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Latest Information 2016 Vol. 461

A large-scale production started for the components used in Toyota’s fourth-generation Prius

The Sumitomo Electric Group has started a large-scale production of components used in Toyota’s fourth-generation Prius, including wiring harness products (such as underfloor pipe harnesses and power cables), flat winding magnet wires for hybrid motors, sintered parts, and electronic parts. Sales of the car started last December.

The underfloor pipe harness is a high-voltage harness located under the floor of a hybrid electrical vehicle (HEV), which includes wires conducting high current to the battery from the inverter in an aluminum pipe. The aluminum pipe has the functions of reducing the impact from electromagnetic waves and protecting the internal wires from pebbles and gravel. Newly developed high-strength aluminum wires were adopted to satisfy customer requirement for weight reduction, while securing flex resistance.

We reviewed the materials for flat winding magnet wires for hybrid motors and succeeded in thinning films while retaining electric insulating capacity. In addition, we achieved uniform film thickness by reviewing the production method. This enabled us to wind magnet coils in higher density, downsize hybrid motors, and contribute to fuel efficiency and cost reduction.

We also develop and start production of many other products related to automobile industry, such as the Central Gateway that sustains multi-channel vehicle communication network, the sintered part Geocloid™ Rotor that contributes to the efficiency of hybrid system by employing the teeth form developed by us, and the high-voltage harness Power Cable that connects the invertor and motor of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

During the Prius Line-off Ceremony and Project Award, our underfloor pipe harness was awarded the Chief Engineer Special Prize and our flat winding magnet coil was awarded the Technology Prize.

The Sumitomo Electric Group will continue to provide products that respond to the diverse needs of society by exerting the comprehensive strength of the group.

Automotive Business Unit, Magnet Wire Div

Development and production of high-strength aluminum alloy electric wires

The Sumitomo Electric Group has developed and started production of high-strength aluminum alloy electric wires, which have excellent strength and vibration-resistance, for the automotive industry.

Today, due to environmental protection measures, higher and higher fuel efficiency is demanded for automotive components, in addition to safety and comfortability. Consequently, wiring harnesses, which could weigh 20 to 30 kg per car, are not excluded from the demand for weight reduction.

Under these circumstances, to apply aluminum wires instead of conventional copper wires to automotive wiring harnesses, the Sumitomo Electric Group started development early and first employed aluminum wires in an interior wiring harness in 2010. The company has led the industry as the top runner in its time of launching and in the number of car models in which the harnesses are installed. However, the standard aluminum alloy wires developed at that time had poor vibration resistance in comparison with conventional copper wires, thus limiting application to the interior wiring and instrumental panel wiring.

As shown in the table below, the Sumitomo Electric Group has newly developed high-strength aluminum alloy electric wires by newly composing our own aluminum alloy, which exceeds the properties of conventional copper. The development has expanded use to applications involving more severe vibration, such as engine harness. Our product has been adopted in the engine harness of North American CIVIC by Honda and a large quantity has been produced since the end of last year. It is the first time in the world that aluminum wires have been adopted in engine harness.

The Sumitomo Electric Group will continue working on further technical development to achieve a better society in the future.

Material (New development)
High-strength aluminum alloy
Standard aluminum alloy Copper
Strength (MPa) 250 120 220
Specific gravity (g/cm2) 2.7 2.7 8.9
Automotive Business Unit

Thomson Reuters 2015 Top 100 Global Innovators Award

The trophy was awarded to Makoto Nakajima, Senior Managing Director of Sumitomo Electric from Yoshiko Tanahashi, Vice President, Japan Sales, Thomson Reuters Professional KK.
The trophy was awarded to Makoto Nakajima, Senior Managing Director of Sumitomo Electric from Yoshiko Tanahashi, Vice President, Japan Sales, Thomson Reuters Professional KK.

Sumitomo Electric was selected for the 2015 Top 100 Global Innovators award by Thomson Reuters, a global information services company, and received a trophy on January 15 from the company.

This award selects a business leader in the world, who protects a unique invention by intellectual property right and successfully commercializes the idea. The company received the Award for the fifth consecutive year, and for the seventh time.

For us, it is the first award since 2014 and our fourth award in total. We understand that the award recognizes our group’s comprehensive efforts. The Sumitomo Electric Group will continue developing new and unique technology, by anticipating the trends of changes in society and technology and exerting our outstanding creativity.

New production site for cutting tools is established in Fukushima

Cemented carbide tools
Cemented carbide tools
Steel tools (cutter)
Steel tools (cutter)

Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal Corporation will establish a new company to produce cutting tools in Fukushima in April 2016. The new company will produce carbide drills and steel tools from November 2017 and enhance our global supply capacity. In the premises, the Tool Engineering Center will be established to accommodate customer’s technical consultation and test machining, thus enhancing customer services in the Tohoku region.

Sumitomo Electric’s cemented carbide tools, IGETALLOY™ made mainly from tungsten, are the crystallization of our cutting-edge technologies of powder metallurgy, machining, and surface treatment. The products are widely used in many industries such as automobile, iron and steel, machinery, aircraft, electrical and electronics, retaining the largest market share in Japan. In particular, the cemented carbide drill, MULTI-DRILL™, using unique blade shape and special materials of our own, is highly appreciated by customers and expanding the demands. Therefore, we determined to establish a new company with the state-of-the-art production facilities for these products. Also, we will create a dedicated line for regrinding services, which is indispensable in the business of drilling tools, and develop a framework to provide customers in the Tohoku region with reliable services in a short period of time. In addition, due to rapidly growing demand for steel tools that hold indexable inserts, one of our main products, we will install a new highly efficient production line to enhance our global supply.

In the premises, we will establish a Tool Engineering Center, our sixth such facility in Japan, to accommodate customer’s individual technical consultation and demonstrate our machining solution by using the latest facilities to help solve customer problems.

The Sumitomo Electric Group will continue to make efforts for the restoration of the Tohoku region affected by the East Japan Earthquake by establishing these facilities and providing customers with excellent products and services that satisfy their requirements.

[Outline of the new company]

Tohoku Sumiden Seimitsu Co., Ltd. (tentative name)
production of cutting tools
Tamura West Industrial Park, Miharu, Tamura-gun, Fukushima (planned)
100 million yen
April 2016
Start of operation
November 2017 (planned)
Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal Corporation

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