Issue: Nov 2003


Supply and Demand



by AI Staff

NORTH AMERICA

Metaldyne Wins Multiple Driveline Contracts

Metaldyne Corp. has been awarded six new contracts totaling nearly $65 million annually to supply various forged components and assemblies for several customers' driveline and transmission programs.

Under the contracts, Metaldyne's Forging Operations division will supply an average of 17 million driveline and transmission components and assemblies annually for three customers. The products, which will be manufactured at seven different Metaldyne facilities, include coldand warm-forged net-shape differential gears, ring gears and stem pinions.

Metaldyne has also been awarded two differential carrier case assemblies that include a differential case, netshaped side and pinion gears with netforged teeth, a differential pinion shaft and thrust washers. Using its proprietary net side and pinion gear technology, which eliminates secondary machining, Metaldyne will deliver machined and ready-to-assemble differential carrier cases to its North American original equipment customers.

Rogers Corp. Acquires 3M Share of Durel Corp.

Rogers Corp. announced the acquisition of 3M's 50 percent interest in Durel Corp., a joint venture of Rogers and 3M, for $26 million in cash. The operations and revenues of Durel will become consolidated into Rogers Corporation. The new business unit will be called the Durel Division and its financial and operating results will be included as part of the Rogers' Polymer Materials and Components business segment.

Suzuki Opens R&D Facility in Wixom, Mich.

Suzuki Motor Corp. opened a new research and development facility in North America, the Suzuki Tech Center, as part of a commitment to making the U.S. market a top priority and keeping tabs on American automotive tastes and preferences.  The $3.7 million, 1.5 acre facility in Wixom, Mich., 20 miles northwest of Detroit, is designed to enable Suzuki to more closely follow U.S. power, design and interior and exterior feature trends while continuing its sharp recent improvement in vehicle quality.

Timed to support Suzuki's goal of tripling U.S. auto sales by 2007, the opening of the Suzuki Tech Center comes as the automaker launches nine new vehicles in the next five years. The 19,000 square foot facility will serve as the company's North American center for certification testing, fleet vehicle evaluation, consumer research, product development and other technical work -- and is patterned after similar successful R&D facilities in Japan, Asia and Europe.

EUROPE

Trelleborg Acquires Smiths' Precision Seal Business

Trelleborg, a Swedish-based company, completed the acquisition of Smiths' precision seal business. Regulatory authorities, including regulatory agencies of the European Union and the United States, granted the necessary approvals. Smiths' precision seal business is comprised of several companies operating under the umbrella of Polymer Sealing Solutions group (PSS).

PSS develops, manufactures and markets security-critical polymer-based precision seals and systems. PSS operates primarily within four market segments: industrial applications, the automotive industry, the aerospace industry and pipe seals.

Perceptron's AutoGlide System Selected by DaimlerChrysler

Perceptron's AutoGuide robot guidance systems have been selected by Daimler- Chrysler Corporation to automate assembly operations in the production of a new model Mercedes-Benz to be produced in 2004.

Fourteen Perceptron AutoGuide robot guidance systems will be installed in the automaker's Rastatt, Germany, assembly plant. The systems will provide fully automated seam sealing, closure panel assembly and position-optimized hole punching for taillights. Perceptron's laser sensors and AutoSolve software algorithms are designed to measure the exact position of each vehicle in 3- dimensional space and calculate best fit position information to guide industrial robot paths during the assembly operation. This allows the vehicle to be built to great accuracy and consistency.

Perceptron's first generation robot guidance systems were developed in close cooperation with Mercedes-Benz production experts. The initial application automated their door assembly processes.

Valeo Signs Agreement with Iteris For Lane Departure Warning Systems

Valeo has signed a cooperative agreement with Iteris to exclusively manufacture and market camera-based Lane departure warning systems for light vehicles worldwide. This follows a two-year joint development of the system. The companies are hoping the system enters volume production in 2004 in North America as anticipated making it an industry first.

Under the terms of the agreement, Valeo will take full responsibility for the manufacturing and marketing of lane departure warning systems for the light vehicle market worldwide, including the aftermarket.

ASIA

Ford, Changan Group Agree to Expand Production

Ford Motor Co. and Changan will invest more than $1 billion over the next several years to expand manufacturing capacity, introduce new products and expand distribution channels in the Chinese automotive market.

The investment will initially support the addition of new products and expansion of production capacity at its joint venture, Changan Ford in Chongqing, from the current 20,000 units a year to 150,000, as well as establish a second car plant and new engine plant. Details concerning locations of the new plants and the products that will be manufactured will be announced at future dates.

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