Gestamp, a Spanish multinational specialising in the design, development and manufacture of automotive components, has opened a new R&D centre in Japan, which is improving the company’s previous R&D capabilities in the country.
Located in downtown Tokyo, the centre is equipped with simulation resources, including virtual crash tests and advanced simulation of hot stamping processes. This will give Gestamp comprehensive vehicle development capabilities for Chassis and Body in White (bodywork) with top-notch standards within the global R&D network.
The R&D centre will have a workforce of more than sixty employees. This new facility will enable the company to implement high technology in an early phase and will become the R&D hub for Japan, complemented with engineering teams working directly at customers’ sites.
Customers will thus be able to rely on this know-how close to them to create new concepts and incorporate Gestamp’s patents into their new platforms. The centre will form part of the Group’s global network, consisting of twelve R&D facilities plus one under construction.
Regarding Body in White, Gestamp will carry out in-depth research into its ‘soft zone’ patents, enabling it to incorporate different properties into a single part. For Chassis, the Group will implement its optimisation process, allowing manufacturers to save time and money while offering them different solutions with the highest ratios of satisfactory performance.
Co-development with Japanese customers
From this leading R&D centre in Japan, Gestamp will be able to co-develop projects jointly with Japanese customers. There are already ten co-development projects being run from this new facility.
Thanks to this facility, Gestamp will be able to carry out comprehensive Body in White and chassis development for any vehicle. This will continue with a tradition of know-how that began in 2009, when the Group's first engineers started joint development of models, such as the Honda Civic, as residents within the automakers' own plants.
“Gestamp has taken another step forward in consolidating our relationships with Japanese customers, with whom we aim to continue solid and long-term growth,” explained Francisco J. Riberas, Gestamp’s Chairman and CEO. “Thanks to our global
presence we will be able to support automakers with their local manufacturing, facilitating technology transfer,” he added.
In this regard, Gestamp’s President and CEO remarked that “this centre will drive the joint development of projects with Japanese manufacturers consolidating the strategy that we have been implementing over the past few years.”
Gestamp in Japan
The R&D centre in Tokyo is a complement to the plant that Gestamp is building in Matsusaka, Mie prefecture, which will come on stream in the first half of 2018. The new plant will involve an initial investment of 37 million euros, a figure that could reach up to 65 million euros (7.5 billion Japanese Yen) in a second expansion. It is expected to employ 70 people initially.
Gestamp will make metal Body in White components in its new Japanese factory using hot stamping technology, which plays a crucial role making vehicles both lighter and safer, and in which the Spanish multinational is the world leader.
With the start of its manufacturing activity in Japan and the commissioning of its new R&D centre, Gestamp aims to strengthen its strategic relationships with Japanese automakers, among them Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and Suzuki.
In 2016, Japanese manufacturers accounted for 7% of the Group’s sales, three times the 2010 percentage. Gestamp makes metal components for them in the US, China, Turkey, Brazil, the UK, France and Spain.
Japan’s importance in Gestamp’s international strategy is also reflected in its relationship with Mitsui group. At the end of 2016, the Japanese Group acquired 12.525% of Gestamp, after having been a joint venture partner in the Group’s North and South American operations since 2013.