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New Automotive Supplier Emerges

By Hitachi Astemo Contributed Article
Electric vehicle inverters being manufactured at a Hitachi Astemo plant in Harrodsburg, Ky. (Provided by Hitatchi Astemo)

A major new mobility technology company with ambitious growth and environmental goals entered the automotive marketplace in 2021.

Hitachi Astemo was created from the merger of Hitachi Automotive Systems with three former Honda affiliates: Nissin Kogyo, Keihin and Showa. Hitachi Ltd. owns a 66.6 percent share of the new auto supplier with Honda holding 33.4 percent.

The new company has the global scale, technical depth, software capabilities and advanced manufacturing resources to make significant contributions in rapidly changing mobility technology areas such as safety, electrification, comfort and sustainability.

Hitachi Astemo’s major goals include:

Carbon neutral production lines by fiscal 2030; Global leadership in electric motors and inverters with annual production targets of five million units for each and, Annual sales of $18 billion with 15 percent EBITDA in fiscal 2025.

“Hitachi Astemo is committed to creating a sustainable future and improved quality of life,” said CEO Brice Koch. “Our combined expertise, efficiencies and economies of scale will allow us to provide significant economic, environmental and societal benefits—an advantage that is further strengthened by leveraging technology and data from our Hitachi partners.”

Koch said Astemo stands for Advanced Sustainable Technologies for Mobility, a name aligned with the company’s plans to define the future of mobility through technologies and solutions in powertrain, chassis systems and advanced driver assistance.

Globally the company employs 90,000 people at nearly 140 facilities in 27 countries. In the Americas (the United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil) Hitachi Astemo has 38 facilities with a regional headquarters in Farmington Hills, Mich. Hitachi Astemo’s Americas group is headed by Paul Carroll, a senior vice president of Hitachi Astemo and president and CEO of Hitachi Astemo Americas.

“We are developing advanced mobility solutions that will define automobiles and motorcycles in the future,” Carroll said. “Hitachi Astemo engineering, product development and plant management teams today are dedicated to driving innovations that will accelerate the development of next-generation technologies.”

Smart Solutions, Smarter Manufacturing

The company recognizes the importance of smart manufacturing solutions. Sudhanshu Gaur, Hitachi Astemo’s chief architect for smart manufacturing, was named as one of the “25 Leaders Transforming Manufacturing” around the world in the April 2021 edition of SME’s Smart Manufacturing magazine.

In that article, SME Media Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff wrote, “the need for leadership in smart manufacturing cannot be overstated. Making revolutionary changes can be arduous, but the leaders who have emerged in this industry also show us it can be exhilarating.”

Gaur said that Hitachi has made considerable progress in the adoption of automation technology using artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G, robotics and time-sensitive networking to increase productivity. He added that the company has had great success improving shop-floor operations using camera/LIDAR analytics and vibration/ultrasonic analysis to monitor production equipment.

“At Hitachi Astemo, smart manufacturing begins in-house,” Gaur said. “Most of our plants had IoT (Internet of Things) before the term was coined. We have been collecting data from PLCs and rendering production visualization to help supervisors and plant managers work more efficiently. We’ve also conducted a systematic study to re-evaluate our smart manufacturing operations and our emphasis today is on scaling our solutions for use at all of our plants with a minimum amount of customization.”

Combining Expertise is Foundation of New Company

Building on the strength of its four founding companies, Hitachi Astemo combines the manufacturing and technology expertise of Nissin and Chassis Brakes brake system business, Keihin’s powertrain business and Showa’s suspension and steering businesses with the core businesses of Hitachi Automotive Systems.

Hitachi Astemo’s Chassis Division currently accounts for about 41 percent of global sales while the Powertrain & Safety Systems Division contributes 50 percent. The company also is a major supplier to the motorcycle industry which accounts for about eight percent of its business.

Today, Hitachi Astemo is number one in global sales for hydraulic suspensions and EV components such as electric motors and inverters. It is a leader in foundation-brake sales and its motorcycle group leads the industry in the sale of calipers, throttle bodies and suspensions.

Major Hitachi Astemo development programs currently underway include:

--Inverters with industry leading output and high efficiency performance;
Highly efficient, super-compact electric drive units;

--Next-generation integrated chassis control systems;

-- Integrated AD/ADAS controls that leverage sensor and artificial-intelligence technologies, and;

--Motorcycle electrification and anti-nosedive “attitude control” systems.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Hitachi Astemo is a joint venture between Hitachi Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. It is a technology company dedicated to the development, manufacture, sale and service for automotive and transportation components, as well as industrial machinery and systems.

Edited from information supplied by Hitachi Astemo.

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