AKEBONO REPORT 2013
As the first step, we began G5 activities (G5 refers to Japan,North America, Europe, China and Indonesia). One aim ofthese activities was to increase the speed of development bytaking advantage of the different time zones at each region’sdevelopment location. To do that, it’s necessary to commonizeand standardize the evaluation process as well asestablish communication and information sharing on a globallevel.On the other hand, occasionally a customer will have agrievance about a product that has passed testing, and weneed to bring that number down as close to zero as possible.A pressing issue is to build a highly reliable evaluation codeso that customers can say “If it passes Akebono’s tests,there’s no problem.”The present organization is divided into friction materialsand mechanisms, but, from the customer’s perspective,they’re all the same brakes. I’d like to be a responsive technicianwho understands all there is to know about brakes. I alsothink it’s necessary to strengthen the organization in such away that it nurtures these types of people. I’ll continue gainingdiverse experiences, aiming to be a well-rounded technician.In Charge of Akebono’s Vanguard? Developing High-Per formance and Next-GenerationBrakesAkebono is engaged in such future-oriented fields as fundamentalresearch into friction materials in addition todeveloping high-performance brakes based on motor sportsrelatedtechnologies.Tetsuya NoguchiJoined Akebono in 2001VCET (Vision Creative Engineering Team)“I want to uncover hidden needs and build brakes thathave functions unlike anything seen yet.”I was with Akebono Advanced Engineering (UK) Ltd. (AAE) inthe United Kingdom for the last five years and contributed tothe development of Formula 1 brakes. Now I’m at VCET andam responsible for the development of products for high-endcars, including motorsports vehicles and commercial supercars.VCET spearheads Akebono’s ambition to become a globalbrake expert. The Formula 1 project strengthens Akebono’sbrand and encourages on-site problem solving while nurturinghuman resources and increasing motivation. The technologicalknow-how and development speed cultivated amid incessantcompetitive development ties into our concept ofadvancing technologies for the future. We cannot overlook theeffect of our reliability and technological capabilities on ourappeal to top European automakers.Going forward, increasing emphasis will be placed onimproving performance by, for example, reducing weight andimproving cooling. My current target is to develop super highperformancebrakes unlike any other but that can be massproducedand thereby uncover hidden needs.Improving Operational Processes from anEvaluative Perspective?Evaluation & AnalysisThe Testing & Analysis Department scrutinizes the performanceof prototypes. We actively make proposals for commonizingtest items in line with C&S+t and are building anevaluation system that is suited to each global location.Nobue AbeJoined Akebono in 2005R&D Division, Testing & AnalysisDepartment“I’d like to streamline and accelerate the developmentand design process through proactive communication.”I’m responsible for evaluating friction materials under development.My main duties are operating the testing equipment andanalyzing the results before any new materials are installed inactual automobiles. After concluding sensory evaluations fornoise and vibration, as well as evaluations for environmentalperformance and durability, products that pass testing will goon to actual automobile evaluation on a test track.Tests are repeated several times before a product isallowed to pass. Although it is possible to reduce the numberof steps involved and shorten the development period, it isimpossible to reduce the time taken by durability testing. Thequestion is how we can achieve the right balance betweenquality and quick development. Another necessary considerationis the manner in which we give feedback on numericalresults to the people in charge of development and design.The data used in decision making is ultimately based on thenumerical values generated by the testing equipment, butthese require visual aids such as graphs in order to be understood.The evaluation items differ from customer to customer.There are also instances in which we propose evaluationitems to better meet specific requirements.Because evaluation tests are expensive, I try my best tokeep testing to the very minimum by communicating with thepeople in charge of development and design. We are currentlybuilding a data system that the people can refer to beforemaking test requests.I’m considering making evaluation devices that are bothpeople- and environment-friendly as an initiative going forward.I’m especially concerned about the burden on the operator’sbody of handling jigs.? Because jigs can weigh up to 15kilograms, I’d like to make improvements to save as muchlabor as possible.Shin NakazawaJoined Akebono in 2006R&D Division, Testing & AnalysisDepartment“I’d like to establish an evaluation process thatmakes us absolutely trustworthy all over the world.”I’m responsible for evaluation and analysis. It’s a big challengealso for analyzers to incorporate the GPF and C&S+t.