||As global automobile manufacturers embark on
a new round of corporate reengineering, they are demanding ever-lower
prices from component suppliers. Suppliers, in turn, must battle
to stay alive in a cut-throat market dictated by cost. At DENSO,
we are confident we can rise to this challenge and use it as
an opportunity to grow. We are taking a number of approaches
to reducing costsstandardization of parts and processes,
smaller, lighter components with greater functionality, modularization,
shorter development times, and streamlined manufacturing processes.
These methods are part of an integrated approach to generate
significant cost-saving synergies.
|ALL ROADS LEAD
|Reducing the number of different product variations we manufacturethe
heart of the standardization concepthelps to streamline manufacturing
processes. This creates benefits for DENSO in the form of lower capital
investment in machinery and facilities, improved quality, and enhanced
productivity. For our customers, it creates advantages such as smaller,
lighter, and more functional components, and the opportunity to modularize
parts and save costs.
| DENSO is also developing individual components that
simultaneously meet the needs of multiple customerscreating
interchangeability across a wide range of car platforms. This is achieved
by carrying out extensive consultations at the planning stages. Meanwhile,
as long as cars in the aftermarket continue to use DENSO components,
no matter how few, we have a duty to continue to supply these components.
Standardizing existing components for this aftermarket will generate
significant cost savings. Based on these ideas, we are broadening
the scope of standardization throughout the manufacturing process,
from R&D to production; and already seeing the benefits.
| One example is the standardization of instrument cluster
movements, devices that convert speed and other data into readable
form on the dashboard. By moving to a stepper motor with a drive torque
200 times greater than conventional motors, we have succeeded in reducing
the types of movements we produce from 118 to just 1. Cost per unit
has been cut, while component weight has been reduced by half and
accuracy boosted fivefold. This standardized instrument cluster movement
entered mass production in November 2001. Another example is our high-pressure
supply pump for the 1,800-bar diesel common rail system. The supply
pump has an outer cam structure, which allows us to manufacture two
types to cover a wide range of engine displacements in both two-cylinder
and three-cylinder configurations. This range of pumps also uses an
electro-magnetic suction valve, as opposed to two valves in the past,
for inlet-metering, further reducing the cost per unit. Using aluminum
for pump housing sections not under high pressure has generated weight
|These watchwords are at the heart of our drive to add more value
to DENSO products. Making compact, lightweight components incorporating
cutting-edge technologies is not new to us. But with ever-tougher
demands from automobile manufacturers and increasing component standardization,
further progress in this area is vital.
| Evaporators used in air conditioners is one product
category where we are making headway: We have progressively reduced
the core width of our evaporators, from 90mm a decade ago to 58mm
today, by redesigning refrigerant pathways and adopting inner fins
in evaporator tubes. Our latest product, slated to go into full-scale
production in the summer of 2002, is even slimmer, at 38mm, thanks
to finer fins and tubes that generate improvements in heat transfer
efficiency. This yields reductions in manufacturing costs and on-board
volume. In other product categories, our latest side impact sensors
(SIS) for airbag sensing systems, which went into production in June
2001, are less expensive and over 50% smaller than previous components.
| Meanwhile, our most recent electronic throttle body,
which controls engine intake air in accordance with travel in the
accelerator pedal, is another example of our drive to make components
smaller, lighter, and more functional. This latest component is the
first in the industry to adopt a built-in non-contact sensor using
a Hall IC to detect valve steps. This increases the functional life
of the throttle body twofold. The integrated design also means it
is 20% smaller and lighter than previous models, while internal parts
have been reduced to a minimum. The electronic throttle body went
into production in July 2001.
|At DENSO, we approach modularization from two angles: as a way
of combining the functions of two or more components into a single
module, and as an integral part of our efforts to make components
smaller, lighter, and more functional. With DENSO's all-round strengths
across a wide range of automobile components, it is an area where
we can excel. Modularization is also a boon to automobile manufacturers,
who can realize enormous efficiency savings on assembly lines and
| In 2001, we developed an integrated air/fuel module,
launching it in overseas markets in September 2001 and in Japan in
June 2002. The configuration for the Japanese market integrates eleven
components in one compact unit including an air cleaner, variable
intake control system, air flow meter, electronic throttle body, intake
manifold, injectors, and an engine ECU. Combining these components
in one unit allowed us to design an integrated air intake system covering
the entire processfrom the air inlets to the cylinder head ports.
This leads to lower air intake noise levels, and improved engine performance.
Integrating the engine ECU also removed the need for a separate ECU
case and reduced the volume of wiring.
| In May 2002, we launched an advanced front-end module.
This integrates a radiator, condenser, electric fan, engine inter-cooler,
and front-frame carrier into one unit for installation in the front
of the vehicle. Using new materials for the carrier and redesigning
the separate components as one unit, produced weight-savings of around
30% and improved thermal efficiency in the condenser, radiator, and
|DECCS: FOR A
BETTER DESIGN PROCESS
|Changing the way automobile components are designed can play a
major role in reducing manufacturing costs, by significantly shortening
development cycle times. To this end, we have been introducing the
DENSO Engineering Core Computing System (DECCS) at design divisions,
since 1997. This system allows us to take advantage of 3D design and
virtual prototyping capabilities such as model analysis and testing
in a virtual environment. In October 2001, we started introducing
the DECCS mass production drawing issuance system at manufacturing
divisions, completing its rollout in June of this year. The issuance
system enables the rapid distribution of accurate design information,
including 3D data, thereby saving time in the manufacturing process.
Using DECCS in the early development stages will allow production
engineers to step into the design engineer's shoes and make suggestions
for changes to component design. We have great hopes for DECCS, not
only as a way of reducing development cycle times, but also as a means
of improving quality.
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