The next CoA (common, compact, collaborative) HVAC line started production at DENSO’s manufacturing facility in Battle Creek on July 22. Although it is the second CoA line, associates throughout the region made sure it is a project filled with firsts.
“The goal for this project was localization, and it was a huge development opportunity,” said Mike Curbey, HVAC Engineering Manager. “This is the first CoA line in the world to be built 100% locally.”
CoA2 is also the first HVAC line with IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity and the first line at DENSO in Battle Creek with a collaborative robot.
Senior Engineering Technician Eric Paulson said that the team at DENSO in Battle Creek worked closely with machine builders at DENSO in Maryville, Tennessee on the localization effort.
“One of our biggest challenges was helping the machine builders understand our needs exactly,” Eric said. “We were starting with something originally designed in Japan and asking the DENSO Tennessee team to build it to the specifications of our local needs in Michigan. We just had to figure all of that out.”
The new line will produce HVACs for three Subaru models produced in the United States. Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) has already recognized the line as a world-class process.
Congratulations to everyone that made the HVAC Auto Line 2 a reality over the last two years. This is a big step towards DENSO’s future!
DENSO was Emilee’s first job out of college. Nine years later – she’s still here getting things done, working in the Total Industrial Engineering (TIE) group in Athens, Tennessee. For Emilee, creativity is at the core of problem-solving and dealing with uncertainty.
From earning her Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Tennessee, to navigating her career path at DENSO, Emilee has long understood it takes creativity to solve difficult problems, deliver quality work and design innovative solutions.
“One of my first TIE projects at DENSO involved a machine modification. Before kaizen (improvement), there were many inefficiencies in the process. I used creativity to re-design this machine by building a mock model completely out of scrap cardboard. By using what was readily available, I quickly constructed a prototype that we could use in cross-functional team meetings. The model was detailed to the point where we could simulate the process flow with associates to get their feedback on the standard hand motions and product placement. This activity made it possible for us to understand the footprint requirements, estimate the cycle time and improve ergonomics before the final machine was constructed. We were able to save DENSO time and money by focusing on an efficient line from the design phase.
The future will require all of us to be innovative and work together. Don’t be afraid of your wild ideas. Speak up, be ambitious and work together to enhance the visions and dreams around you.”
– Emilee Davis, Total Industrial Engineering, Athens, TN
Every day at DENSO, someone is making a prototype for an automotive part. Now up in the North Office, the Internet of Things (IoT) Team is prototyping something drastically different—a modern office environment.
The IoT office space is filled with big blue couches, circular desks, bright bold colors and a whiteboard that spans the entire office. This prototype is based on one central concept—collaboration.
“We want to create an environment that encourages discussion and openness,” said Teresa Hansen, IoT Section Leader. “This helps encourage learning between senior staff and new staff.
Most DENSO office areas are a sea of grey or beige, so the IoT office stands out. But modern office environments are now commonly designed with color and collaboration in mind.
“I like the color scheme and all the little nooks where you can meet up,” IoT Programmer Nam Le said. “We couldn’t separate ourselves for focused time if we needed the seclusion before. Now the whole room is very flexible.”
As the war for talent gets more and more intense, job seekers are coming to expect modern, collaborative office environments. But even longtime associates like Advanced Software Developer Joe Delbridge love the IoT prototype office.
“It’s the first time in my 21 years that I have seen an office change this drastic… and it’s a great change.”
The door to the IoT office space is locked for security reasons, but Teresa said that this doesn’t mean associates aren’t welcome. In fact, anyone can stop by to take a look around, or bring their laptop along to try out one of the collaboration spaces.
“We want people to see this and want to be a part of it. We want this to show that we’re changing the game at DENSO.”
Contact Teresa or a member of the IoT team with questions or to set up a time.
At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we talked to Ridecell & ThinCI about our strategic partnerships & business opportunities. Our Senior Vice President of Engineering Bill Foy, and Tony Cannestra, director of Corporate Ventures, also weigh-in on why DENSO is partnering up.
You’ll hear more about our partnerships with these companies & others in months to come—stay tuned!
Bill Foy, senior vice president of Engineering at DENSO, and Tony Cannestra, director of Corporate Ventures, talk about why venture capital is an important, strategic move for DENSO.
Not only does investing in entrepreneurs and startups allow us to strengthen and grow our core automotive business, it allows us to branch out into new, emerging technology and non-automotive business areas. It also pushes DENSO to think differently.
Learn more from Bill and Tony in the video below:
For the 14th consecutive year, DENSO was at the North American International Auto Show in January, and this year, our technology, company leaders and recruiting events all focused on the same thing: how we adapt to the changing automotive industry.
DENSO’s Bill Foy, senior vice president of Engineering, spoke with Automotive News about the future of DENSO and transportation:
“We are retooling our whole strategic vision as a company,” Foy said. “Hardware remains very important for a vehicle, but we’re also moving to services [that enhance mobility], which is a whole different mindset for us as a company. Second, we used to be a company that did everything internally. Now, we are looking for partners beyond what we can do today. So, we can begin to create value for the future. And we used to be very Japan-centric. Now we are very global.
Beyond DENSO’s products, Foy said, the company is working on changing the mindset of employees. “How do we get the passion out of people, the maximum value and having them working on things that excite them?”
Safety Motion Function Facilitates Human-Robot Collaboration
LONG BEACH, Calif. — DENSO Robotics has announced a new RC8A robot controller that adds DENSO Safety Motion — which allows creation of virtual fences around the robot — to the list of advanced-performance features and functions already available with the previous RC8 model.
“As people and robots work more and more closely together, especially with the trend toward collaborative robots, new safety solutions are required,” said Peter Cavallo, robotics sales manager, DENSO Products & Services Americas, Inc. “Our Safety Motion function ensures that working environments stay safe for humans without compromising productivity.”
Safety Motion uses two optical sensors, one at the top and one at the bottom of the cell, to detect an approaching operator and control the speed of the robot accordingly. The sensors create virtual safe zones that trigger an incremental reduction in the speed of the robot to safe levels depending on the distance of the operator. When the operator reaches the closest zone, the robot reduces its motor torque and slows down sufficiently to allow the operator to safely interact with it, or stops entirely. As soon as the operator leaves, the robot automatically starts running at normal speed again, minimizing stoppage time.
With a footprint of only 12.5 x 14 inches and a height of only 3.69 inches, the RC8A continues the previous model’s standing as the world’s smallest industrial robot controller in the 3-kW output class. The compact size saves valuable factory floor space and facilitates integration.
DENSO’s ORiN open-resource interface networking system allows the RC8A to communicate with over 100 different types of devices. The controller’s wide range of communications interfaces includes 100 Base-T Ethernet, mini/hand I/O, RS-232C and USB as standard, with CC-Link, DeviceNet, EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, parallel discrete I/O, Profibus and Profinet as optional.
A Microsoft Windows-based graphical user interface reduces robot setup time. ISO and UL safety compliance allows global deployment.
Optional accessories include a teaching pendant with a large, 7.5-inch color touchscreen, a mini pendant with a 128 x 64 pixel LCD display, up to two additional axes and conveyor tracking. DENSO’s Wincaps III 3-D simulation software allows offline programming and remote monitoring of robot operation.
For more information about the RC8A robot controller, visit http://densorobotics.com/products/rc8a.
Did you know DENSO featured a line of robots at CES in 2017? DENSO’s COBOTTA robots showed CES guests what future, day-to-day life could be like if people and robots collaborated more. For instance, one of our robots acted as a “Barista-bot” that brewed and served coffee to our DENSO booth visitors on the spot!
A few other companies also showcased their own Barista-bots at CES. Wondering how DENSO’s robot barista fared against Bosch and Aubo? Click here to find out which bot made the best cup of joe.
More About Our DENSO Bots
DENSO has been a leader in manufacturing automation, including the design and manufacturing of industrial robot arms, since the 1960’s. Now, we use more than 17,000 of our own robots at DENSO manufacturing facilities across the globe. And, more than 85,000 DENSO robots are used for precision assembly, manufacturing, product testing and quality assurance by other companies worldwide.