Front-end modules: We give cars a face
The front-end module is a key design element for a vehicle and its identity. The module’s outline contributes to the vehicle’s characteristic look, while the equipment it contains adds directly to its safety and reliable operation. From design to development, through assembly and logistics operations, the Group’s solutions are tailored for each customer, including over 140 parts and allowing for over 15,000 different combinations for the same car model.
90 million vehicles are manufactured every year – on third of these have a modularised vehicle front: a front-end module (FEM). We are the world’s leading supplier of integrated front-end modules. Every sixth module produced globally comes from a HBPO location. We offer a wide range of project levels, from simple assembly projects to in-house developments, and we have a wide customer base as well. We supply an entire range of automakers, from small car to SUV manufacturers. All customers have their own special requirements – no two front-end modules are the same. We produce up to 15,000 different front-end module variants!
What is a front-end module?
People are characterized by their outward appearance – and it’s the same with cars! As a front-end module specialist, we offer customised solutions. A front-end module is made up of up to 140 individual parts with several thousand variations (color, materials etc.). Our customers – of one world’s major vehicle manufacturers – only need a few screws to attach the finished module in series production.
All front-end modules have one thing in common: the front-end carrier. This can be made of different materials – light construction materials such as magnesium are taken into account, as is the common method of metal hybrid engineering.
Depending on customer wishes and requirements, the following are mounted on the front-end carrier:
- Cooling components
- Air control systems (e.g. Active Grille Shutter)
- Main headlamps
- Bumper cover
What requirements do front-end modules have to fulfil?
As with people, it’s the inner values that count with front-end modules as well. During development and construction, central questions and functions play a major role:
- Guaranteeing so-called vehicle front rigidity
- Attachment between the components of a front-end module and the entire vehicle
- Integration of a crash management system (CMS) with pedestrian protection
- Integration of components for occupant protection
- Integration of functions to see and be seen
- Sealing function for hot air from the engine
- Air routing function and regulation of the air guide system
Our development and construction engineers keep track of these front-end moule requirements during the entire product development. We work very closely with our customers in this phase of product creation.
Our customers send us their design for the vehicle front about three years before the start of series production – often together with information about the area close to the front-end module. Then our HBPO development department gets to work. The scope of performance is defined in a requirement specification, on the basis of which our colleagues know exactly which requirements the finished module has to fulfil. A closely-knit coordination and development process takes place until the product is ready for series production. Our modules are always put through their paces up to start of production (SOP) – by means of simulation programs or in the wind tunnel, for example.
What are the advantages of a front-end module?
Our front-end modules offer our customers – all leading vehicle manufacturers – a large number of advantages:
- Our front-end modules make series production easier for the vehicle manufacturer. They get a completely assembled front-end module that has been developed, constructed, produced and delivered taking maximum quality requirements into account. In other words, HBPO takes over the logistics and quality assurance in addition to assembly. We are completely responsible for the development, the integration of the required components and the procurement of all parts. We don’t disappear when production starts either: we are still there for our customers and take care of complaints management.
- Vehicle manufacturers require less logistics space for storing components. Capacity and space limits in existing plants are aspects in favor of support through HBPO.
- Front-end modules help to shorten the assembly line and make it possible to build more vehicles an hour. We supply the finished front-end modules directly to the customer’s production line just-in-sequence, ready for immediate fitting.
- Front-end modules contribute reducing vehicle weight and thus CO₂ emissions.