2002 PACE Finalists and Winners
Delphi Automotive Systems
The Delphi Saginaw Steering Systems innovation QUADRASTEER has a rear axle with electronic, fully steerable rear wheels. QUADRASTEER offers revolutionary improvement in the handling and maneuverability of full-size pickups, vans, and sport utilities. In low speed maneuvering, where the rear wheels steer in negative phase, opposite the front wheels, QUADRASTEER reduces the minimum steering circle of these large vehicles to the equivalent of a compact sedan. Ease of maneuvering in tight situations, such as parking garages, is improved proportionately.
At high speeds, the rear wheels steer in positive phase with the front wheels, greatly improving maneuverability and control. Freeway lane change maneuvers in particular are rendered quicker and more comfortable with QUADRASTEER. These maneuvers are accomplished with much less vehicle yaw and roll than with conventional two-wheel steering, perceptible to passengers as less upper body sway. In emergency lane change maneuvers, the reduction in yaw greatly enhances control.
A third benefit of QUADRASTEER is in trailer towing. At low speed, maneuverability of a QUADRASTEER equipped truck and conventional trailer is enhanced both forward and in reverse. At high speed, the reduced yaw of the towing truck in maneuvers reduces trailer yaw, which in turn greatly reduces the tendency of a heavy trailer to “wag” the tow vehicle.
QUADRASTEER consists of a steering wheel position sensor, a steerable rear axle, an electronic actuator, an electronic controller, and a mode switch for selecting 2-wheel steer, 4-wheel steer, and 4-wheel steer in trailer tow mode. The rear steering is “steer by wire,” with no mechanical linkage to the front steering. It is designed to return to neutral (2-wheel steering) if a part of the system should fail.
QUADRASTEER is available initially in the 2002 GMC Sierra Denali and is to appear as an option in other vehicles. It is projected to reach about a 30% penetration in vehicles of this type, although some analysts have suggested a much stronger reception from truck buyers.
Delphi Delco Electronics Systems
Passive Occupant Detection System, Generation II (PODS II)
To alleviate well-publicized problems of injuries to children or small adults from full-force air bag inflation, federal regulation FMVSS 208 has mandated that by model year 2006, all consumer vehicles must sense the size of seat occupants and activate air bag inflation accordingly. Thirty-five percent of all vehicles must be so equipped by model year 2004. FMVSS 208 forced automakers to find, and quickly, an inexpensive means to comply, that is, without completely redesigning seats.
Delco’s PODS II has rapidly become the dominant solution to this problem. To classify a seat occupant, it measures the static and dynamic loading force on the seat, vehicle vertical acceleration, and seat belt tension. From this, customer-specific algorithms determine whether to activate air bags, and sometimes with what intensity. The system can estimate the weights of seat occupants, and can distinguish whether an infant carrier is strapped to the seat.
PODS II senses weight from the pressure changes sensed by a fluid filled bladder under the cushioning of the seat. Bladder technology has been catalogued so thoroughly that a design can be adapted to almost any automotive seat; therefore most existing seat designs can be retrofitted without changing styling or seat cover fabrics. PODS’ operation is robust over a wide range of temperatures and it even compensates for the aging of the seat.
Because of extensive development of a system based on bladder technology, plus developing a lean, inexpensive manufacturing base to deliver it, Delco Electronics has emerged as the supplier of choice for all OEMs that must meet the requirements of FMVSS 208. They are increasing the peace of mind of the motoring public, too.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
The 2002 PACE Award for innovation is awarded to the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for the development of their “Wrangler MT/R,” Maximum Traction/Reinforced, off-road tire. The tire features “Durawall” technology, which consists of a three-ply sidewall incorporating advanced compounds, new to tire sidewalls. Its tread is also a new, patented, wrap-around design with a “squarish” footprint resulting from a computer- optimized tread pattern.
This is the result of Goodyear’s determination to develop an off-road tire by devising a new way of designing and engineering tires in the first place. A cross-functional team was formed. They created a new compound and materials that would permit the tire to brush off sidewall cuts and punctures. The compound contained silica, a new application in sidewalls. The material consisted of a third angled ply which was added to the body construction. This created a grid-like barrier that would prevent rock penetration. (Radial plies with non-crossing cords are more prone to puncture.) Additionally, a new mold shape and tread pattern emerged from advanced computer analyses. As a result, the new design, the Wrangler MT/R, has vastly improved lateral stability and a higher net-to-gross material ratio in the center region of the tread.
The result of these innovations is an off-road tire with increased traction in mud and sand, a higher mileage tread, quiet running on ordinary pavements, better handling, and, most importantly, greater safety due to abrasion and puncture resistance.
The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R off-road tire is standard equipment on the 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and the commercial version of the AM General HUMMER. It is the first off-road tire to meet OEM specifications for treadware and quietness as original equipment.
Transportation Coating – FrameCoat™ Electrocoating
For many years surface corrosion on automotive frames was of little concern, and the approach was to spray a frame with chassis black to get it to market, since, if it rusted after it was in the customer’s hands, that was rarely noticed. In more recent times, with SUV’s and trucks in particular, more of the chassis is visible. Hence the OEMs have turned toward hot wax and even electro-coat (E-Coat) systems. The hot wax became a customer problem because, in hot weather, it would drip on the garage floor. E-coat, which provides excellent protection under intended circumstances, had been developed for sheet metal parts in addition to car and truck bodies that were zinc phosphated cold rolled steel.
It was soon discovered that the e-coat systems intended for body sheet metal did not provide similar protection on the hot rolled steel used in building a chassis. Ford went to the major paint suppliers and asked them to work on the problem. In response, PPG developed “FrameCoat.”™ FrameCoat electrocoating consists of innovative proprietary materials and processes for electrocoating frames and chassis components of cars and trucks. It is PPG’s response to OEM customer requests for help in improving the durability and hence enduring appearance of hot rolled steel under-body vehicle parts. FrameCoat consists of a patented catholic epoxy electrocoat technology and an application process that satisfies GEM specifications for both cost and ten-year durability. Cost savings result from better throw distances, allowing less material usage, lower application temperatures, and the elimination of vehicle heat shields required by previous treatments such as hot wax.
FrameCoat was first introduced at Ford Motor Company on the Sport Trac frame in 1999, and is now widely used by Ford, GM, DaimlerChrysler, and their Tier 1 suppliers.
The POM Group
Direct Metal Deposition process
More than 90% of automotive components require some type of tooling—resulting in a very significant component of cost. A large portion of this cost accumulates because of the need for tools and dies to be reconfigured. This is simply due to the fact that many tools cannot be changed once they are manufactured. Most existing methods of tool change or reconfiguration are “subtractive”— that is, they can only be changed by removing material. POM’s innovation addresses this need and can possibly impact up to 20% of automotive tooling needs.
The POM DMD (direct metal deposition) process is the blending of five common technologies: lasers; computer-aided design (CAD); computer-aided manufacturing (CAM); sensor technology; and powder metallurgy. The resulting process creates parts by focusing an industrial laser beam onto a tool-steel work piece so as to create a pool of molten metal. A small stream of powdered tool-steel metal is then injected into the melt pool to increase the size of the molten pool. By moving the laser beam back and forth, under CNC (computer numeric control), and tracing out a pattern determined by a computerized CAD design, the solid metal tool steel part is built up, line by line, one layer at a time.
Thus DMD is a process that allows the adding of dense metal to a base of hard or soft materials. The process therefore permits the possibility to have new tools made from softer metals, while existing hard tool surfaces may be changed, in order to create new part geometry on a tool that would otherwise have to be scrapped. Another DMD advantage is the ability to fabricate conforming cooling channels and imbed high conductivity heat sinks that are integral to the die cavity.
In short, this innovation allows tooling to be made or modified at less cost. In some cases, tooling can be more productive simply due to the way it is constructed and the advantages the availability of the DMD process gives the tool designer.
Robert Bosch Corporation
Aero-Twin wiper assembly system
Motorists almost everywhere depend on their windshield wipers for convenience and safety. Wipers have for the most part been unattractive and sometimes unreliable, being susceptible to wear and aerodynamic lift, often making them ineffective, sometimes when needed most. And historically, cowl design has needed to take account of the space they occupy as they sweep, or returned to their folded-down position.
A product of Bosch’s Center of Competence for wiper blade research in Tienen, Belgium, the new Aero-Twin windshield wiper blade assembly system changes all of that, with a new approach based on new design, materials, and manufacture. This innovative unit eliminates most of the superstructure of the conventional wiper, while providing enhanced durability, reduced weight, fewer parts, better wiping performance with less noise, and better aerodynamics for sweeping the glass at speed.
Performance is improved partly because the windshield is scanned, allowing manufacture of a wiper blade with a very low profile specifically matched to the curvature of the vehicle’s glass. Adhesion to the glass and appropriate “hinging” action when the blade reverses direction are accomplished by a uniquely extruded blade with an internal metal spine, which maintains the curvature required, and eliminates the need for conventional “claws” and wiper arm superstructure. The resulting low profile also improves styling and space required, even when the units are not in operation.
The Aero-Twin windshield wiper blade assembly is the first of its kind to be adopted as OEM equipment, by Mercedes-Benz, and by Volkswagen on all of its cars, and can be developed for any vehicle.
ZF Getriebe GmbH
6HP family of six-speed transmissions
Four and now five speed automatic transmissions are a given in the “landscape” of today’s passenger automobiles. Tasked with optimizing delivery of engine torque to drive wheels under varying conditions of load, demand, and terrain, automatic transmissions are meant to operate as seamlessly and transparently as possible, to provide satisfactory performance, comfort, and efficiency.
More recently other criteria have begun to be important, too, or more important than previously. Handling ever-greater amounts of available power or torque, while at the same time reversing the trend that more speeds means more parts, greater size, more weight, and higher costs, are two such demands. Increased efficiency is another, meaning greater fuel economy. Reducing manufacturing cost at the same time is yet another.
ZF’s solution, which at first might seem evolutionary, since six speeds is one more than five, is a totally new architecture for its HP six-speed automatic transmission, and it succeeds in an innovative way in managing all these criteria successfully. Using a new Lepelletier gear set, which needs less space than previous ones, ZF has designed a new gearbox architecture that is totally electronic, requiring no mechanical linkages to control it, and has a capacity of 260 lb-ft., making it more than adequate for today’s generation of high torque diesels, and compatible with any common drivetrain configuration. Simultaneously, production techniques for this new architecture were revolutionized, so that, for example, many machined parts have now become stampings.
The overall result of the innovative design of the new six speed automatic transmission vis-a-vis today’s five speeds is greater torque capacity, 30% fewer parts, 13% reduction in weight, 5-7% less fuel consumption, better acceleration, and a smaller package size, with one extra gear. The transmission made its debut in the new 2002 7 Series BMW
Engineous Software Inc.
Engineous has developed innovative software for process integration and design optimization, called iSight. This software is emerging as the leader of a new class of IT-based solutions aimed at helping manufacturing enterprises derive greater benefit and value from digital prototyping and simulation technologies and processes.
iSight provides automation of routine and repetitive simulation analyses. As heralded in Business Week, “Engineous has a framework for finding optimum solutions through software that ploughs through possibilities. It uses generic algorithms and neural networks to take various elements of good solutions, and then reshuffles them in myriad ways to ‘breed’ thousands of alternative solutions – until it finds the best answer“.
Due to its open architecture, iSight gives the company a unique position in its industry. iSight is an open software platform that integrates and automates not only their own software tools, but applications and data bases from existing analytical tools already used by OEMs throughout the world. The adoption rate of this software by OEMs has been extremely fast: since late 1999, the number of automotive clients has increased from 2 to over 26.
Numerous examples cited by Engineous’s customers of the benefits and impact on the automotive industry include optimized design solutions, often utilizing radical concepts; reduced product cost through virtual vehicle development; more effective use of engineering resources through standardized, templated work and automation; improved profits through superior product quality, reliability and manufacturability; and enhanced global coordination
Engineous software is changing the paradigm of product development from a labor-intensive, risk-averse, manual computer-aided engineering process, to an automated, time-saving exploratory process. Engineers can dramatically reduce the tedious functions and allow more time for creative analysis and testing risks of new design options. The competitive dynamics in product development are being altered significantly.
Sheet-molded composites have been difficult to coat with automotive paint systems because volatile materials are released during curing. The result: higher repair rates and more flaws. But Dynaseal sealer — cured with ultraviolet light and heat — can prevent defects and prevent the release of gases, at last making sheet-molded composites suitable for body panels. The sealant makes sheet-molded composite (SMC) panels easier to work with and is safer for the environment.
Active Light-Sensing technology
Gentex Corporation (Nasdaq: GNTX), the Zeeland, Michigan-based manufacturer of automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and commercial fire protection products, has developed a cost-effective, high- performance, intelligent light sensor to control the dimming of its rearview mirrors. This proprietary technology is already in production for a new Gentex mirror, and may also be used in future mirror-related Gentex products. Gentex’s Active Light Sensor (ALS) technology consists of a tiny CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) chip that contains a light-sensing element and the additional electronic circuitry necessary to communicate light levels to a microprocessor. Because the device is similar to a computer chip, it’s inexpensive, durable, and easy to manufacture. And, because it’s a digital device, it doesn’t require external circuitry, such as a signal amplifier or analog to digital converter, allowing Gentex to reduce the complexity of its circuit boards.
Metzeler Automotive Profile Systems
AFTS anti-pinch sensor
This sensor protects consumers from getting pinched by automatic door and window closure systems by sensing resistance and reversing door or window operation.
Rieter Automotive Systems AG
Rieter underfloor module
This plastic underfloor replaces sprayed-on PVC protection and reduces fuel consumption, weight, and interior and exterior noise.
Manugistics Group Inc.
Internet-enabled order-to-delivery solution
Manugistics software successfully powers this Internet-based order-to-delivery system. This innovation helps get a clearer picture of customer demand while reducing inventory, improving forecasting and cutting vehicle lead times. The solution creates forecasts that consider sales history, seasonal variations and geographic differences. Then, using a collaborative component, it shares that information with the manufacturer, district sales managers and dealers through the Internet.
This is a subscription-based Internet product that allows suppliers to view and analyze their buyer’s inventory levels and usage in real time.
SUPPLIER-OEM PARTNERSHIP (Osram Opto Semiconductors)
white LED interior lighting theme for future luxury sport-utility
Ford Motor Co. wanted to use LEDs to establish a specific white lighting motif throughout a vehicle’s interior. In a partnership with Tier 3 supplier Osram, Ford contributed its knowledge of human perception of color and managed the commercial relationships of suppliers while Osram managed the technical and logistical activities of Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers.
Siemens VDO Automotive
Siemens VDO Automotive Smart Cockpit
Siemens had full responsibility in design, development, purchasing and manufacturing a pre-assembled cockpit module for the smart car. The process incorporates a one-piece molded instrument panel with integrated air ducts and a magnesium reinforcement beam that supports the steering column. The setup reduces cost, complexity and assembly time, and Siemens occupies a space integrated with the smart production line.
Johnson Controls Inc.
structural instrument panel/cockpit module
This innovation integrates the entire instrument panel structure, including the steering column, heating-cooling system, audio system, pedal assembly, instrument cluster, airbag module and wiring harness. The complete structure is lighter and cheaper than combining outsourced parts. The unit is symmetrical to allow flexibility between right- and left-handdrive models. Delivering the complete unit reduces assembly time and complexity, as well as part numbers and inventories.
Johnson Controls Inc.
The supplier’s customers, suppliers and employees can access real-time information from the NexCommerce Internet portals. The system focuses on improving speed and execution in areas such as product design and engineering, supply-chain management, purchasing and manufacturing.