HERE’S A LOOK AT SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT MITSUBISHI OVERCAME TO CREATE THE ECLIPSE CROSS.
What did it take to engineer the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, a model hailed as a “Turbo”, “Coupé” and “SUV”?
Given Mitsubishi’s extensive experience in building SUVs, you might think that this endeavour was relatively easy. In reality, apart from designing a dynamic-looking SUV, Mitsubishi had to rethink certain parts of the production process, too.
A design that looks great on paper is a real challenge for the sheet-metal specialists, who are tasked with creating the correct dies, upon which ordinary metal is pressed and turned into dazzling forms.
Kazuhiro Ueda, a specialist with more than 40 years of experience in this field, undertook this task. To overcome the difficulty of the Eclipse Cross’ sharp lines, Ueda utilised computers to simulate multiple die designs. His ultimate goal was to realise the Eclipse Cross’ form, while simultaneously ensuring maximum production efficiency.
As Ueda put it, “Artisans must create simulations in their mind for precise designs. The true pleasure of sheet-metal technology work is when these mental simulations are in line with computer analysis results.”
The Eclipse Cross isn’t just stylish. It’s also incredibly strong.
The Eclipse Cross’ body is assembled by several robots, each one armed with a welding gun that uses an electric current of up to 12,000 amperes to heat and join the components.
For added rigidity, the Eclipse Cross utilises more adhesive than any other Mitsubishi model. In fact, Mitsubishi had to add a dozen more robots to cope with the quantities of adhesive being used.
WHAT’S IN A HUE?
The making of a new model calls for the creation of a new colour, too. This new hue must not only express the concept of the Eclipse Cross, but highlight its dynamism, too.
The hue in this case is Red Diamond, which was created by colour designer Chigusa Yasui.
It may sound crazy, but applying Red Diamond to the Eclipse Cross was almost impossible at first. This was due to the car’s unique three- dimensional design, which made it difficult to apply the paint uniformly. The thickness of the paint was measured in micrometre-level precision.
To overcome these challenges, Yasui called in Junji Kiuchi, a paint specialist with 39 years of experience.
Together, they came up with innovative solutions, such as programming the painting robots to paint the car’s various components at different speeds. The team even went as far as to modify the distances between the paint sprayers and the body, just to ensure uniformity.
One look at the Eclipse Cross proves that they have succeeded.
APART FROM DESIGNING A DYNAMIC-LOOKING SUV, MITSUBISHI HAD TO RETHINK CERTAIN PARTS OF THE ECLIPSE CROSS’ PRODUCTION PROCESS, TOO.