Packaging and Components

Mobility for the fourth industrial Revolution

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Interface between man and machine: The company’s electronic control and sensor systems are based on its extremely robust circuit boards and, ideally, sealed and encased using Kyocera casting resin.
Interface between man and machine: The company’s electronic control and sensor systems are based on its extremely robust circuit boards and, ideally, sealed and encased using Kyocera casting resin.
(Image: Kyocera)
Not only does Kyocera produce numerous components for the systems used in vehicle construction — it also provides parts used in the vehicles themselves. And in the near future those vehicles will have “4.0” capabilities. The car of tomorrow will largely control itself — using a network of interacting devices including sensors, cameras and elements that allow it to communicate with other vehicles and information services.

Kyocera provides the necessary components, which can be found in almost every part of automobiles and other intelligent systems. Its ACC radar systems ensure that sufficient distance is maintained between moving vehicles. Its front-, back- and rear-mounted camera modules monitor the surroundings, helping drivers react rapidly to external problems — and allow easy, precise parking in almost any space.

Constant data processing using on-board electronics and a display system provide the driver with real-time updates about their situation. However, the driver is not the only recipient of information about their vehicle and the surrounding traffic: telematics modules continuously transmit messages to the associated networks, ensuring the constant availability of information about other vehicles and the traffic situation. The system is even capable of identifying available parking spaces and directing the driver accordingly.

OEMs also benefit from this expertise far beyond the world of the self-driving vehicle. The company produces piezo injectors for diesel engines, ceramic pressure sensors for cylinder heads, exhaust gas sensors and display modules and touchscreens that ensure the comfort and safety of the vehicle’s occupants. They include display modules that can be read in direct sunlight, which do not produce any shards in the event of an accident, and provide tactile feedback using touch sensors — allowing the driver to get the information by touch so that they do not have to take their eyes off the road.

The substrates for LEDs are pushing forward the development of vehicle lighting, while special circuit boards reliably house components for window motors, engine electronics and automatic start-stop systems. And vehicle manufacturers are provided with ceramic supersonic speakers for the active reduction of ambient noise.

Most of these components are based on advanced ceramics, and as its name suggests — it is short for Kyoto Ceramics — the company has unsurpassed expertise and more than half a century of experience working with these highly versatile materials.

Ceramic elements can insulate, conduct heat and help achieve energy savings, and they are incredibly hard. The possibilities of ceramics have by no means been exhausted and intensive research into new production methods and applications is constantly conducted.

The high quality and innovative design of these solutions are reflected by the fact that the company was named Supplier of the Year 2014 by the automotive part manufacturer Continental, which it supplies with piezo-ceramic components for its powertrain systems.

Investing in the future of the automobile

On the road to “Industry 4.0” we need pioneers and visionaries just as much as we need developers and engineers. At Kyocera the combination of components delivers convincing results. As its president, Goro Yamaguchi, explicitly emphasises, the company invests significantly to ensure that it is constantly providing new solutions for the automotive sector. These not only increase the safety and comfort of drivers, but also contribute to energy efficiency, making vehicles more environmentally friendly.

Yamaguchi’s stated aim is to double the company’s sales in the automotive sector by 2017. Nobody can say how many “Industry 4.0” technologies will be used in cars by then — but it is certain that this expertise will play a significant role in their development. //FG

* * Shigeru Koyama is the European President of Kyocera Fineceramics.

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