Products (Transport Instrument - Automobile Parts)
Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. : Automatic Transmissions
Aisin is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of automotive parts. The company produces over 10,000 of the approximately 30,000 that are said to comprise a single car. Aisin’s wide product line up includes: exterior parts such as door handles and sunroofs; parts that function when the vehicle is in motion ( accelerating, making turns, stopping) such as engines, automatic transmissions, and breaks; and even information equipment such as car navigation systems.
Aisin was quick to expand on the success of its domestic market performance by entering the global market. In 1969, Aisin established Aisin-Warner (Aisin AW today), a joint venture with BorgWarner, an American automotive parts manufacturer. In 1970 Aisin-Warner opened its first sales office in the USA and then in Mexico in 1973. Since then, the company has also established research institutes and manufacturing facilities overseas. As of 2012, Aisin controls 101 overseas subsidiary companies, making it a truly global corporation. Currently, overseas markets account for 30% of total Aisin sales. One of Aisin’s subsidiary companies, Aisin AW, specializes in the manufacture of automatic transmissions and holds the largest share in the global automatic transmission market. Its products are used in vehicles made by over 40 automotive manufacturers worldwide, and in 2006, Aisin AW succeeded in launching the world’s first commercially available RWD 8-speed automatic transmission.
Driving Japan: Pioneering Automatic Transmissions from Aisin
Aisin automatic transmissions have a long history. In 1961, Aisin was assigned the production of Toyota’s Toyoglide, the first automatic transmission made in Japan; this prompted Aisin’s success in setting up the first mass production of automatic transmissions in Japan. Since then, the company has continued to develop and produce innovative automatic transmissions with world-class performance; some of Aisin’s most significant products are introduced below.
1977: World’s First 4-Speed Automatic Transmission with Overdrive
An overdrive gear was added to a 3-speed automatic transmission, along with improvements made to fuel economy and noise at higher driving speeds. As a result, Toyota Crowns equipped with this automatic transmission established technical superiority over other car models on the market.
1981: Automatic Transmissions for Japanese Kei Cars
From 1980, Aisin semi-automatic transmissions were mounted inside Suzuki’s Alto 550cc engine cars. This semi-automatic transmission the predecessor for the A110, the world’s first kei car-specific fully automatic transmission, mass-produced from 1982.
2006: TL-80SN – World’s First High-Performance RWD 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
The TL-80SN, manufactured by Aisin AW and co-developed with Toyota, boasted the following distinctive features:(1) Simultaneously offering improved fuel economy and outstanding driving experience, realized by a high acceleration performance in combination with high torque engines;
(2) Reduced weight due to integration of the housing (converter housing and extension housing) into the case;
(3) Low noise and high shift performance suitable for luxury vehicles.
Currently, Aisin is also working on the development and production of hybrid transmissions suitable for next-generation eco cars such as hybrid and electric cars. Competition to develop of hybrid transmissions is fierce worldwide, but Aisin, with its exceptional talent and innovative ideas, is sure to maintain its competitive advantage.
Aisin’s Commitment to Quality
In addition to its automatic transmissions, Aisin is renowned for having introduced various automotive parts to the world. Take, for example, voice navigation systems. They were first developed in 1992, and since then have been developed to be adaptable to over 50 countries and regions. Now, Aisin’s share of the global market for car navigation systems is 15.9%, the highest in the world. Other examples of successful Aisin automotive products include vehicle support systems that assist with driving, parking, driver vision, and safety. Aisin was the first to commercialize many of these systems.
Since its establishment, Aisin has upheld its principle of testing its automotive parts in-house before releasing them to customers. To that end, in 1970 the company constructed a proving ground facility with a testing track in Fujioka (Aichi prefecture, Japan). Here, automotive parts are mounted onto a test vehicle, and then evaluated on criteria such as safety, environmental impact, and durability based on the vehicle’s test drive results. Aisin constructed an additional proving ground facility in Toyokoro (Hokkaido, Japan) in 1992, and a further facility in Fowlerville (Michigan, USA) in 2005, making a current total of three testing tracks.
Elsewhere, Aisin continues to pursue the development of unique production technologies that cannot be easily replicated by other companies, with a commitment to deliver outstanding products every day. In addition to developing original construction methods and manufacturing equipment, the company is also dedicated to nurturing talent. Workshops are run on a daily basis to foster manufacturing innovation among employees, enabling them to go on to play major roles in the world of automotive manufacturing.
Aisin has also made use of the outstanding production technologies for automotive parts that its corporate principles have cultivated in order to engage in the research and development of home living products, fuel cells, and lasers. Among the company’s increasing line up of products are beds, sewing machines, shower-toilet seats, air-conditioning equipment, and products designed to enhance care for the elderly and other persons needing care assistance. Recently, Aisin has also been developing femtosecond fiber lasers and bio-related apparatus, including a device able to detect trace amounts of substances.
Amid the great changes that the automotive industry—challenged by the introduction of electric and hydrogen cars—now faces, Aisin continues to pursue research and development focused on answering the needs of the future. This is a major corporation that supplies products worldwide, and Aisin’s global growth is sure to step up a gear. The evolution of the company will mirror the continuous evolution of its products, changing and adapting throughout history to make a positive impact on the lives of people around the world.
10 August, 2012
About the author
Hiromi Jitsukata is a reporter for Japanest NIPPON