We place a high priority on being able to enact weight reduction actions to your current vehicle by optimizing the part design as well as utilizing lightweight material substitutions. In addition, we aggressively respond to automotive OEMs' requests by maximizing our leading-edge casting and surface treatment technologies.
Suspension Components and Materials
- High-Vacuum Aluminum Die Castings
By adopting die castings, the number of component items at the front frame has been considerably reduced and vehicle mass has decreased by approximately 30% compared with traditional component manufacturing methods. The HIVAC-V (Hitachi Vacuum Die Casting Method), an improved method of vacuum die casting, and the development of high-strength, high-toughness materials for die casting have made possible the use of die castings for suspension and frame components that require maximum strength and toughness.
By converting to high strength/toughness HIVAC-V die castings, the number of individual components making up the snowmobile frame has been dramatically reduced as well as realizing a 30% weight reduction versus conventional stamped steel/welded components.
- Semi-Solid Aluminum Die Castings
The SSM (Semi-Solid Metal Casting) process was developed for aluminum suspension components of which the primary requirements are high strength and high toughness. Hitachi Metals' SSM process does not use commercial SSM globular microstructure billets. Instead, we form the special microstructure (which provides maximum strength) by stirring electro-magnetically molten aluminum already in the shot sleeve. This process improves the strength and toughness of aluminum components of which performance is compatible to aluminum forged products. Semi-solid die castings thus contribute to reducing the weight of overall car suspension parts such as suspension links, upper arms and lower arms.
- High-Quality Aluminum Alloy Castings
The FAHM (Feed and Heat Management) process is a die casting method that has a sophisticated conventional permanent mold die design and uses HOAN technologies by drawing on CAE technology. The combination of using a simulation model for molten liquid flow and solidification at the product design stage along with molten liquid cleaning technology, has enabled stable mechanical properties for castings. This process excels in cost performance compared with the liquid forging process because hollow shapes can be molded. The aluminum alloy components produced with this process help reduce the weight of suspension components such as knuckle housings.
- "HNM™ Series" High-Toughness Ductile Iron Castings
Hitachi Metals' unique HNM™ series of castings offer distinctive features such as improved low-temperature toughness and superior dimensional precision. Using our time-honored casting design and development expertise, HNM castings are delivered in a near-net-shape state, which results in more lightweight components and a further reduction of automobile weight. These iron castings are suitable for a variety of automotive parts including suspension and driving system components.
- SCUBA™ Wide-Rimmed Aluminum Wheels Provide Sophisticated Design
By using CAE technology, SCUBA™ wide-rimmed aluminum wheels are able to offer both sophisticated design and light weight. Regarding spoke design, a 3.5-degree minimum thickness of 3.0 mm. These features have enhanced car designers' ability to create aluminum wheels with an attractive appearance.