THE DENSO Corporation , together with Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, has developed a smaller, lighter and less-expensive front-end module (FEM) for the Mitsubishi "i," the light vehicle with the 660cc displacement engine launched this month in Japan.
The new FEM contains the carrier, radiator, air conditioning condenser, washer tank, electric fan, motor and duct.
It is approximately 30% smaller in volume and 20% lighter in weight, as well as lower in cost compared to the size and cost of conventional components when not combined as an FEM.
In 2002, Denso developed a lightweight, highly rigid resin-based carrier made from a polypropylene material reinforced with long-fibre glass, for FEMs.
For this carrier, Denso used a polypropylene material with a lower density than that used in the previous model and modified the shape of the carrier to achieve further reductions in weight and cost while maintaining sufficient strength.
The headlamp is conventionally attached to the carrier, fender and the headlamp bracket, which is included to the carrier.
For the new FEM, Denso developed a structure where the headlamp can be attached to the carrier and fender without the headlamp bracket while maintaining sufficient hold of the headlamp. As a result, Denso was able to reduce size of the carrier.
Through its past experience in developing FEMs, Denso has minimised the space between the radiator, condenser and electric fan in the new FEM.
By optimising the structure of the entire front-end module, Denso was able to increase the efficiency of the heat exchanger - something that was not possible through improvements on individual components. This resulted in the size and weight reduction of the entire module.