The advantage of flexibility
Developing and producing a front-end module is a highly complex process. A huge variety of technical components must be combined into one unit, everything must fit exactly, the quality must be of the highest standard, the supply chain must be optimally coordinated – these are some of the requirements and tasks that need to be finely tuned with each other to get the perfect result. All of which demands the know-how of experts and this is where HBPO comes into its own. With years of experience behind us we can provide solutions that combine the very best in technology, cosmetics and cost-effectiveness.
The future for front-end modules lies in the area of lightweight construction materials, CO2 reductions and improvements in aerodynamic characteristics. HBPO is at the forefront of all this innovative technology and will continue to supply car manufacturers with the latest, state-of-the-art solutions that they need. This is how we have earned our reputation – and this is why we shall remain the market leader in the international market.
The front-end module is a complex product requiring rigorous project management to achieve efficient and successful outcomes. Only by carefully monitoring the process we can meet our targets in the areas of delivery, capacity, costs and quality.
HBPO has concentrated on three aspects:
Modernizing and streamlining our project management
Our employees tackle each project as an interdisciplinary team with responsibility for the whole process. This is the best way for them to draw on all the experience they have gained from working with customers worldwide. It also allows a great deal of flexibility whilst still incorporating standardized processes to ensure speedy and effective results.
The 0PPM strategy is deployed throughout a project, from beginning to end – a strategy to eliminate mistakes and errors. Active and open communication is a key element for success, as well as a constant exchange of ideas and experience amongst all parties involved in the project.
The final form and appearance of the front-end is also a indicator of how efficiently we operate. We’re very much aware that our customers are always on the lookout for more cost-effective solutions – in other words, they want more functions and fewer components, all combined with a reduction in weight. With our IFP program, we’ve succeeded in reducing the number of components and increasing the functionality of the front-end by 20%, whilst making significant reductions in the overall weight.
Developing a new front-end module involves a large number of people – several suppliers and many specialist departments, as well as experts for tooling and testing. It’s the task of HBPO to coordinate all of these processes and organizations to ensure the best possible result for the customer.
Know-how and absolute precision are crucial in this respect. Often it’s the tiniest detail that can affect the overall quality of a front-end – for example, producing a streamlined contour that perfectly matches the design specifications of the car manufacturer. Or developing the assembly bracket, the most important part of a front-end – here precision is at a premium to ensure that the module can be fitted as quickly and efficiently as possible.
It goes without saying that HBPO makes use of the latest tools and equipment in our modules in order to keep development times and costs to a minimum. We are always keen to introduce new ideas – like the IFP project, which resulted in front-ends with fewer components and more functions. Weight reduction has also been at the core of our research, particularly as this leads to lower fuel consumption and better CO2 emissions. Along with many other innovative solutions we’ve also made it possible for the designers to be more creative – an outcome that can be appreciated in so many front-ends already in production. Also, let’s not forget the ecological aspect. We’re constantly experimenting with new materials for the front-end carrier, in particular plastics and alloys that can be recycled. All in all, our modules are technologically, economically and ecologically at the forefront of developments in the world market.
Sustainability has become a key issue in the front-end module business. Our task is to manufacture products that meet the highest standards by ensuring compatibility for every component and every process in a project. This means that everything we do takes into account the effect we have on resources and the ecological consequences.
All our activities are influenced by the desire to protect the environment, a policy that is rigorously enforced throughout the HBPO Group. Our project managers continuously ensure any relevant laws and regulations are strictly observed – in production, the use of materials, in assembly or logistics. The ecological impact of our modules is a responsibility that we take very seriously in every step of the process, from initial design right through to delivery at the customer’s production site. This commitment to sustainability has been fostered over the years by our dedicated personnel, who, in their various departments and teams, have invested all their experience to produce modules that are environment-friendly, sustainable and the best in the world.
Safety is one of the most important aspects connected with front-end modules – safety for the driver but also for pedestrians and everyone else involved in moving traffic. Safety is an overriding concern in all the processes that HBPO develops and monitors – from the initial concept, the choice of materials right through to production and just-in-time delivery. For example, our engineers have optimised pedestrian safety by developing SFuse (Several Function Stiffener), an intricately designed plastic component which, in the case of an accident, ensures that a body will rotate and land on the bonnet instead of falling and being driven over. SFuse can also absorb 30% of the energy in an AZT-crash and controls the hydraulics for both the brakes and engine-cooling system. All these advantages come with a weight reduction of around 25% and assembly times cut by around 40%. The SFuse system meets all the requirements laid down by the European Directive for increased pedestrian safety on our roads.
These are groundbreaking developments that testify to HBPO’s company philosophy of combining top safety with top quality – at every stage of the process. Our engineers work as an interdisciplinary team and check every innovation to ensure that the customer, wherever his manufacturing plant may be in the world, can integrate a front-end module into the final assembly line.
Our project management, with constant and regular quality control of systems and materials, ensures that we can deliver exactly the right front-end module for every car manufacturer. This also includes delivering a module that is safer than any other in the market.
Just-in-sequence deliveries require a great deal of logistics planning. We assemble our modules to make sure that they arrive exactly on time for final integration into the customer’s program. This results in cost-savings, to the benefit of everyone, in particular for the customer. HBPO is in a position to deliver custom-built modules that can be introduced to the assembly line at exactly the right time. Just-in-sequence production is complex – but it’s something that HBPO has specialized in.