By T Murrali:
Denso Products and Services Americas, an affiliate of the leading global automotive supplier Denso Corporation,will add 360 degree photographs to its website, (www.densoautoparts.com), by March 2018. This is to facilitate customers to have a more comprehensive look at its products and to support the needs of the increasing electronic retailing (web commerce).
The aftermarket division of Denso deals with several products including AC compressors, air filters, alternators, cabin air filters, diesel injection systems, direct ignition coils, fuel injectors, fuel pumps, oil filters, tyre pressure monitoring systems and wiper blades. The company has made investments for the technology of this new feature and can do it in-house. This allows Denso to respond quickly to customer needs and to be flexible in a changing environment.
The computer-controlled process provides more consistent photos giving users confidence in the quality and reality of the products. An interactive zoom allows for fast verification of a part on any computer device.
“The growth of online purchasing has changed customer expectations about product photograph,” Joe Mejaly, Senior Vice President of the company, said. “We wanted to give our warehouse distributor and retail customers the tools they need to compete with sites like Amazon. The 360 degree photographs allow users to rotate them and zoom in on certain features.”
A 360 degree view of each product means that the customers can get a realistic view of the product from multiple angles — a virtual walk around a product from the comfort of the office. Installers benefit from this technology because it allows them to zoom in to check specific areas such as brackets, connectors, etc. to confirm if the part is the one they are looking for.
Terming the shift to e-mobility as ‘Once-in-a-Century Shift,’ he said in the market place many disruptive forces like electrification, connected vehicles, vehicle sharing, autonomous driving, competition outside traditional players are at play. “Even though we are a big, established player, we cannot do it alone, so we are aligning ourselves with the best,” Mejaly said. Success for the future means critical partnerships; therefore, the company has partnered with leading universities, companies and organisations to address these new dimensions: electrification, vehicle sharing, IoT and AI, autonomous driving, driver/rider experience, safety, etc.
About the recent technologies developed by Denso, he said that touchless Human Machine Interface concept was demonstrated at the CES 2017 Show. The objective is to reduce driver distraction by tracking facial and head gestures so that simple but common tasks like temperature and stereo volume can be selected and adjusted. This way, drivers can keep their hands on the wheel while looking forward.
“We are developing and are refining a Holographic Haptic Controller. It measures light changes and tracks ultrasonic sound waves – this is called haptic feedback. So drivers in the future can press virtual buttons and move switches mid-air to control audio, HVAC, and other functions. These types of advanced technologies will eventually become mainstream, and they will ultimately become part of our aftermarket business,” he said.
On the issues facing the aftermarket industry Mejaly said, there is a growing shortage of qualified young technicians and e-learning is the preferred method with millennials. To address this issue the company has introduced “Denso Automotive Technical Academy” at AAPEX. It is a comprehensive, online distance learning solution that addresses the industry’s critical training shortage. It’s also designed using the latest gaming technology and HD graphics that young technicians expect and love to use. The key features include 1,400 training modules, 100 Hybrid and Electric vehicle training modules, multiple language capability suitable for all skill levels. This academy will be available on a subscription basis from March 2018.
Denso is celebrating three anniversaries in 2017- 2018. Its first spark plug was manufactured nearly 60 years ago and today spark plug is a key element in its product-line. Iridium plug production has been going strong for 20 years and Denso Robotics is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Currently the company is producing spark plugs in five plants across the globe and has responded to changing engine and market requirements to continue to develop spark plugs that meet the evolving needs of OE and aftermarket customers. Total spark plug production in 60 years would be 6 billion pieces.
Denso Iridium spark plugs, which are designed to meet increasing performance and longevity requirements worldwide, made their first appearance in 1997. Iridium plug production has reached one billion pieces.
Back in 1967 Robotics was relatively primitive, but Denso began developing state-of-the-art controllers, software and industrial robots that would change the face of automation. Presently the company is seen as an innovative leader in the field of robotics. More than 18,000 small industrial robots are being used in the company’s own manufacturing facilities and more than 77,000 additional robots are being used by other companies throughout the world.
“Denso has demonstrated its commitment to all of the markets it enters. These anniversaries are proof of not only our commitment but to the quality of the products we design and manufacture,” Mejaly said.
In North America the company is present in 16 locations. Recently it has opened a new OES sales office in Plano, Texas, to support the growing number of automotive customers in the region. “We are also greatly expanding our existing facilities. Our $1 billion investment in the Maryville, Tennessee, plant is very noteworthy. This investment is part of our continuing commitment to advancing automotive innovation in North America. We are creating 1,000 new production and support jobs to allow us to keep up with growing demand for our products. Our plans are to increase production for advanced safety, connectivity and electrification products, including radar components, battery sensors and inverters for hybrid and electric vehicles,” Haruhiko Hal Kato, President of the company said,
Asked how Denso is managing the SKUs(stock keeping units) when the automotive industry is going through volatile situation due to a few disruptive technologies like connected and autonomous cars, Daniel Muramoto, Department Manager, Marketing, Denso Products and Services Americas, told AutoParts Asia that there are two standards in the US and Canada – the Auto Care Association Catalogue Enhanced Standards (ACES) and Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) for players such as manufacturers, suppliers and distributors in the aftermarket, to follow. Europe also has a similar system.No such standards are prevalent in emerging markets.
“We have a central database in Japan linking everything. However, each region is set up to manually go out and collect the type of information, which will be fed back to the central database, to manage the SKUs across,” he said. The iridium spark plugs originated from the OE request as they wanted longer service intervals. Iridium was a big breakthrough as it managed to cover 100,000 miles.
Asked if Denso is working on some products for ADAS (advanced driver assist system) for the aftermarket, Muramoto said, “We are not allowed to speak about future products, but we are absolutely working on these kinds of products. We have just announced that we produce the largest, 24 inch heads-up display. We have also introduced haptics. We see a lot of options in the connected vehicle space.”