Discerning Genuine Technologies

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The VTEC engine parts used around the head. Each part was made lighter and more rigid in order to increase output and withstand greater loads at high engine speeds.



<< 1. Variable Valve Timing... for Power and Fuel Economy
<< 2. Designing a Dream: A Hundred Horses per Liter
<< 3. An Open Invitation to Participate
<< 4. Discerning Genuine Technologies
<< 5. Pursuing Excellence Through Trial and Error
<< 6. Applying the Technology to All Honda Models
<< 7. The Confidence Needed to Innovate
 


It all began in the planning stage, wherein the team identified approximately thirty new mechanism and technologies they would need to introduce in order to secure a stable VTEC system. These included a valve-operating system with a hydraulic timing selector pin, a small hydraulic tappet mechanism built into the rocker arm, and weight-reduction techniques to achieve higher revolutions and output. However, time and resources were limited, and it would be nearly impossible to achieve all of their objectives. As a matter of efficiency, priority items were selected with an emphasis on satisfying the engine's product requirements. For the items selected, detailed specifications were set and technological feasibilities examined.

During the selection process, the team came across technologies they believed were unnecessary in meeting the target requirements, along with unverifiable technologies which, if found to be flawed, could affect the VTEC mechanism itself. For advice the development team arranged a consultation meeting with members of the evaluation committee, whereupon the development team listed items they had originally wanted to adopt but now wished to cancel.

The discussions produced no results, since both sides refused to give up any ground. Kajitani was not certain which technologies should be used and which should be set aside. He kept asking himself, "Is this technology genuine?" That was exactly what Kawamoto would say.

"When I wasn't sure whether to introduce a new technology, Mr. Kawamoto would ask me if the technology was genuine. If I could honestly answer 'Yes,' he'd say, 'Okay, then do it.' When he asked me if it was 'genuine' or not, I was confused about what to say. After all, sometimes it's difficult to tell what's genuine and what isn't. Personally, I thought of a technology as genuine if it had been in the market around for ten years, but Mr. Kawamoto had a different definition. Even so, a technology that's been for around ten years is one that's accepted by society. In that sense, there shouldn't be any problem adopting such a technology to all models."

Several consultation meetings were held, some of them deep into the night, and at last the committee members accepted the development team's request. Such difficulties were commensurate with the scope of their proposed achievement. The difficulties the team endured through its discussions with the committee helped bring the VTEC engine to life.
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