DETROIT – Although auto manufacturers have relied on front-end modules for quite some time, modules today are much more complex. HBPO, for example, is being called upon to incorporate higher levels of technology into complex new designs that meet aggressive OEM targets for cost, weight, safety and sustainability.
Today we are providing our customers with design, development, assembly and module delivery services at a much higher level than ever before.
To reduce inventory requirements and save floor space with shorter assembly lines, auto makers look to us to design and engineer increasingly complex front-end systems, handle material acquisitions, assemble and then ship a final product “just-in-sequence” to their assembly plants.
Although front-end module designs are more complex and overall content has increased, there also is a demand for weight reduction while at the same time achieving improvements in stiffness and rigidity.
Plastics have become more and more important, along with the ability to combine plastic components with aluminum and steel applications. Through over molding and other injection technologies, HBPO is able to provide its customers with ultra-light front end systems that also meet increasingly stringent NHTSA and IIHS crash standards.
Our expertise in the areas of design, engineering and assembly, when combined with superior logistical support, has made HBPO a front-end module supplier of choice for a broad range of manufacturers throughout the world.
At last year’s Frankfurt Auto Show (IAA) and the more recent North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, we displayed a variety of front-end module designs. Our front-end carrier, the support structure for the module, for the recently launched Chrysler Pacifica minivan, for example, was 25 percent lighter than the Town & Country module it replaced. A similar weight savings was achieved for the new Jeep Compass front-end carrier.
To move the innovation needle for future technology, HBPO has developed a number of advanced designs that continue to reduce weight, component complexity and cost. Our active grille-shutter is a recent example. By actively managing and improving the aerodynamics of a vehicle in motion by strategically closing off the grille opening, HBPO is helping automakers improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions.
At NAIAS, HBPO displayed three different active grille shutters to demonstrate how tailor-made solutions can improve a vehicle’s drag coefficient with a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. The shutters shown were in traditional horizontal orientations, as well as in a vertical application.
Parts consolidation through functional integration also can reduce module complexity, which in turn improves quality. By using intelligent design to integrate several functions into one component, we also can gain significant advantages in terms of adding functionality, while saving weight and cost.
HBPO’s global automotive customer portfolio includes Audi, Bentley, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes, Mini, Porsche, Proton, Renault, SEAT, Skoda, SsangYong and Volkswagen.
With more than 2,000 employees worldwide, HBPO is the only company in the world that specializes in the design, development, assembly and logistics for complex front-end modules. It produces more than 5.3 million front-end modules per year at 25 just-in-sequence manufacturing facilities supported by eight development centers in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
About the Author: Calvin Jennings, Director, Sales & Marketing NAFTA at HBPO North America, has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry. His extensive global cultural experience with product engineering teams in Germany, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, Australia and Singapore help him in his role of integrating company programs into projects with automaker customers such as Ford, GM, FCA, Tesla, Lucid Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Honda.