally in an event of physical malfunction that requires urgent attention.
Driver Monitor
 The system monitors the driver's face to detect the direction of the face and the opening of the eyes, and alerts the driver if he/she is inattentive or drowsy.
GENTEX SmartBeam  A CMOS camera monitors traffic conditions around the vehicle and automatically switches between high and low beams as appropriate. Gentex supplies SmartBeam system to nearly all carmakers. Among Japanese manufacturers, Toyota and Honda use the system in their cars designed for European markets. The system is standard on certain versions of the new Corolla in Japan (Axio and Fielder) and optional on other versions.
 Automotive safety regulations in Japan require high beams to reach 100 meters forward, more than twice the low beam range (40 meters). According to Gentex, road tests show that vehicles should drive at speeds lower than 64km/h to prevent potential hazards if they are to drive with low beams only.
Video display
In the rearview mirror
 While backing up, the system provides a view directly behind the vehicle in the left corner of the rearview mirror. This helps the driver check the rear view with the most natural line of sight. Many drivers think the rearview mirror is the better safety checking location than the center of instrument panel. Research results also show that, with the rear view displayed in the rearview mirror, drivers respond faster from seeing an obstacle to stepping on the brake pedal.
Approach Light  When the driver walks up to the car at night, the system turns on the light located on the driver's side mirror to assist ingress.
Side blind zone
 The automotive safety regulations in the United States provide that most part of the door mirror be flat (priority on the more accurate sense of distance). Gentex has managed to form a curvature to the extent permissible (outer part of the mirror) and increase the effective field of view (a flat mirror gives a rearward vision of 12 degrees as compared to 22 degrees vision on a "flat + curvature" mirror).



Cooling seats and speakers of crystal clear sounds

Ventilating seat used on the new Corolla
Ventilating seat used on the new Corolla (exhibited by Toyota Boshoku)

Injection-molded instrument panel exhibited by Calsonic Kansei
Injection-molded instrument panel exhibited by Calsonic Kansei (used on Nissan Sylphy)

Cooling seats and speakers of crystal clear sounds

Twin Console
 Used on Daihatsu Tanto Exe Custom (floor console, overhead console). One-way mirror film (supplied by Toray), partially reflective and partially transparent, is used in the lens to give an upscale impression during daytime from the plated finish, and a futuristic interior from blue illumination when lit during dark hours.
Seat Ventilation
System for
Compact Cars
 The driver's seat ventilation & heated seat on display is standard on the new Corolla Axio (for Japanese market) 1.5LUXEL. Ventilation air is supplied by a fan from the backrest and the seat face to shorten the time before the driver feels cooled by 60 percent in summer.
 In winter time, the built-in heater warms the driver's shoulders, waist and lower limbs. This marks the first application of ventilated seats in compact cars.
Slim Style Seat
(under development)
 By developing a new net material of high air permeability and eliminating the conventional urethane part from the backrest, the company reduced the seatback thickness by 40 percent and the seat weight by 10 percent from the conventional seats. The company aims to achieve 80 percent reduction in time elapsed before the driver feels cooled by air conditioning in summer.
Compact FR
Sports Seat
 The high-performance sports seats, used on Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, were developed to allow intuitive experience of the vehicle's behaviors along with high maneuverability. The seats are also given slim and sharp design expected of sports cars.
(Flat Panel
Flat Panel Speaker  A conventional box speaker, often called a cone speaker, produces spherical wave sound that loses its original quality by interference and strength to one fourth at 20 meters away from the speaker. The flat panel speaker developed by FPS generates planar waves that travel in one direction like the waves in the ocean. This leads to high original sound reproduction, low attenuation and high directional characteristics (easier to control the spread range of sounds).
 The flat panel speakers are used on Toyota Crown and Suzuki Skywave (motorcycle). FPS introduced (1) a clear acoustic space based on the planar wave theory and topped by a vibration plate to deliver crystal clear sounds coming down from the ceiling (rebuilt Toyota Ractis with the ceiling developed jointly with Toyota Boshoku), and exhibited (2) a vehicle approaching alert system for HV and EV use. The system causes vibration in the engine hoods and bumpers to produce alert sound of high linearity and sound pressure.

(Note) Flat panel speakers have been installed in the Chamber of the House of Representatives of the Japanese Diet Building, auditoriums of numerous universities, the Tokyo Skytree (1F), and platforms at over 120 train stations (high linearity prevents sounds from reaching the unintended neighborhood). Protected by patents in major countries.

High-quality, low-cost skin injection molding
Calsonic Kansei Injection Skin  Calsonic Kansei has developed an injection molding process for making skin of high texture quality. A highly fluidic resin, co-developed with Asahi Kasei and Nissan, is molten and injected through a 1mm slit in the mold to form the product.
 Conventionally, skins are produced by a more costly method called the powder slush method (thermoplastic powder is introduced in the heated mold and the mold itself is rotated to coat the inner wall of the mold with the molten powder). The new injection molding method reduces the equipment cost to one fourth, and the cycle time to one fifth.
 The new technology, developed in Japan, will be used in emerging countries. The injection skin made by the new process is used in the new Nissan Sylphy that was introduced at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show. According to Calsonic Kansei, the injection skins can be produced on general-purpose machines at any of the company's facilities around the world.



Car navigation systems that work with smartphones


Car navigation systems that work with smartphones

AISIN AW NAVIelite  A full-featured smartphone application, armed with Aisin AW's know-how about car navigation, runs on the smartphone's display rather than the ordinary-sized onboard navigation screen. Compatible with iPhone3GS, iPhone4 and iPhone4S. Services for Android OS-based cellular phones started in March 2012. Users pay an annual fee of 3,800 yen, or 2,800 yen for "mini" limited service.
 Under the "door to door" slogan, the navigation service provides voice guidance and enlarged map display to take the user accurately to 30 meters from where the destination is visually recognizable. It shows a real 3D image of the intersection of interest to guide the user through the correct turn. Map data are updated every second month to provide the user with the latest information.
 The iPhone-based NAVIelite is now compatible with the smartphone navigation display "DAN-W62" introduced by Toyota on June 1, 2012. The user can use the NAVIelite's map on the 7-inch display.
smart nAVVi Link  Aisin AW had panels showing the "smart nAVVi Link" application for using smartphone and car navigation via Bluetooth. This allows the user to set a destination on the car navigation based on the smartphone search results and a list of contacts, and use the smartphone as an AV remote control of the car navigation system. The user can also get fuel efficiency information or "eco-trial" logs from the car navigation and check them on the smartphone display.
 The "smart nAVVi Link" application will run on iPhones and Android-based smartphones (TBD) and the 2012 models of Toyota's dealer-option car navigation systems (TBD).

(Note) Aisin AW also had panels showing the conventional navigation system (without smartphone access capabilities) designed as original car manufacturers' equipment. The system offers a wide range of features such as the incremental map update delivering system, probe traffic information system, high-precision location (detection of own position on the map), and Navi-Matic (assist for AT shift and brake based on road information).

Denso NaviCon  NaviCon transfers destinations found with a smartphone application to the onboard navigation system. Once the destination is established, the user will be guided by the car navigation system. By limiting the use of smartphones primarily to setting the destination, the NaviCon accepts a large number of apps (over 100 now, likely more in the future) and can run on Toyota's original navigation system and those developed by Fujitsu Ten and JVC Kenwood.
 NaviCon works with iPhone and Android-based smartphones (downloadable free of charge).
Clarion Smart Access  Clarion has developed a cloud computing-based telematics service "Smart Access" that works with iPhone (and with Android-based smartphones in the near future). The service started in the United States and Japan in June 2012. It will be introduced in other areas in phases.
 In June, Clarion released in Japan three Smart Access-compatible car navigation systems including NX712. Their basic feature, route guidance, offers six map data updates a year. When connected to the iPhone, the system provides Internet radio, latest news, weather forecast and other services. The user can choose from Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese languages under all menu headings.
 In June, Clarion released in the United States the "Next Gate" controller that works as an onboard display for Smart Access services. Since the market spread of car navigation is limited in the United States compared to Japan, the U.S. version of Smart Access service includes InfoGation which is car navigation software. "Next Gate" will be sold primarily in mega-stores of home appliances.

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