TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Omron Automotive Electronics Inc. (OAE) has developed a series of new relay products that can integrate with automotive on-board electronic controllers, eliminating the need for traditional plug-in devices, says Gerald W. Bricker, vice president and general sales manager.

Here for the Management Briefing Seminars, Bricker says auto makers can use the new technology to power motors, lamps, cooling fans and other systems within so-called “black boxes” as more vehicle functions move to electronics.

“Auto companies want controls in smaller packages as more functions are turned over to electronic boxes to save space” and reduce chances of failure, says Bricker.

“Ten years ago, the average car had 20 relays. Now there are 25, as more convenience items are switched to electronics,” he says. Only 10, however, now get power from printed circuit boards. The rest remain plug-in systems.

Copper wiring used in plug-in devices cannot be recycled because it is typically coated with PVC plastic, Bricker says. “That becomes an issue in Europe in 2008, when 95% of the car must be recyclable.”

OAE is the North American division of Omron Automotive Electronic Components Co. of Nagoya, Japan. In May, it formed Inter-American Automotive Electronics Components to tie together its North and South American operations.