All-in-One Package for the Front End

One component, multiple functions: the trend is towards module design in automotive construction. The same applies to the vehicle front. As a recognized specialist in active grille shutter systems, Röchling Automotive has now reached a milestone on its journey to becoming a module supplier.

“In cooperation with the automotive manufacturer Ford Motor Company, we have integrated a full-face active grille shutter system into the front-end carrier of the new Ford Focus,” reports Peter Dill, Director Product Area Aerodynamics at Röchling Automotive. The system, which has already entered series production, is used as the basis for the pre-assembly of the front module.

The full-face active grille shutter system from Röchling Automotive has already been used in the Ford Focus since 2011. However, it was previously installed as a single system and not structurally integrated into the front-end carrier. The integration of the “full-face” shutter into the front-end carrier now eliminates the need for additional components and work steps. Wind tunnel tests have also shown that the new solution achieves optimized sealing.

Significantly Reduced Complexity

During the complete restructuring of the front end, the radiator frame was designed so that different sized cooling packages could be integrated. One component is therefore suitable for use in different model variants, which significantly reduces complexity. As an integral structural component, the full-face shutter is able to absorb and distribute the expected forces in the event of an accident. This means it meets all safety-related requirements, such as crash behavior or pedestrian protection. A notable benefit is that optimum energy absorption results in a more favorable insurance rating. Therefore, Ford customers are also financially better 
off due to the safety optimizations of the front of the Ford Focus.

Other components are also integrated into the system, such as the brackets for the headlights and crash sensors with the necessary wiring. “Guiding the engine intake air duct around the integrated, central hood lock was a particular challenge. However, after intensive simulations, it was possible to do so,” says Dill. Röchling Automotive has ventured into uncharted territory with its new concept and it has paid off. Several customers are already showing interest in the integration of the active grille shutter system in the front-end carrier, as it is an evolutionary development in the front area of the vehicle that can be integrated effectively into existing platforms within a short time frame. “We are delighted that we have made such an important step towards becoming a front-end module supplier with this project and we would like to thank Ford for the excellent collaboration,” says Dill.


Peter Dill

Röchling Automotive

Director Product Area Aerodynamics

Phone: +49 841 953 59-10