Tech Watch: Shaping Components at Hyundai Mobis
All global automakers have design shops with clay modeling and a bevy of rapid prototyping machines. Hyundai Mobis (mobis.co.kr) is the first, and according to the company, the only supplier in Korea to create its own design research facility with such gear.
Hyundai Mobis reported it invested about 3-billion Korean Won ($3-million) to create its Design Model Workshop in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do. It includes a clay model processing machine capable of creating a life-size clay rendered vehicle and a powder 3D printer, which makes parts by spraying fine particle powder as well as a liquid binder to harden it. With ultra-fine particles, it can produce more precise samples than normal 3D printers.
The company, Korea’s largest supplier, makes a variety of parts and systems including chassis, brakes, suspensions, airbags, headlamps and electronics. It intends to test out many of those components with life-size versions of vehicles and other physically modeled systems.
The goal is to assess whether the auto components created 3D printers pair well with the design of a physical car to improve overall design quality. All of this is expected to improve the design process because the supplier says it can design and fabricate components relatively early in the vehicle design.
I'm not talking about a plastic Revell model of a '57 Chevy, but a real vehicle, one that rolls off an assembly line in 1999 with another 99,999 just like it right behind. Is it possible, or is this just a fantasy of the marketing department at Elmer's?
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
Honda is an engine company.