WIXOM, Mich., June 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Kiekert, the technology leader in automotive locking systems, will invest $1 million to expand its U.S. development and manufacturing center in Wixom this year.
In total, Kiekert will have invested more than $2.2 million to expand its local test and prototype-development facilities and increase production capacity in the U.S. since 2013.
The improvements will nearly triple production at the Wixom plant from 350,000 door-latch modules in 2013 to more than 1 million units this year. The expansion adds 15,000 square feet to the now 50,000-square-foot Wixom facility.
As the lead engineering and program management center for the NAFTA region, Kiekert's Wixom location and its sister plant in Mexico are responsible for nearly $200 million in annual revenue. Today Kiekert has a market share of 25 percent in the NAFTA region, selling to the U.S. Big Three and other North American auto manufacturers.
"Starting in 1994, Kiekert Wixom became a sought-after partner for R&D in North America," said Mike Hietbrink, general manager Kiekert USA and global sales director. "We will continue our path of innovation and exploring global mega trends such as autonomous driving, interconnectivity and digital solutions to serve the rising needs of our customers."
Kiekert has more than 20 technology development projects underway with carmakers that could lead to series production in the coming years. Recent projects include the E-Latch, the LED-Latch and the Kiekert i-protect.
With Kiekert E-Latch, contact with an electronic touch sensor on the door's "outer skin" opens a vehicle door automatically. The system offers lower operating forces and an improved door-handle look-and-feel. E-Latches offer wide-ranging styling and design options, including integration of the handle within the door or dispensing with it altogether.
E-Latches are more compact, have fewer components and weigh less than today's locking systems. For safety's sake, it offers full mechanical redundancy to guarantee operation in the event of a power failure.
"Our E-Latch opens up a new world of forward-looking locking-system solutions for vehicle makers," noted Hector Verde, Kiekert's director of product development for the Americas. E-Latch will go into production in 2017.
Kiekert's LED-Latch provides safety features as well as various design options. The integrated LED in the latch is clearly visible in the dark throughout the entire door opening, in contrast to more narrowly focused door-warning lights. The LED system also offers a choice of color and brightness to meet individual customer preferences.
The LED-Latch can be used in any vehicle and also can be used on rear compartment latches, providing a trunk light. It also can be used in conjunction with Kiekert's new E-Latch system.
Kiekert i-protect prevents car doors from unintentionally striking nearby objects. The
i-protect features a camera sensor that detects nearby vehicles or obstacles and is paired with an innovative door-brake system to prevent door dings or dents.
The system was developed from concept to prototype in just six months and was suggested by a group of high school students in Cologne, Germany, who won an award for the idea in a national "business@school" contest in Germany. The i-protect system will be available for series production by 2020.
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About Kiekert AG – www.kiekert.com
Kiekert AG, founded in 1857, is the worldwide market leader in automotive locking systems. With more than 5,800 employees in 10 countries, as well as seven production, six development and two sales centers, Kiekert develops, produces and sells tailor-made customer solutions around the clock. Turnover for the 2015 business year was 825 million euros and is expected to rise to more than 860 million euros in 2016.
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