2000 PACE Finalists and Winners
American Axle & Manufacturing
AAM Steering Linkage for GM’s GMT-800 series truck
This steering linkage assembly incorporates significant innovative features, some proprietary, tat yield major improvements in vehicle ease of manufacturing, overall steering linkage durability, and driver performance. Benefits of the new linage are reduced mass, increased quality and longevity, reduced friction and variation, and more precise steering geometry. Currently installed on GM’s new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks, the AAM steering linkage has 11 district features, including two patents, that contribute both to its differentiation and preferability.
Interlink multiplexed, vehicle gauge system
Interlink is an entire set of instrument panel gauges, driven by computer-generated serial data, used as replacements for the analog gauges currently found in heavy trucks and equipment. Each gauge in the set is programmable, and contains user-programmable LED warning lights. The system connects to the serial data buts found on most current truck models. The Interlink system substantially reduced behind-the-dash wiring, allows “generic” gauges to be used, eliminates redundant sensors, provides LED warning lights in each gauge, reduced previous servicing issues, and affords greater flexibility in quantity, type, and placement of gauges in the instrument panel.
ASH-2 inflationary device
Autoliv’s new ASH-2 inflator is an innovation that uses the chemical process of dissociation rather than combustion to produce a heated gas for side airbag inflation.
The ASH-2 inflator replaces three types of inflators: compressed stored gas, pyrotechnic, and hybrid, all of which have disadvantages. Most of the presently used inflators employ some form of pyrotechnic material to provide the inflation gas through a combustion process. These inflators generally produce undesirable particulates, and the gas produced is often at a temperature high enough to be capable of causing burns to vehicle occupants.
The primary advantage of the ASH-2 dissociation-based inflator is the elimination of separate fuel and oxidant charges, as well as associated components. In practice, this means a simpler inflator with significantly fewer parts, lighter weight, smaller package size, and significantly improved reliability. The dissociation process also produces a very dense gas at considerably lower temperatures, which allows the airbags to remain inflated for a longer time. This means improved performance vs. existing inflators, especially in curtain-type airbags, which need to remain inflated longer.
The 1999 PACE award is given to Autoliv for their application of a new technology in an innovative way, to provide significant benefits to their company, the automotive industry, the environment, and vehicle occupants.
Delphi Delco Electronics Systems
Forewarn® Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive Cruise Control allows a driver to use cruise control in traffic. It maintains a set speed until another vehicle appears ahead, then it slows to trail it by a constant time interval, which can be adjusted. A red light, or the brakes, come on if the interval is too close. Adaptive Cruise Control can discern relatively small targets in clutter and can distinguish moving and immobile objects when rounding turns. It functions at speeds up to 112 mph and disconnects with warning at speeds below 18 mph. The driver can exit or override Adaptive Cruise Control, and thus retains ultimate control of the vehicle.
Mechanical scan of a wide swath with patented, frequency-modulated, continuous wave technology, results in superior target discrimination, which opens a wide scope of interpretive applications software. It is minimally affected by weather, but self-detects if blockages, such as snow or mud, inhibit operation. This small unit can mount inside a vehicle so that it does not compromise body profile and is not externally visible.
Delco has designed Adaptive Cruise Control for automotive volume production, overcoming several significant challenges to creation of a small, manufacturable package. Adaptive Cruise Control is thus positioned to become a standard sensory system platform to support collision warning and other features of electronic vehicles when the demand for them materializes.
Adaptive Cruise Control with mechanical scan was first offered on the 2000 Jaguar XKR. Other customers are being booked.
Delphi Automotive, Delphi Chassis Systems
Dynamic Body Control
Created at Delphi’s Paris Technical Center, Dynamic Body Control is an advanced active roll-control system- including front and rear hydraulics, electronics, and mechanical components – to give improved ride and handling characteristics in SUV-type vehicles. Improvements come from body-roll stabilization in cornering, improved straight-line driving, as well as improved steering feel and response. Innovations enabling this system include a roll-control mechanism with a linear actuator, and a valve block design permitting pressure regulation and directional switching rather than the usual flow diverters. Active Cornering Enhancement (ACE) was shown at the 1998 Paris Auto Show, and debuted on the 1999 Land Rover Discovery II.
SmartRelease™ trunk entrapment-prevention system
SmartRelease provides automatic rather than manual escape for anyone accidentally trapped in a car trunk. The system uses pyroelectric technology to detect human or animal presence within the trunk space, and automatically release the trunk latch. Independent testing indicates that a manual pull handle, no matter how well-lighted, would be used by no more than 50% of children, who are most likely to become entrapped. SmartRelease is being installed in the 2000 Monte Carlo and Impala, and will be on most GM vehicles by 2002.
F-100 flexible positioner
The F-100 is a compact six-degrees-of-freedom parallel link positioner that brings the proven, flexible technology of robotics to tooling. It is suited to many positioning tasks, including weld-gun manipulating, flexible fixturing, part loading, lifting/locating, and manipulating parts. It provides the flexibility to build multiple platforms and body styles on the same line, in the same fixture. Only the tooling on top of the faceplate needs to be designed and built for a given application, making it an extremely flexible convertible positioner. The F-100 is a readily programmable tool, as well as a reusable one.
Binary, Complementary Synthetic-White LED Illuminators
Gentex, the past winner of three PACE awards, does it again. This year, the company achieves innovative excellence with a brilliant insight into how to create “white light” LEDs (light emitting diodes). A familiar example of an LED is the little green light that tells you if your PC monitor is on. Typically, LEDs are used as indicators, rather than as a source of illumination, because noone has so far discovered how to create white light of sufficient illuminating intensity at a reasonable cost. That is, until Gentex did it. The first Intrigue model from Oldsmobile used Gentex’s innovation in its map light. But this is only the beginning, as Fred Bauer, CEO of Gentex, believes the automotive applications of the white light LED are unlimited both inside and outside the car. The stock market seemed to concur, as GNTX rose by over 50% immediately after announcing its innovation in early December of last year, before settling back to a 30% gain a few days later.
What is significant about a white light LED? Traditionally, LED-based white light is created by combining three LEDs (red, green, blue) or by adding indium gallium nitride to a single LED. Both of these methods are expensive. Gentex discovered that a less expensive white light solution was to combine two LEDs (blue-green and amber). The company has patented this binary solution.
The binary LED white light solution makes it economically feasible to convert all interior illumination sources from incandescent lamps to LEDs. LEDs are robust performers. They last five-times longer than incandescents, draw significantly less electricity, have lower operating temperatures, and are significantly more compact. These benefits allow new styling opportunities since fixtures do not have to be designed to allow for lamp replacements or heat dissipation.
The benefits of this innovation will be extended to many other applications where compact, durable lighting is needed – such as flashlights, aircraft cabin lighting, and appliances.
Second-surface valve-gate technology
This innovative technology permits the production of a four-color polycarbonate lens for automotive lamps. Before this relocation of plastic part valve gates from the outer to the inner surface of a lamp, there was no practical method of producing a desirable four-color polycarbonate lens without the addition of costly secondary off-line processes. Guide’s process allows the production of a customer-specified combination of materials, styling, functional content, and automation of processes while improving productivity approximately 50%.
The Gleason Works
Power Dry Cutting/UMC Ultima Axle Gear Manufacturing
Hypoidal ring and pinion gears are the most efficient way to transfer rotational power at right angles, from a vehicle’s engine to its wheels. These gears, having curved, angled teeth, were conceived over a century ago. In the 19th century, The Gleason Works invented a machine tool capable of cutting hypoidal gears, using complex mechanical linkages to rotate cutting tools and the gear being cut simultaneously. Hypoidal gears are still used today in the axles of rear- or four-wheel drive vehicles, connecting the drive shaft to the wheels through the axle. Such gears maintain maximum tooth contact, making the axle smaller, lighter, and more efficient.
Today, as sports utility vehicles and light trucks have increased the demand for hypoidal gears, Gleason has inventively applied basic physics, structural design, and electronics knowhow to producing hypoidal gear cutting machines with six independent computer numerically controlled (CNC) axes.
Gleason’s PACE award is for two new innovations. PowerDryCut™ re-engineers the cutting tools, using the latest materials to take advantage of faster CNC speeds. UMCUltima™ makes use of CNC to program a change in gear tooth geometry, resulting in the fabrication of much quieter gears. Combined, these innovations produce a hypoidal gear cutting system that requires less investment, less manufacturing space, and produces quieter axle gear sets at lower cost. Further, the new system eliminates the need for environmentally undesirable and costly cutting oils, and replaces a difficult-to-control lapping process with precision grinding.
Machine tool companies generally focus their research and development on machine tool products, not on enhancing the consumer’s experience with the vehicle. Gleason took the initiative to become the leading expert on automotive axle noise, vibration, and harshness, testing cars to understand axle noise and what their machines could to do about it. The result is the combined innovation of UMC Ultima™ for quiter gears and PowerDryCut™ for lower costs.
Lumileds Lighting US LLC
Developed by LumiLeds (a Philips Lighting – Agilent Technologies joint venture), SnapLED represents an important innovation in LED assembly and packaging that has, for the first time, enabled high-powered solid state LED emitters to become a superior alternative to the traditional incandescent light bulb for use in automotive signal applications.
In recent years LEDs have gained considerable adoption in certain automotive signal applications (principally the Center High Mount Stop Lamp). LEDs offer faster turn-on times for improved safety, lower power consumption and significantly better reliability, over comparable incandescent bulbs. However, until the development of SnapLED, LEDs with enough power to be bright enough for use in signal lighting have been extremely difficult and expensive to mount to a suitable substrate that could dissipate the resulting heat. LumiLeds’ has solved this problem through its innovative use and refinement of a cold metal-forming fastening technique in which a high powered LED is “clinched” directly to a thin, flexible copper substrate instead of being soldered to a printed circuit board as has historically been the case with solid state devices.
By combining both a mechanical and electrical connection into a single process, LumiLed has created an extremely bright, very robust unit that can be configured into extremely thin packages as little as one sixth the depth of conventional incandescent signal lamps. This offers OEMs a new alternative with greatly improved design flexibility, lower manufacturing and warranty costs, reduced assembly complexity, and improved space utilization over both existing LED offerings and conventional incandescent units.
Prior to the introduction of SnapLED all Front Turn Signal and Rear Combination Lamps have used incandescent bulbs. The 1999 Hyundai Equus was the first application of SnapLED in a Front Turn Signal Lamp. The recently introduced 2000 Cadillac Deville uses SnapLED for the full Rear Combination Lamp function. Next year two more vehicles using SnapLED will be introduced in Europe and the company is currently working on over a dozen new programs with major lighting suppliers and OEMs on a worldwide basis.
Through its development of SnapLED technology, LumiLeds is lighting the way for widespread industry adoption of high-powered LEDs in automotive signal applications and in the process, “changing the rules of the game”.
McCord Winn Textron
RITec™ fan shroud reservoir
This innovation uses advances in blow molding to create a single, unitary component incorporating radiator fan shroud, coolant reservoir, front and rear washer reservoirs, and rear washer reservoir fill funnel. In creating this combined assembly, the technology allows parts consolidation, as well as savings in weight, cost and space. RITec technology can be used for other applications where a given function can be served while hollow chambers are incorporated during the blow molding process, to consolidate multiple additional functions. Examples include air-intake ducts and resonators, air filters, power steering fluid reservoirs, and cruise control vacuum reservoirs. Recyclable content is improved, as well.
McLaren Automotive Group
Auto Body Concept
Auto body Concept (ABC), developed particularly for design and production in third-world and developing countries, (but readily adaptable for manufacturing elsewhere) uses simple construction materials and assembly techniques rather than relying on substantial factory overhead and capital equipment used to produce cars in the Western manner. The ABC technology bonds thermoformed composite interior and exterior panels to a stainless steel tubular chassis. This means recyclable materials, no point, and an ability to make use of many existing or soon-to-be-available engines. The TAISUN Corporation has licensed the Auto Body Concept for manufacturing a taxi for use in China, but the concept is very flexible and can easily produce a variety of configurations, such as pick-ups, minivans, off-road vehicles, and military or police transports.
Roof Module for Passenger Cars
Meritor, in Frankfurt, Germany, has developed the automotive industry’s first ready- to-install roof module. The patented roof module is under active review by several automakers in North America and Europe but is already in production on DaimlerChrysler’s Smart Car. The roof is a simple system that uses a hard exterior outer shell with the headliner molded to it. Sandwiched between the two layers is a polyurethane composite for strength and rigidity. Such a roof module can significantly reduce weight, assembly time, and cost, while adding styling flexibility. The roof opening allows new, easier assembly procedures, since interior components, such as instrument panels and seats, can be installed by overhead robots rather than by workers who have to wrestle them into the vehicle through door openings.
Parish Structural Products Automotive Systems Group, Dana Canada
Process creating load-bearing structural components out of thin-wall tubing
This process makes use of hydroforming know-how to allow Parish Structural Products Canada to make very light and strong one-piece load-bearing structural components out of very long lengths of large diameter, thin-wall tubing. The process uses new multi-pressure hydroforming techniques to achieve component complexity, lightness, cost-effectiveness, and strength. The immediate application of this process is the engine cradle used in the 1999 Ford Windstar.
Power-Prime® two-coat electrodeposition primer system
Power-Prime is a system of two electrophoretically applied coatings for protecting automobiles. It provides superior resistance to corrosion and chipping, and represents the first time such a process has been successfully applied to the rigorous demands of automotive applications. Besides optimization of film quality for subsequent thermoset polyurethane layers, Power-Prime has the advantages inherent in electrodeposition, including material efficiency, labor efficiency, and environmental friendliness.
Powder Clearcoat Paint
PPG’s Powder Clearcoat achievements went against conventional wisdom about what was possible in clearcoat capability and performance, and this innovation was accordingly based upon a strong partnership between PPG and BMW. Melt mixing and control of particle size distribution are two critical process elements making this innovation possible.
The product was first introduced into mass production on the clearcoat lines at the BMW plant in Dingolfing, Germany, where Enviracryl Powder Clearcoat is being used to paint the final coat on BMW’s 5 and 7 Series automobiles. Use of powder clearcoat virtually eliminates VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions, making it “best practice,” hence the likely choice for new installations. Recirculating water systems in the clearcoat booths are no longer needed, as overspray is simply vacuumed up and recycled, after being reprocessed and mixed with virgin powder for reuse. Total system utilization is 96 per cent. Such a powder system boasts lower installation investment costs, and waste disposal provisions are not required. Best of all, finished appearance and quality is equal to that of high performance liquid clearcoats.
Rieter Automotive Systems
Rieter Ultra Light acoustic vehicle treatment
Rieter approached the problem of noise reduction differently than other companies have. Its achievement in acoustics integration is based on principles of absorption rather than insulation. Rieter’s patented, two-layer noise reduction material, Rieter Ultra Light (RUL), absorbs sound efficiently enough to reduce the weight of automotive acoustic treatments by as much as 50%, or between 10 and 30 kg per vehicle (22-66 lbs.). Rieter’s acoustic engineers analyze the sources and locations of vehicle noise and apply strategically placed RUL in assembly-ready panels to achieve the same or better acoustics and noise attenuation with less weight and cost.
Among the highest volume platforms using or committed to RUL and Rieter’s acoustic integration services are the Chrysler Minivan and the new Fiat Punto, as well as several other platforms under development now in North America and Europe. By 2003, over three million vehicles will use RUL and Rieter’s acoustics integration services. Consumers driving these vehicles 10,000 miles per year (16,000 km) will each use at least 115 fewer gallons of fuel per year (440 liters), and the environment will escape the consequences of almost 350 million gallons (1.3 billion liters) of fuel consumed.
Rieter’s innovation was based on an excellent understanding of the customers’ needs, a thorough and creative understanding of the science of acoustics, and sound business judgment. The innovation changes the Winterthur, Switzerland-based company’s former business — a supplier of bulk textile materials and processing equipment to the textile industry — to supplying technical services and highly engineered materials to the automotive industry. This innovation is positive for consumers, the industry, the company, and the environment.
Siemens’ Electronics wins a PACE Award for a deceptively simple device. Easily seen as just a replacement for the mechanical key, simply carrying Siemens’ Keyless-Go, a credit card-sized transponder, allows the driver to walk up to a locked vehicle, open the door, and press a button to get under way. As the driver approaches the car, the device can trigger memory seats, power mirrors, and other pre-sets. More than an extension of power door locks, it provides a glimpse into the future of automotive-human interfaces. Like the electric starter and automatic transmission, Keyless Go enables a new range of possibilities for the coming generation of digitally enhanced cars.
Keyless Go is a direct outgrowth of Siemens’ immobiliser technology, which integrates security services with the vehicle’s engine control computer. It extends that technology by adding two-way radio frequency (RF) communication technology, allowing remote detection (turn-off the anti-theft systems, unlock the doors or trunk while you’re outside, enable the engine) and integration with body control systems (adjustment of mirrors, seats, steering wheel, pedals, and other electronic systems ). Keyless Go users no longer have to juggle packages or hunt through pockets to find their keys. Siemens also solved the problem of locking keys in the car or trunk, or identifying the driver when both occupants are carrying Keyless Go cards.
This step is a technology that continues to leverage Siemens’ immobilizer and engine control expertise, and provides a further step toward the “digital car.”
Siemens is successfully using an architectural or “platform” approach to developing major insights into how we might interact with our cars, and providing solutions. In the not too distant future, Keyless Go could be used for cashless tolls, automated parking fees, “pay and go” gas pumps, and rental car pickups.
US Farathane Corporation
HVAC evaporator/core seals
This new seal, which replaces the open-celled foam seal between the evaporator core and HVAC housing, eliminates bacterial odor resulting from H2O buildup, a persistent industry problem. In addition to reduced customer complaints and warranty costs, this seal results in lower costs, improved efficiency, and increased recyclability. Air loss and labor are also reduced by the USF seal, which can be used in heater core seal applications as well.
Park Assist System
The Valeo Park Assist is designed to allow a driver to guide his or her vehicle more precisely during close maneuvers. Operating in forward or reverse gear, sensors in the bumper detect objects in the vehicle’s path. The driver is alerted through a series of beeps, with the frequency of beeps indicating proximity to the closest object. This innovation has the potential to reduce often costly damage to vehicles caused by low-speed collisions with adjacent objects.
Visteon Automotive Systems
Visteon Voice Technology™
Visteon’s Voice Technology permits hands-free, speaker-independent voice control of multiple vehicle systems, providing a comprehensive level of vehicle convenience, control, and safety. Not only can drivers make hands-free telephone calls using this voice system, they can change interior temperature or choose a particular track on a CD. The technology, available in several languages, is designed to work well in an automotive noise environment and does not need to be “trained” to a specific user’s novice. Visteon Voice Technology can be found in the 1999 Jaguar S-Type.
Visteon Automotive Systems
Superintegration™ methodology for designing integrated systems
Visteon’s broad approach to product design focuses on functional requirements and creative grouping of functions to achieve optimized system architecture. Magnitude and contents of any project are tailored to each customer’s specific requirements. Visteon’s initiative in Superintegration™ has directly resulted in 62 patents and 400 filed disclosures. An example of this integration might be a single member that provides structure for the cockpit module, thermal management, a carrier for electrical architecture, an integrated airbag housing, and significant weight savings. Each of these functions, in turn, contains its own innovative integrated functions, also bringing to bear a maximum of Visteon’s central competencies.