Toyota has just presented its Global Technology & Development Award to Hydro - the No. 1 supplier of aluminium bumper beams.
Hydro's automotive structures plant in Holland, Michigan, captured the award for outstanding and innovative work in designing the aluminium bumper for Toyota's newest vehicle, the Venza.
Managing director Brian Ehler of the Holland plant personally received the honor from Toyota president and representative director Katsuaki Watanabe during a formal ceremony at Toyota City, Japan.
"Hydro wants to get closer to customers through innovation," he says. "This process has been a textbook example."
Innovative, cost-saving idea
Hydro's innovative bumper system utilizes a so-called "gooseneck" design that eliminates the need for crash boxes and fasteners. This results in less design complexity and a significant cost reduction - with improved performance - compared to conventional bumper systems.
The 7000-series aluminium alloy that Hydro utilizes in the bumpers provides high-strength performance without additional weight penalty.
Toyota had never used such an application before. In fact, this was the "world premiere" - the industry's first application of a non-resolutionized 7xxx gooseneck beam in series production.
Hydro began delivering aluminium bumper beams to Toyota in 2003, from its plants in Raufoss, Norway, and Holland, Michigan.
Hydro is also a long-time supplier of aluminium tubing to Japan-based Denso - and received awards in 2007 and 2008 for this work. Denso is a subsidiary company of Toyota and a major supplier of automotive air-conditioning systems to Toyota and Honda.
Hydro is the leading supplier of extruded aluminium bumper beams, delivering components for most of the world's largest producers of passenger vehicles.