JSAE Exposition 2018: Exhibits of 6 automakers

Honda N-BOX with lightweight and highly-rigid body, Mazda's SKYACTIVE-VEHICLE ARCHITECTURE, etc.



The new Forester from Subaru to be launched in the summer of 2018 in Japan (exhibited vehicle was a US spec model)

This report presents a summary of the exhibits of 6 passenger car automakers (Honda, Suzuki, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, and Daihatsu) during the 27th Automotive Engineering Exposition 2018 Yokohama” (Sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc., held at the PACIFICO Yokohama from May 23-25, 2018)

The following new car models launched in Japan (or scheduled to be launched) since 2017 were exhibited: Suzuki Spacia, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Daihatsu Mira e:S. Each carmaker showcased its own innovative technologies at the exhibition. Honda exhibited its new N-BOX (launched in September 2017) with a lightweight and highly-rigid body, and Suzuki exhibited color instrument panels made from paint-less molded-in parts.

Mazda introduced its SKYACTIVE-VEHICLE ARCHITECTURE next-generation vehicle structure technology adopted for the second-generation SKYACTIVE to be rolled out from 2019. Daihatsu introduced 3D printer sand molding technology and a cylinder head sample made using the technology.

Related report:
 JSAE Exposition 2018: Toyota and Nissan Exhibits (June 2018)



Honda: Exhibits the N-BOX with a lightweight and highly-rigid body

The Honda N-BOX with a lightweight and high rigid body. The red part is made of 1180MPa class super high-tensile strength steel.

Honda exhibited the body frame of the all-new N-BOX launched in September 2017. In addition to the adoption of a highly efficient floor frame structure and high-tensile steel plates, Honda introduced new welding technology that is both lightweight and highly rigid.

Truss structure front frame that efficiently disperses and absorbs crash energy

 In the previous model, crash energy input to the front side frame was dispersed and absorbed mainly at the external side frame sills and floor frame that passed downwards under the car. For the new N-BOX, a front frame with a truss structure (triangular) was adopted on the front side of the floor. The crash energy is dispersed and absorbed by the floor cross member and the side sill frame, which realizes exceptional collision safety performance while achieving significant weight reduction.

Composite joining by seam welding and high viscosity adhesive to create high rigidity structures

Continuous seam welding using a wheel-shaped electrode was adopted for the first time on the door opening, contributing significantly to the highly rigid structure. Further, a high viscosity adhesive was used for frame bonding of the floor cross member and other door parts, achieving high rigidity by expanding the bonding surface area.

Liberal use of light and strong super high-tensile steel plate

The use of high-tensile steel that can be thinned while maintaining strength is effective in reducting the weight of cars; however, because of the difficulty of forming, the material has been mainly used for inner reinforcement parts. In the new N-BOX, 1180MPa-class ultrahigh-tensile steel sheet was used for the center pillar of the outer panel, a world's first, as well as a number of high-tensile steel sheets for the main frames. Honda also increased the usage of 780MPa-class and stronger high-tensile steel sheets to approximately 47% compared to the 15% used in the previous model. As a result, an overall weight reduction of 15% was achieved, just with the body frame.



Suzuki: Develops paint-less molded-in color instrument panels

  ”Molded-in color parts” are produced by a process where pre-colored plastic resins are used in the plastic injection molding process so that the finished molded part does not require surface treatment such as painting, plating, or film coating. The process can reduce cost and reduces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions compared to painting, contributing to a reduction in the environmental impact. Suzuki has been developing this technology for over 10 years.

 Suzuki tied up with Mitsubishi Chemical which started producing the bio-based polycarbonate (PC) resin “DURABIO” around 2010. It was first applied on motorcycles, but later expanded to automobiles that require high quality. For those plastic components on an automobile that are required to be of high quality, the bio-based polycarbonate resin material was developed to satisfy properties such as glossy external appearance and resistance against light, heat, and impact. While being a molded-in color part, it realizes a high quality external glossiness comparable to its painted counterparts and is being increasingly adopted as the technology for colored instrument panels and center garnish.

 DURABIO exhibits excellent transparency. It is a transparent engineering plastic which is plant-derived and has various advantages such as light resistance and highly functional surface characteristics. Mitsubishi Chemical is also supplying PC plastic to Mazda. The material is able to realize paint-less  interior plastic parts with high-quality appearance requirements, parts that previously had been reliant upon painting. Also, the material also enables new decorative styles and a variety of color options for automobile instrument panel parts, which were traditionally colored in black.

無塗装材着部品のインパネカラーパネルなど DURABIO
 Paint-less molded-in color instrument panels (exhibit by Suzuki) Bio-based polycarbonate (PC) DURABIO (exhibit by Mitsubishi Chemical)

Suzuki: Exhibited the all-new Spacia, booster jet engine

 Suzuki exhibited the new Spacia that launched in December 2017. A mild hybrid system and a collision damage mitigation braking system is equipped as standard on all models. Further, three new technologies were applied for the first time on a kei-car such as the Back-up Brake Support collision-mitigating system for backing-up, a front glass projection head up display, and omnidirectional monitor with 3D viewer.
 The cutaway model of the 1.4L direct-injection turbo engine equipped on the new Swift Sport was also exhibited.

新型スペーシア K14C1.4L直噴ターボブースタージェットエンジン
The all-new Spacia launched in December 2017 The cutaway model of the 1.4L direct-injection turbo charged engine



Mazda: Introduces SKYACTIV-VEHICLE ARCHITECTURE, its next-generation vehicle structure technology

 Mazda introduced the SKYACTIV-VEHICLE ARCHITECTURE to be introduced in its second-generation of products featuring Mazda's SKYACTIV technology. Mazda's human-centered design philosophy will be further investigated with increased focus, not only with respect to the evolution of individual units, but to deliver the ultimate feeling of oneness with the car by optimizing innate human abilities. By mastering this philosophy, Mazda aims to maximize the human body's inherent ability to balance itself.

 Similar to the G-Vectoring Control announced at the Automotive Engineering Exposition 2016, Mazda says that although the number may be small when quantified, it values what humans feel. By realizing its philosophy, it offers a more comfortable and less tiring driving experience and the car can quickly respond to changes in the driving environment. With the human body more easily able to balance itself in response to driving inputs, the new vehicle architecture provides a responsive drive and the ultimate driving experience in which the driver feels at one with the vehicle. To realize these advantages, the development team reviewed every aspect of the car platform from the viewpoint of comprehensive vehicle optimization. The resulting innovations include redesigned seats that keep the pelvis upright to maintain the spine's natural “S” shape, a body with multi-directional ring structures to transmit inputs without delay, a chassis structure with each part interacting to smoothly control energy transfer to the sprung mass, and NVH performance meticulously optimized based on vibration energy characteristics and the mechanisms by which humans perceive sound.




Subaru: Exhibits the new Forester

 The new Forester adopted user-friendly options such as Subaru's first passenger recognition technology, the “Driver Monitoring System”, and a packaging that achieves both good maneuverability and spacious interior cabin so that all passengers can share a fun and comfortable space. Under Subaru's common design philosophy of DYNAMIC x SOLID, it aims to express a design that is functional and easy to use while demonstrating the sturdiness of an SUV.

  Furthermore, by adopting the SUBARU GLOBAL PLATFORM, the vehicle realizes many features such as top of the class collision safety performance and danger avoidance performance, and responsive handling that allows the driver to steer the car as intended for comfortable driving. The powertrain features the 2.5L direct-injection NA (Naturally Aspirated) engine and the e-Boxer, the 2.0L direct-injection NA engine with the motor assist (mild hybrid). Furthermore, the driver-assist system EyeSight and the X-MODE function that enhances the off-road capabilities expected of SUVs.

 The new Forester (Japan spec) will be launched for sale in the summer of 2018.

新型フォレスター 新型フォレスター
The all-new Forester (US spec model was exhibited)



Mitsubishi: The new compact SUV “Eclipse Cross”

 Mitsubishi exhibited the Eclipse Cross that was launched in Japan in March 2018. It has been previously launched in October 2017 in Europe, and in the following November in Australia, New Zealand and the ASEAN region. It was also exported in January 2018 for the North America market and is planned to be ultimately deployed to 80 countries.
 The Eclipse Cross emphasizes a unique design that motivates the driver. It does not compromise the functionality of an SUV, offering a high hip vantage point that provides an excellent field of view together with a roomy interior, realizing a coupe style with a dynamic presence that stands out in the city.

 The newly-developed 1.5L downsized direct-injection turbo engine was adopted for the Eclipse Cross. By precise control of intake port injection and in-cylinder direct injection, depending on driving conditions, both excellent fuel economy performance and clean emissions performance are realized. Furthermore, because it is a turbo charged engine, the 1.5L engine exhibits a low-to-mid speed torque surpassing that of a conventional naturally aspirated 2.4L engine. Engine response is improved through the use of a cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold, MIVEC technology on both intake and exhaust valves, and a small turbocharger with an electrically actuated wastegate.

 The Eclipse Cross uses the INVECS-III CVT with 8-speed Sport Mode transmission. In the 8-speed Sport Mode, the close but wide gear ratio enables the engine to perform at its maximum potential. The step-up shift control reduces the sensation common to CVTs of the engine speed getting ahead of the gears, to realize a more direct and powerful acceleration feeling.

三菱エクリプス クロス 新開発1.5L直噴ターボエンジン
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross The newly developed 1.5L direct injection turbo charged engine



Daihatsu: Develops 3D printer sand molded casting technology for prototypes

Daihatsu developed a new technology of making sand molds with 3D printers for the prototyping of diecast parts for use on engines and transmissions. By using this 3D printer technology, conventional sand molding of iron-based components that used to be difficult is now feasible, realizing low cost and short lead time for prototyping diecast parts. Furthermore, sand is also 100% recyclable.

In the conventional method of producing diecast parts, first a wooden or metal pattern is used to create cavity in a sand mold, then a molten metal such as iron or aluminum is poured into the sand mold. However, to create wooden or metal patterns require a high level of skill, requires a long time to create, and the recyclability of the sand after its use was a challenge.

Although the technology for making sand molds using 3D printers has progressed in the recent years, there remained the issue of addressing cracks in sand molds for molding iron-based materials with high melting temperatures. To address this problem, Daihatsu used artificial sand with a low ratio of thermal expansion instead of conventional natural silica sand. For casting of iron-based materials, the melting temperature of the molten metal inside the mold reaches 1500degC, but by using the artificial sand with a low ratio of thermal expansion, the risk of mold cracking is prevented and results in a product with dimensions of high reproducibility.

As a result, production time can be reduced from more than 1 month to several hours. However, the sand mold can only be used once and is limited to prototyping. The company also receives order for sand casted prototypes from Toyota.
Daihatsu exhibited the new Mira e:S (launched in May 2017) and the THOR (launched in November 2016).

砂型とシリンダーヘッド ダイハツ ミライース ダイハツ トール
Sand mold produced by 3D printer sand die casting technology and the finished cylinder head Daihatsu Mira e: S Daihatsu THOR

Automotive Engineering Exposition 2018, Honda, Suzuki, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu

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