Modules are becoming more and more popular. What is meant, is that components or groups of components, are pooled together in a certain area in the vehicle, even if they belong to varyious systems. This process began in the assembly, even before 1990 and had, at least for the manufacturer, definite advantages, since a large amount of the development and testing was taken over by the suppliers. This system brought the suppliers closer to the manufacturers, sometimes even onto the same premises.
The cooling modules have become an integral part of the body-work. They are also included when crash testing is done. For a long time now, not all the components are mounted directly onto the radiator. There is now a sturdy frame, where even individual components can be exchanged. The module used in the Porsche Cayenne (see picture 1 and 2) differs from that in the Ford Fiesta (see picture 3), alone from the cooling requirements and the complexity of the headlamps. Indeed, what they have in common, is that they both constitute the connection between the two front ends of the frame rails. They are mostly bolted on and can e.g., be easily removed if the engine has to be taken out.
Have a look at picture 4, here you can see the assembly and you'll notice, that this is by no means a so-called cooling module, but a complete frontend, which only has to be installed and connected on the manufacturer's assemly-line. In this case, the suppliers have come together for the manufacture of this, and other frontends. It may also have been developed by the manufacturer, then farmed out for the production, either that, or the supplier has done the development work as well.
Thus, the frontend of the vehicle is open. Their frame-rails only take on an accident minimising structure through the frontend, by the way, currently also with the respective pedestrian protection and sometimes complimented by the so-called crash-boxes, which absorb the impact with a solid object at up to 16 km/h. Of course, the headlamp construction and the cooling system is also included. The order is important for the latter. Below are some of the possible functional elements:
The influence on the design of the vehicle should also not be underestimated. Sometimes, in the course of a face-lifting, the manufacturer only alters a few details on the frontend or the headlamps. It slowly dawns on one, what the torso looks like at the beginning of the final assembly, 'the marriage' between the drive train and possibly the chassis. It has no doors and up front the bonnet is raised high, showing the two frame rails jutting out.
This is because even the mudguards or not what they once were. To protect against stone and gravel damage, they have been extended far around the front corners and are of course, made of plastic. The fitting to the respective car, is done at an exactly determined point during the assembly. The seating, often also a supplier component, is even more precise. It must be delivered exactly in a certain direction and a certain order.
In addition to the demands made on the frontend, the locking mechanism of the bonnet must still be installed. Even a certain amount of the electronics ventures into this region, although, one is not that keen on installing e.g., the CAN-Bus in such insecurely locked places, like, e.g., the headlamp area. Indeed, there is still the LIN-Bus, which is much less sensitive to data-technical break-ins from the outside.
For a long time now, the suppliers have been called in very early in the development of new models. After all, the frontend is an important part of the design. And to cope with the complex regulations governing the protection of pedestrians lower limbs- and recently also upper thighs and children's heads, special attention is given to creating the front of the car, which means, the frontend and the bonnet must be composed, so to speak, as a duett. 01/14