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Global Leader Hella Produces 100-Millionth Electronic Pedal Sensor

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PLYMOUTH, Mich.March 24, 2009: Automotive supplier Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. marked a major milestone in mid-February, producing its 100-millionth electronic pedal-sensor module at its plant in Recklinghausen, Germany.

Hella’s first-generation of electronic pedal modules were made in 1996 in Recklinghausen. Today, more than 500 Hella employees are involved in the production of electronic pedal modules worldwide. In addition to the Recklinghausen plant, the company now serves its customers from locations in China, India, Mexico, Romania, the U.S. and Korea.

Hella supplies nearly every automotive and several commercial vehicle manufacturers worldwide, with the Asia-Pacific region being a key growth market. The latest generation of pedal modules features more electronic capabilities, while being 50 percent lighter and more compact than the first units produced in 1996.

With government regulations requiring the auto industry to drastically improve fuel economy and trim greenhouse gases by the middle of the next decade, various electronic technologies, such as Hella’s pedal module, are essential to implementing energy-saving vehicle strategies, according to Dr. Martin Fischer, president of Hella Corporate Center USA and Hella Electronics Corporation.

“Our sensor module has replaced mechanical accelerator pedals in nearly all new vehicles,” Fischer said. “Our pedal module is a basic prerequisite for environmentally-friendly e-gas systems that reduce fuel consumption and emissions.”

Hella was one of the first automotive suppliers to develop integrated electronic pedal-sensor modules for gasoline and diesel engines, added Winfried Menge, vice president of Marketing and Business Development for Hella Electronics Corporation. Today they are used in passenger cars, commercial vehicles and in electric vehicles.

“Hella was one of the first companies to recognize the trend toward vehicle mechatronics – components that marry mechanical and electrical control units – in the early 1990s,” Menge said. “Since producing our first ‘accelerate-by-wire’ system in 1996, it took us six years to cross the 10-million-unit milestone in 2002. Less than seven years after that accomplishment, we crossed the 100-million-unit threshold.”

The company now is the global market leader in this product segment.

Hella’s pedal sensors record the position of the pedal and generate the vehicle-specific pedal characteristic, meaning how the pedal "feels" when operated, Menge said. “Our pedal sensors are designed so that the pedal, the pedal-force generation and signal generation are combined in one modular unit.”

The central element of the accelerator pedal sensor is the position sensor for recording the driver's intention. Hella’s pedal sensor records the position of the pedal as the driver accelerates from idle to full throttle. The distance measured is converted to an electric signal and sent to the engine controller. The controller calculates how much air and fuel is required to achieve the speed indicated by the pedal movement.

In addition to using proven potentiometer technology for the position sensor, Hella uses its own development, the contactless sensor concept CIPOS® (contactless inductive position sensor). Hella’s cost-effective CIPOS technology has been in series production since 1999 and can be easily integrated into various systems.