The Front end of a vehicle is the aggregate of components located in its front part which carry out many functions (esthetical, structural, aerodynamical, engine cooling, safety) and which are preassembled as subassembly ready to be installed into the vehicle.
The Front end is based on a structural carrier (in plastics with local metal reinforcements) on which the following main components are assembled:
headlamps bonnet lock horns fan shroud water radiator condenser fan fan controller wiring harness crash-box beam
Furthermore, for top versions, the following components can be added:
The Front end is a basic part of the vehicle chassis and external style and has to accomplish the following functions:
style in order to make pleasant to sight and touch the different surfaces and the fit and finish between the esthetical components
active safety allowing through the headlamps a correct visibility in all environmental conditions and through the cruise control sensor to keep the correct distance from the preceding vehicle
passive safety absorbing energy during the crash and allowing through the crash sensor the timely air-bags explosion
protection of the other road users (pedestrians, cyclists) assuring an adequate space between the vehicle external surfaces and the underlying components
stiffness collaborating during both driving and crashes to vehicle chassis structural function
aerodynamics and cooling carrying out an optimal air flow both for engine cooling system components operation (during both normal and low speed driving) and for permeability increase
Car makers requirements have in the last years rapidly changed imposing to the biggest suppliers a complete reorganisation both from technical and management point of view , as they have to move from components suppliers to systems and modules suppliers.
DENSO Thermal Systems S.p.A. has carried out this process extending its own competence area from engine cooling systems to the development and assembly of complete Front end modules.
The advantages of the modular approach to the Front end for the car makers are:
Cost and weight reduction of the components located in the front part of the vehicle due to components integration on the Front end and to improvement of Front end assembly process carried out of the main vehicle assembly line
improvement of fit and finish between the components as the structural carrier is the unique reference for all of them
vehicle assembly time reduction
components number reduction
main vehicle assembly line reduction
suppliers number reduction
product combinations reduction
project development and supply cost reduction
ergonomy improvement in the vehicle assembly line and in after sales allowing an easier access to the engine compartment
cost reduction for repair after low speed crashes
DENSO Thermal Systems S.p.A. is now assembling the Front end for Fiat Stilo (for which it has also carried out the project development activity) in its own plants of Cassino (Italy) and Betim (Brazil).