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1995 Finalists


  1. AP Technoglass Company Winner!

    AP Technoglass Company presented an innovative, complex-shaped glass windshield and backlight which are incorporated into the design and manufacture of an automobile. This required specifically designed furnace applications and, due to quality requirements, challenges to the manufacturing process. AP Technoglass has successfully manufactured these unique glass products in-house.

  2. Dana Corporation, Spicer Driveshaft Division Winner!

    Near net journal cross and integrated seal design

    Dana Corporation, Spice Driveshaft Division, presented an innovative universal joint kit design that incorporates and advancement in both the process and product. This patented design utilizes near-net, cold forming for the journal cross, which increases kit life, provides greater strength, and is lighter in weight. The product design includes a dual-radial-lip bearing cup seal, thrust washer, and seal guard. These component design improvements reduce vibration and component failure, improve sealing, and increase U-joint life.

    All functions of Spicer’s engineering and technical services were applied in the kit’s design and development. The new U-joints have been widely accepted by all Spicer’s automotive customers and incorporated into their drivelines.

  3. Detroit Edison

    Detroit Edison presented the Energy Partnership Program and the Safety Training Program for the Electric Vehicle.

    The Energy Marketing and Distribution group teams with auto-makers to help manage energy demands and realize energy savings through an innovative energy partnership program. Detroit Edison has been able to provide substantial savings and competitive advantage to its customers through total involvement in the customer’s business.

    The company’s “Electrical & Hybrid Electric Vehicle Emergency Rescue Training” safety program enables the use of new electric vehicles as they are introduced and has, thus far, trained hundreds of fire, police, and rescue personnel.

  4. Dow Chemical Company

    The Automotive Materials and Services Group of Dow Chemical Company presented the first integrated structural instrument panel.The combinations of design and material helped simplify assembly, enhance safety, achieve performance requirements, and address environmental concerns. The structural design consists of a cross car beam/duct, retainer, and knee bolsters. Part integration and consolidation, use of ductile engineering thermoplastics, and total system design are all contributors to the success of reducing cost and weight.

  5. Fel-Pro Incorporated

    Fel-Pro Incorporated, Original Equipment, presented three nominations: Edge-Molded Metal Plate Cylinder Head Gaskets (EMMP), Wire Ring Head Gasket Cell, adn Re-engineering of related Customer Service Responsibilities.

    The trends in the diesel engine industry are longer service life, increased power ratings, stringent emissions standards, and improved fuel efficiency. Consequently, the functional requirements of the cylinder head gaskets are often beyond the performance capabilities of traditional gasket material. EMMP gaskets were developed to solve the sealing equation for current and future diesel engines.

    In order to produce quality OEM cylinder head gaskets with optimum manufacturing processes and strategic use of automation, Fel-Pro developed and implemented the Wire Ring Head Gasket Cell with zero defects. Since production release in 1991, the cell has reduced scrap costs by 75 precent and cut lead time from 27 days to only a few hours, with 100 percent on-time delivery.

  6. Freudenberg NOK

    Freudenberg NOK presented its GROWTTH (Get Rid Of Waste Through Team Harmony) innovation, which has created a new corporate culture that emphasizes teamwork and enlists its entire workforce to increase efficiencies in the use of time, labor, and space. This lean manufacturing program increases both job satisfaction and quality.

    More than 400 customers vendors, and guests have participated in GROWTTH’s projects to see lean systems in traditional American manufacturing plants.

  7. Gentex Corporation Winner!

    Gentex Corporation, Automotive Products Group, presented two innovations: the automatic-dimming electrochromic exterior mirror and the conversion of its interior mirror electronic assembly area from staraight-line assembly to U-shaped work cells.

    Gentex was the first company in the world to develop and market an exterior electrochromic mirror meeting the performance criteria of the North American automakers, and currently is the leading supplier of these mirrors to the worldwide automotive industry.

    As part of its ongoing effort to increase productivity, Gentex reengineered its electronic assembly areas for electrochromic mirrors by converting strainght assembly lines to U-shaped work cells with self-directed work teams. This has significantly decreased inventory and assembly time, increased product yields, and improved quality and employee attendance.

  8. Giddings & Lewis, Inc.

    Giddings & Lewis, Inc., Integrated Automation Group, presented two innovations: the SmartConveyor™ and the Model 3000 Piston Turning Machine.

    SmartConveyor is a heavy-duty roller conveyor with a fractional horsepower motor powering every one or two rollers. The rollers are activated by programmable controllers only when needed. Compared to a traditional conveyor, SmartConveyor uses up to 75 percent less electricity with life cycle costs reduced by as much as 10 percent.

    The 3000 Piston Turning Machine is a vertical two-spindle CNC machine that turns automotive pistons more accurately and at twice the speed of a cam-followed machine. The machine’s footprint is 20 percent smaller than that of the single spindle horizontal model, while output is double.

  9. Johnson Controls, Inc. Winner!

    Johnson Controls, Inc., Automotive Systems Group, presented three innovations: an improved power seat adjuster system, a Just-in-Time/Just-in-Sequence production system used in the assembly of seats, and an eight-step product definition process used for creating high value seating solutions for the world’s auto makers.

    Johnson Controls led an aggressive, integrated approach to improving warranty returns on seat adjusters to meet desired return levels. The process included dealer/consumer hot lines and interviews, working with the automaker to review warranty data, and redefining test methods used at both the car maker and supplier. Results to date include 85 percent improvement in service returns and significant warranty reductions for the OEM, and millions of dollars in improved customer satisfaction.

    Johnson Controls has developed a Just -inTime/ Just-in-Sequence manufacturing system that is used in 34 plants worldwide, producing seat systems for more than 6.5 million vehicles per year. The system is a unique combination of lean manufacturing, logistical control, defect prevention, and employee empowerment. JCI assembles seats in the same sequence that the auto assembly plant produces its vehicles. Each seat system is delivered to the auto . assembly line within a few hours of receiving the seat style and color specifications electronically from the automaker. The whole operation is done JIT, including inspection.

  10. Phillips Service Industries, Inc. Winner!

    Phillips Service Industries, Inc., presented its Repairable Asset Control. Using barcoding, an on-site RAC® coordinator tracks and controls spare parts, allowing customers to manage an array of components critical to a modern plant’s utilization. RAC significantly improves profitability, reduces downtime, eliminates spare parts waste, and tracks warranty coverage for the manufacturer. RAC is the best-selling spare parts control service in the world.

  11. Sealed Power Division of SPX

    The Franklin Kentucky plant of the Sealed Power Division of SPX Corporation presented three innovations, involving side grinding operation, nickel-tin plating operation, and the gainsharing program. The plant manufactures cast iron sealing rings which require multiple matching operations, including side grinding operation. Originally the rings required several passes between rotating grinding wheels. Today, these wheels are ceramic, allowing the ring to be ground in a single pass. This process has generated significant savings and increased productivity.

    The nickel-tin plating innovation combined automated inspection with the plating operation. With this, the company was able to reduce scrap and rework costs. Also, a separate innovation reduced the time required for changeover, resulting in a significant cost reduction but requiring minimal investment.

    The gainsharing program’s objective is to reward associates on improved plant performance. It measures quality, productivity, control of expenses, customer satisfaction, and on-time deliveries. Over the past three years, the plant has reduced scrap by 40 percent, reduced WIP inventory by 24 percent, reduced manufacturing cycle time by 30 percent, and on-time delivery reached 98 percent.

  12. TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc

    TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc., presented Process Mistake Proofing (PMP), producing air bags and seat belts that meet rigorous safety standards and customer requirements. PMP recognizes that all process actions may introduce errors and that a formal method to evaluate the level of mistake-proofing is vital. Tied to problem analysis that provides explicit guidance for allocating PMP efforts and refining checklists, TRW-VSSI has been able to turn an ad hoc set of principles into an ongoing process that can be taught and evaluated. As a management tool, this has resulted in one common set of goals and one shared methodology. TRW’s success has brought about a cultural change among its employees.

  13. United Technologies Automotive, Inc.

    United Technologies Automotive, Inc., Wiring Systems, presented Warranty Reduction Teams, a process to analyze OEM warranty claims and utilize a team approach to drive warranty concern resolutions. UTA developed an MIS application which facilitates data analysis, allowing significant reduction of wiring problems from manufacturing through vehicle assembly, now being integrated into their design process.

  14. Verson

    Verson, a Division of Allied Products Corp., presented its MultiMode™ Electronic Transfer Feed (ETF). Prior to MultiMode, transfer presses were available as either a tri-axis press or a cross bar press, therefore restricted as to the types of parts that could be produced. MultiMode combines both systems into one press that an produce a wider variety of stampings at higher rates. Verson was the first to develop computer controlled part transfer. With MultiMode, the company has eclipsed its own technology and captured almost 100% of the North American ETF market.

  15. Warn Industries, Inc.

    The OEM Business Unit of Warn Industries, Inc., presented three innovations: automatic locking hub improvements, customer-focused team structure, and value driven to exceed customer expectations.

    Warn undertook ambitious efforts to improve the performance and cost of its top-selling automatic locking hub. The newly innovated design includes dual rows of teeth to increase engagement during rock cycles, component design of zinc instead of nylon and steel to improve impact resistance, and synthetic aerospace grease to assure cold weather engagement.

    The company’s CEO recognized the need for organizational changes to increase company performance and responsiveness to customers. Warn Industries’ team structure has produced considerable growth, resulting in two additional business units to serve commercial, industrial, and military customers globally.

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