Ichikoh got a Nissan Global Innovation award for 2011 in the category of energy saving & IT technology. The award was presented by Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan COO, to Ali Ordoobadi, Representative Director and President of Ichikoh Industries. After this ceremony, DVN asked questions to Jean-Paul Ravier, head of Research at VLS-Ichikoh-Valeo Sylvania Alliance, Olivier Barthomeuf, head of research department at Ichikoh, and Katsuhiro Murahashi, project manager of Leaf headlamp project.
DVN: Olivier, congratulations for this Nissan prize. What exactly does it mean for you?
Olivier Barthomeuf: Ichikoh had the honor to receive the prize for Innovation as part of Nissan Global Supplier Award. This prize acknowledges the contribution of Ichikoh to the development of advanced technologies for the EV and HEV. This prize was formally given by Nissan COO, Mr Shiga, to ICHIKOH’s president, Mr Ordoobadi on July 11th.
DVN: Jean-Paul, the Leaf headlamp is the result of collaboration between Valeo at Bobigny and Ichikoh at Isehara. How was the relationship between the 2 parties? Was it difficult to work together with different cultures and languages?
Jean-Paul Ravier: The Alliance between Ichikoh and Valeo was established in 2000, and when the Nissan Leaf project started, a good base for technical exchanges was in place, with some challenges in relation to the differences of culture and languages, but with a good mutual willingness.
DVN: How was the technical collaboration between Valeo and Ichikoh. Is there a patent on the concept?
Jean-Paul Ravier: This project is a good example of success of the technical collaboration, as it is using patents from both companies: to the initial Valeo patent concerning the optical concept, Ichikoh added several important improvements.
Jean-Paul Ravier: Simulation was obviously the main tool for the optical development, allowing very quickly to evaluate new concepts and to validate the final definition.