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  ICBTT2004 Technology & Society Division, JSME

Thinking about some examples of technology transfer in the modern history

Takashi Suzuki

By the development of the modern science and technology especially of vehicular engineering, the human society were given a great convenience, but the increase in the energy consumption gives an aggravation of the global environment. The development of the technology for environmental problems shall be proceeded in a global standpoint not only of geographical differences but also of cultural situations. Based on such a global viewpoint, the technology development, therefore, with any style of its transfer is the necessary condition for those activity.
Some examples of the technology transfers in vehicular engineering of modern age including jet engines, aero-engines, passenger cars and diesel engines can be described as a reference to the technology development for next generation.

Key Words: Jet engine, Sleeve valve and aero-diesel, Passenger car, Diesel combustion system

1. Introduction
Generally, technology transfer is regarded as the transfer of some advanced technology from developed society or enterprise to developing one. For a new technological product, however, its development basically set up some innovative idea. Such a case also needs some technology transfer, but many other cases need only information exchanges.
Historically, during the WWII and the time just after it, there are many examples of technology transfers that include only general information exchange or learning of engineering skills on actual products. Some historical examples of successes and miscarriages are described as follows.

2. Development of the jet engine
In 1939, Heinkel He 178 succeed their first flight in Germany, while Gloster E 28/29 took a first flight in England on 1941. Both country could apply Jet fighter in battle fields in 1944. In the case of Japan, in 1945, though its operation in actual battle field had not been started yet, the navy attacker "Kikka" with Ne-20 jet engine succeeded the first flight and its mass production had begun at that time.
Both Germany and England begun the development of jet engine in 1930's, but due to difficulties in understanding by the Ministry of Air (Government), it took a long time.
F. Whittle claimed his patent on jet engine in 1930, but Ministry was not interested. So he established Power Jet Ltd. and begun his experimental work by himself in 1936. In 1941, Gloster E28/39 fighter took a first flight with Whittle's W1 X engine. In 1943, both Gloster Meteor with Rolls Royce RB23 engine and De Havilland Vampire with De Havilland H-1B engine took their first flight and the former has operated in battle fields in 1944. They took the 7 year development period from the beginning of their first experiment to the first flight of a practical use.
In Germany, due to the information of the Whittle's patent, H. V Ohain begun his experiment by himself in 1934. Though the Ministry was not interested, Heinkel proceed the development work and his He 178 succeeded his first flight with HeS3B engine in 1939. But the response of the Ministry was still very cool. Although an actual fighter Heinkel He 178 first flew in 1942 successfully, Messershumitt Me 262 that first flew in the next year was formally accepted by the Ministry. The development of the jet engine had also been ordered to both Junkers and BMW by the Ministry instead of Heinkel. They took the 9 year development period from beginning of their first experiment to the first practical air plane.(1)
In Japan, the first experiment was begun in 1941 by a navy officer T. Tanegashima who had motivated by the information on the European movement, when Admiral Matsukasa had accepted Tanegashima's proposal in spite of having no response from the Ministry (Military top). The experiments proceeded include Campini type fan jet (a combination of the conventional piston engine and blower), ram jet, axial compressor, etc. The first jet engine driven on the bench in 1943 was "TR" with a radial compressor that was an application of a supercharger. The struggle continued even after several modifications on the compressor and combustor as shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1 TR30(ne-12) Jet Engine.

In 1944, a sheet of the photograph of BMW 003 engine was transformed via submarine and airplane from Germany. By the poor photograph sheet shown in Fig.2, Tanegashima decided the complete design change of the engine by applying an axial compressor as same as the BMW engine instead of the axial-radial compressor of his Ne-12 engine.

Fig. 2 Only 1 sheet of the photograph of the section of BMW 003 was transferred via submarine and air plane from Germany.

Only 5 months later, the "Kikka" flew successfully with the re-designed Ne-20 engine. The research work for the axial compressor had been conducted from 1942 by the help of Prof. F. Numachi and the combustion control includes fuel injection equipment was helped by Prof. Y. Tanasawa, both in Tohoku University.(2)
This success was brought by the co-operation of the Government (Ministry), Academia circle, Enterprises (companies), and a talented leader. During the time, however, the mind change of the Ministry from the negative assistance to positive happened after they took the information of successful flights of German and English jet planes. The success story needs optimum help or co-operation of the Government, Academia circle, related Companies, optimum information analysis, and a talented leader.

3. Sleeve valve aero-engine and aero-diesel engine
More than ten to forty companies conducted the development work during the WWII, but only Bristol (includes the company with common technology) and Junkers succeeded: Those are the sleeve valve aero engine and the aero-diesel engine. H. Ricardo recommended strongly the sleeve valve application instead of the poppet valve for the avoidance of the knocking phenomena on petrol engines. Although the sleeve valve engine has many difficulties such as excess oil consumption, the sleeve seizure also requires high level production technology. R. Fedden of Bristol Co. decided the development of it interestingly due to the excess oil consumption problem of the conventional 4 valve engines in early 1930's. The development work of the sleeve valve, however, are quite severe due to above mentioned difficulties. An excellent and strong leadership of R. Fedden, the co-operation of Ministry, RAE (Royal Air force Establishment), and research activities on materials and production technology, and joint works of many machining companies in the U.S., have led it success. Though the development cost was said about 2 times of that for the jet engine, the Royal Air Force get a tremendous benefit by this sleeve valve engines applied to many kinds of their air planes.
The aero-diesel was a dream of engineers because it would enable a long range air plane by its very good fuel consumption rate. Although more than 40 companies started the development work in 1930's, the only success of aero-diesel was Junkers Co. with their Jumo 205 and Jumo 207 engines. January 1940, Junkers Ju 86-P bomber with Jumo 207 engine entered to the main island of Britain through above 12,000 m altitude. In spite of Britain's flurry as they had no interceptor for such a high altitude, it is strange to say, that German's high altitude bombing was almost nothing. In 1933, just after Hitler get their political power, Prof. Junkers was arrested with his brain staff by anti Nazism. The Junkers co. were controlled directly by Nazi and the diesel division was managed as a subsidiary company. And, Prof. Junkers died as similar as in prison.
Only the Junkers diesel engine had cleared the specific weight and specific power problems of diesel engines by his unique opposed piston 2 stroke cycle design. It is true that due to such a complex design, though the fuel consumption was excellent, the engine had inferior durability and maintainability characteristics compared with conventional petrol engines in spite of Junkers' precise machining technology. Several companies licensed by the Jumo 204 engine that was a predecessor of the Jumo 205 suffered their troubles. Junkers re-designed it as Jumo 205 by shortening both the bore and stroke to decrease the thermal load. On the contrary, some licenser increased the bore of the Jumo 204 and defeated. After the success of the Jumo 205, the Jumo 207 also achieved excellent high altitude performance by the application of exhaust driven supercharger that could be made by comparable lower quality steel (this was very important by the shortage of high quality heat resisting steel in Germany) due to the lower exhaust temperature of diesel engines compared with petrol engines. The reason that the German high altitude diesel bomber could not be systematically operated would be due to the poor decision of the autocrat.

4. Technology transfer of passenger car production, a case of Hino Motors, Ltd.(4)
In Japan, the prohibition of passenger car production by Allied Power (GHQ) had removed in 1949. In 1952, MITI (Ministry of Trade and Industry) made a guideline for the technology transfer for passenger car from for that included the time limit of 3 years for the 100% transfer and the monthly car production number of less than 300. Hino Motors decided to produce Renault 4CV under the contract of technology transfer with Regie Renault, France, and begun assembling from the CKD (Complete Knock Down) style in 1953.
The predecessor of Hino Motors, Ltd. was Tokyo Gas Electric Industry founded in 1910, she is the first mass production manufacturer of vehicles in Japan but it was a small production number of the military track. Though she had some experimental passenger car during the war but main products were tracked military vehicle. Therefore every technology for the passenger car manufacturing is almost her first experience.
One of the most difficult technology for Hino in those days was the stamping. Due to the size and quality, domestic thin steel sheets could not be applied for car body stamping, therefore steel sheets had to be imported from Italy and others during the initial period. For the stamping, a new technology, for instance, an operation with triple action press made by Hitachi co. was the first case in Japan. Another big item was mass production technologies that included production control, manufacturing process planning, manufacturing design, etc. A basic thinking about the quality control of products was also a first experience. Traditionally Japan had proper original technologies for production but most of them were for limited number of production even as the military vehicles.
There were many unacceptable items for the Japanese market of early 1950's, however, even though the 4CV was one of the excellent popular cars in Europe. As for examples, the durability of the suspension and engine was the first claim from the market. The main cause of it was poor road condition because the most part of the road was dusty and unpaved. And most of the cars were used as taxis with very rough driving instead of private owner cars. Redesigned suspension with enlarged shaft diameter and an air intake from front side instead of the original rear intake system was applied even with a rear engine layout. A small rear window was also disliked by most Japanese people possibly because of the structure of the Japanese traditional housing. Namely most of the old Japanese houses have no window but have large sliding doors instead of conventional walls. A big rear window was applied instead of the original small one.
In 1961, Hino begun to produce the "Contessa 900" originally designed passenger car. Though the general layout was influenced by 4CV, the rear suspension adopted an unique trailing arm type. The reason was that it seemed more stability and ride quality should be required for higher cruising speed by enlarged engine capacity from the experience of the 4CV. Though the theory of this suspension was not yet established generally in those days, it can be seen as the first application of the compliance steer to the public car.
Hino "Contessa 1300" de'but in 1964 seems the final solution to the R-R (Rear engine Rear drive) concept. In the case of rear engine, for dust proof especially under the rough road conditions, the engine compartment shall be covered with under tray. Such a layout gives cooling problems not only over heating but also percolation of the carburetor after engine stop. Therefore, unique cross flow intake and exhaust manifold with slanted engine mounting was applied and the cooling air was taken from the backside of the car as shown in Fig. 3. The coach work was carried out by an Italian designer G. Michelotti. It can be said that this is a sort of the cultural transfer rather than the technology. And this was one of the important factors of success.

Fig. 3 Development for the cooling layout from the 4C to the Contesa 1300.

Hino attempted to develop "Contessa 1500", but it was canceled by a political reason of the company when Hino accepted a contract with Toyota Motors. But if it was carried on, it would be F-F (Front engine Front drive), because the Hino understood that the R-R concept for popular car is limited by engine capacity due to cooling system and high speed stability. Hino had conducted the research and development work during the period that included F-F car with limited production for the market research. Fig.4 shows a comparison of the development history of 4CV in both Hino and Renault respectively.

Fig. 4 Comparison of the development history both Hino and Renault.

In spite that the both companies are independent and exchanged no information each other, development step was quite similar that are: the increase in the engine capacity, trailing arm suspension, cross flow manifold, rear radiator layout and change over to the F-F.
The key sentence for the success in the technology transfer would be: Hino had a similar technological potential as Renault had.

5. A license production of a new diesel combustion system(3)
Although Hino motors proudly begun to produce Japan's first open chamber direct injection diesel engine for heavy vehicles in 1967, it was failed. The selection of the over square concept that was a fashion in U.S. was the cause of the insufficient durability. This is an example of the failure of the technology transfer by only poor information or would rather a fashion.
Due to some urgency for next success by this fault, Hino decided to have a license agreement with MAN for the production of their M-System. Because it seemed to be applied easily to Hino's engine instead of their pre-chamber engine that was running on an another production line. However the M-System included a lot of engineering skills which could be solved only by proper engineering experience (in MAN) that had not been described by paper or documents.
Hino had to be back to the origin of diesel combustion and durability problems. The troubles included the cracking of the cylinder head, deformation of the piston, difficulties of starting, and white exhaust smoke and the exhaust smell under the cold weather. After a heavy struggle with many trial and error in short time, they were solved. Those include some peculiar solutions: for instance, the cylinder head cracking was solved by making a machining crack initially at the production stage. On the other hand, the smell had never been solved completely from the beginning of the production to the end of it. It seems there are some differences in the custom or the culture because the engines with similar levels of smell were operated normally in European country. Therefore, Hino decided to suspend the bus application of this engine, namely, the bus production was continued with an old fashioned pre-chamber engine.
Technically, this project seems to be unsuccessful due to its unexpectedly many troubles during the period, but marketing itself made a big success. The engine was pleasantly accepted by the market due to very high performance of the engine that included the good fuel consumption and the low driving noise thanks to very quiet engine. The durability itself was also widely accepted by the market because it was much better than the predecessor pre-chamber engine. Only exception was Hokkaido district due to poor startability, smell and white smoke in winter season. Fig. 5 shows a revenue and expenditure of this project.
However, Hino began to develop a new direct injection open chamber engine by understanding that advanced open chamber can be a superior performance and durability than M system, also the smell will be an environmental problem in the future. The experiences of the M system, however, were quite valuable not only in understanding of the diesel combustion but also in the relation of the products and the marketing.

Fig. 5 A Revenue and Expenditure of the M System development.

6. A necessary conditions of the technology transfer
In the case of the jet engine development, an innovative idea of F. Whittle could not be understood by the Government (Ministry). If the co-work of H. V. Ohain and Heinkel had not proceeded and such information had not been given in England, the jet engine would not have appeared in WWII.
In Japan, under the severe situation of the war, the Ministry understood its technological potential by the information from Europe. The co-work of the Ministry, companies and academia and the basic technological potential such as experimental experiences accumulated by using own engine such as the Ne-12 by Tanegashima gave it the success.
In spite that the technology of the jet engine were transferred to the U.S. completely for instance the engine itself and that even the U.S. had a high level of technological potential, they could not operate the jet plane in the war. (However, XP 80 flew in 1944 by improved GE, I-40 jet engine.) It would be mostly due to easily situation of the war and therefore the Ministry would not need an urgent order.
All the defeats in the sleeve valve engine developments in various companies were due to the transfer by mostly paper only. It is very similar to the case of the M-system transfer to Hino Motors. The success of the Bristol was due to the cooperation of Government, academia, company and talented leader and the availability of the high leveled production technology. In the case of M-system transfer to Hino Motors, its success was brought mostly by the basic technological potential of Hino and proper management.
In the defeats in the aero-diesel, the most of them were not a direct technology transfer from Junkers but lacking in thinking on the basic diesel technology that needs heavy structure. Some companies, however, defeated by Junkers design and others succeeded with Junkers principle. The different results quite depended on the technological potential of each company.
In the case of the technology transfer of passenger car at Hino Motors., in spite of no experience in thin sheet metal stamping, it was done mostly by own efforts. It would be also technological potential including the skill of workmen in spite that they had no experience on stamping techniques. The necessary conditions for the success in technology transfer, therefore, can be stated as follows:

  1. Proper government policy or proper persuasion on the government.
  2. Co-work with government, academia and companies.
  3. Selection of proper leader and management.
  4. Proper treatment of the information.
  5. Concurrent engineering in companies.
  6. Continuous brush up of the technological potential.

7. Summary
Several cases of the technology transfer related to vehicular engineering were described and tried to induce necessary conditions to success. As mentioned above, the most important technology development today is measures for severe environmental problems. The developed countries consume big percentage of the global energy and the emissions problems follows them. However, the aggravation of environment shall be prevented by both developed and developing countries almost simultaneously. Therefore, most cases of the technology transfer shall be directed from developed countries to developing ones.
For the success to give a beautiful environment to the earth via smooth technology transfer, therefore, needs correct reflection of the public opinion to the government. Therefore,

  1. World wide education to the people and the government.
  2. Disclosure and exchange of the information shall be needed with the activities of engineers.


  1. Kazuhiko Ishizawa, Kikka, Miki Press, (2001) (Japanese).
  2. Tokiyasu Tanegashima, From a research work to the completion of Japanese jet engine, Koukuu Jyohou, Kantou sha, (March 1952) (Japanese).
  3. Takashi Suzuki, Engine history of the 20th century, Miki Press, (2001) (Japanese)
  4. Takashi Suzuki, From Renault 4CV to Contessa - A History of the Technology Transfer -, HINO TECHNICAL REVIEW No. 51, Hino Motors, Ltd., (1998) (Japanese)