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onda Manufacturing of Alabama Celebrates

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Have you ever wondered where your Honda came from? Honda has a number of manufacturing facilities across the country that all specialize in particular areas. This week, one facility in particular has something to celebrate.

This month marked the tenth anniversary of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA). On November 14, 2001, the Alabama manufacturing facility began production on the Odyssey minivan.

Located in Lincoln, Alabama, the facility is responsible for the global production of Odyssey minivans, Pilot sport utility vehicles and Ridgeline pick-up trucks, plus V-6 engines. The plant has an annual production capacity for 300,000 vehicles and V-6 engines, and is the largest Honda light truck production source in the world. HMA performs a number of operations, including stamping, welding, painting, casting, assembly and sub-assembly, testing, quality assurance, and more.

Honda recently announced that it would be investing an additional $84 million to the Alabama facility. The funding will help increase production by another 40,000 vehicles and provide 100 new jobs. The Alabama facility already employs over 4,000 associates, and a recent addition provided a new Honda Engineering facility, on-site consolidation center and steel blanking operation.

Like Honda Motors, the Alabama facility is a leader in environmental innovation and stewardship and has dedicated a company-wide commitment to maintaining the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. HMA was actually the first Honda facility to introduce a zero-waste-to-landfill commitment when it first opened in 2001. Today, HMA is one of ten Honda Zero Landfill Facilities, and the other four facilities are “virtually zero” waste to landfill. HMA has also received Energy Star wards from the EPA based on the facility’s advances in reducing energy usage in the production process.

HMA has established itself as an environmental leader and has seen much success in the past decade. Hopefully we will see the same success and leadership in the decade to come.

Source: Honda Alabama


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What is Honda Performance Development?

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Honda Performance Development (HPD) is Honda’s racing design and development company, responsible for supplying engines to the IndyCar series, American Le Mans Series and European Lea Mans series. They specialize in designing engines, parts, and chassis for racing vehicles of all types, from race cars to go-karts. The company is now also offering parts to grassroots racing programs. According to Lee Niffenegger, Senior Engineer at HPD, “anything that Honda builds, we try to race.”

Members of HPD’s Honda Racing Line program can get technical support from engineers at HPD and can buy OE parts and HPD parts developed specifically for racing. Honda Racing Line members can be entry level or professional racers.

A key component to HPD is their ethos. HPD strives for constant innovation and reflects Soichiro Honda’s belief that competition is essential for fueling innovation and improvement. According to the HPD website, “While second place can be painful, reflection on such failure can lead to the next success.” Such forward thinking can thus take a failure and turn it into a success by highlighting what went wrong and how to fix it.

Since 1993, such an ethos has helped HPD earn wins at manufacturer and driver championships. With Honda engines, many drivers have won over the years, but have seen particular success within the past ten years. In 2004, Honda’s aspirated V-8 engine was the dominant motor in the IndyCar series and helped Honda drivers win 14 out of 16 races, including the Indianapolis 500. Last year, HPD won its 100th IndyCar race when Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500.

HPD was established in 1993 and has helped support the IndyCar program with their engines since. The company is based in Santa Clarita, California. HPD recently announced that in 2012, it will be supplying engines to the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team.

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Who Is Using Solar Panels to Help Power Facility?

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Last week, Honda announced that it is now powering the Honda Performance Development Facility using newly installed solar cells. As the largest commercial solar-cell demonstration in the US, the project is one of Honda’s largest to date, and will help to reduce CO2 emissions by 64 metric tons per year.

Honda Performance Development is Honda’s racing development and sales organization, and helps develop engine technology for various racing programs, like the IZOD IndyCar series, American Le Mans series, the Le Mans Series in Europe, etc. HPD recently started pursuing “green racing” initiations, including the development of hybrid and alternative-fuel race vehicles.

The solar cell array is comprised of eight hundred 100-kilowatt cells, and the panels are made of a thin film made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS). They are installed on the roof, the carport and the canopy of the loading dock, and will have the ability to follow the path of the sun.

The CIGS film in use is described as “next-generation,” introduces significant improvements to solar cell technology, and is one of the most efficient CIGS-based thin-film solar cell systems in the world. The film is said to have a conversion efficiency that exceeds 13%. It requires less raw material and 40% less energy to create and is easier to install. The technology is already used in Japan in fifteen facilities, and has a total output of 2.5 megawatts.

Besides helping to provide energy for the building, the installation also demonstrates the capabilities of the panels themselves, which were developed by Honda Soltec Co., Ltd. Honda will monitor their energy output using an internet-based monitoring system, and test the capabilities of the solar cells for commercial use.

It’s no surprise that Honda is implementing solar technology at one of its facilities. Honda has consistently outperformed other manufacturers with its serious pursuit of environmental friendly technology. Another current green project receiving attention recently is the Civic Natural Gas. Honda was also the first manufacturer in the US to introduce a hybrid vehicle. Last September, it was in the news for its 11th LEED-Certified green building in North America, and has made the list of top greenest vehicles for the past eleven years.

Source: MSN Money

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