Modularizing Front-End Assemblies

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Carmakers are turning to specialty suppliers to preassemble complex front-end modules that can then be plugged into a vehicle as it moves down the assembly line.

About one-third of the world’s vehicles are assembled this way, and the ratio is rising, says Tayyab Khan, director of engineering for HBPO North America Inc. HBPO is German-based venture equally owned by Hella, Behr and Plastic Omnium that specializes in front-end modules.

HBPO integrates an ever-increasing array of parts and electronics and takes full responsibility for the performance of the resulting assembly. Khan says the technique is being used across multiple body types and for both low- and high-volume models.