Skip to content

1997 Finalists

1997 Finalists

  1. Bosch Automotive Motor Systems Winner!

    Automotive Motor Systems

    It is one thing to have an award-winning idea, but it is a special achievement when that idea and its implementation also speaks directly to environmental waste concerns and the critical need–now really an imperative–to recycle material involved in automotive components.

    Bosch Automotive, working with the Ford Motor Company on the one side, and a key supplier, Wellman, Incorporated, on the other, has done just that. When Ford asked its suppliers for fresh ideas and creativity in obtaining 25% post-consumer recycled material content (or 25% “PCR”) in under-the-hood components, Bosch came through. Working closely with Wellman, the first part made (25% PCR) from post-consumer nylon was designed and produced for the 1996 Ford Windstar minivan by Bosch. The part is a dual fan shroud assembly.

    Displaying a total commitment to solving the customer’s problem, Bosch was particularly impressive for its expansion of needed technical resources by partnering with Wellman, for chemical engineering and highly specialized polymer knowhow. Ultimately, this allowed the extraction and use of component-quality nylon from discarded nylon carpeting.

    Each part weighs just four pounds, but since July 1996, use of this revised-content component has meant that carpeting discarded from the equivalent of 1,300 homes has not been added to our landfills.

    This innovation also achieved, in the process of adding PCR content to the 1996 Ford Windstar, an important reduction in cost of the end product, all without sacrificing quality or durability.

    This unique, multi-dimensional accomplishment by Bosch Automotive Systems, working as a team with Wellman, Inc., and Ford, merits a 1997 PACE Award.

  2. Dana Corporation, Spicer Transmission Division< Winner!

    Auto Mate 2

    The Spicer Transmission Division of Dana Corporation is recognized and receives a PACE Award from the judges for its innovation in developing and first introducing an electronically controlled truck transmission that automatically controls the shifting of the top two gears. Auto Mate 2, for Class 8 over-the-highway trucks, is not simply a one-off achievement, but is integral to the Spicer Division’s business strategy. It was introduced with the advantage of being compatible with most heavy duty truck engines.

    Auto Mate 2 provides a cost-effective solution to the problem it addresses, by automatically controlling shifting of just the top two gears, on cue from the engine’s management control system. Fuel mileage is improved significantly, since shifts between the top two gears account for 90% of the actual shifting in over-the-highway trucks. The incremental costs of the installed product can be justified under normal criteria used in the industry by fuel savings alone.

    In addition to enabling improved consumption economics, Auto Mate 2 reduces fatigue and provides enhanced driver ergonomics and comfort, as well as improved driver retention and an expanded driver applicant pool.

    Early market presentation of Auto Mate 2 has expanded the Spicer Division’s engineering capabilities and scope, and it is expected that this innovation will influence truck transmission design and products well into the future.

  3. Gentex Corporation, Automotive Products Group Winner!

    Gentex Metal Reflector

    Gentex, a 1997 PACE Award winner, has demonstrated again why it is an automotive business leader. Already the global leader in auto-dimming interior rear-view mirrors, Gentex has come up with a proprietary coating that makes possible for the first time the application of electrochromic technology to the relatively larger exterior mirrors required by light trucks and sport utility vehicles, while still being able to withstand the relatively greater environmental stresses imposed on an exterior mirror.

    The Gentex Metal Reflector (GMR) proprietary coating, in solving the specific problems presented by larger exterior mirrors, has created and served a new market through superior performance and substantial cost savings that are passed on to Tier One and OEM customers. GMR has also been a key factor in the development of exterior mirrors that use curved glass, as on the passenger side mirrors in North America, or the wide-angle aspheric mirrors that are used in Europe and Japan. GMR is now being used by Gentex in all of its external auto-dimming product applications.

    Because of systematic and persistent exploration of new products and market opportunities, Gentex has produced another innovation that is profitable for the company and for its customers, and one which provides an appeal and a substantial safety benefit for light truck and sport utility vehicle users. This merits the 1997 small company PACE Award.

  4. Johnson Controls, Prince Division, Automotive Systems Group Winner!


    Creative market research by Prince suggested that consumers may feel secure in their homes and in their cars, but may be somewhat less satisfied with the security, and convenience, of the transition between car and home. Prince’s innovative HomeLink permits a seamless transition between car and home, and more.

    HomeLink is a radio transceiver connected to the car’s electrical bus, and integrated into the visor or overhead console. Only the buttons needed to activate garage doors, security systems, locks, or lighting, are visible. The device can “learn” 99+% of all garage door opening signal codes produced over the last 30 years, as well as handle newer “rolling code” algorithms. HomeLink is protected by 19 patents developed at Prince. Patent-protected technologies endow the product with the ability to send and receive a broad range of radio signals that can have numerous applications beyond opening doors and turning on lights.

    Thus, Prince is not being recognized simply for a new device for opening garage doors, but rather, for the innovative potential to expand the ways consumers and commercial providers will be able to interact with the car and between car and home. HomeLink has the potential to assist in delivering valuable information or “instructions” between car, home, and other locations, and spawn new products created outside the automotive industry that will move us toward a seamless connection between the car and its driver, and home or other locations.

    In developing HomeLink, Prince has impressively grown its abilities to partner with other companies in home access and security, as well as in other industries; to administer direct consumer service; and to work with and through car dealers as well as manufacturers. At the same time, Homelink is recognized, by name, at the consumer level, and by a growing list of manufacturers, as adding value to the car in which it is installed. Prince’s HomeLink merits a 1997 PACE Award as an innovation whose ultimate effects on new products and lifestyle enhancements are just beginning.

  5. Rapid Design Services, Inc. Winner!

    Innovative transformation

    Rapid Design Services, Inc., started as a local supplier of engineering services for the Automotive Components Division of GM. Theirs is a story of innovation in the transformation of a service company.

    As ACD grew, so did RDS. As ACD spread from chassis, to radiators, to instrument panels, to electronics, so did RDS. As ACD became Delphi Automotive and began globalizing, RDS continued its support. Then came Lopez. Rather than submit to a reactive survival strategy, RDS took advantage of the opportunity to introduce real change and instituted volume discounts in the engineering services industry. This was innovative because it had never been done. Now RDS’s clients–including many besides Delphi–are saving millions on an array of outsourced services.

    RDS is able to deliver many valuable local services globally because of its three key information systems used in combination: its global CAD network encompasses every major CAD system in use today; its financial network is a project-based accounting system which can be monitored by office, by client, by country, and corporately; and its human resource system not only captures skills of RDS’s own 2500 employees, but capabilities of thousands of technical people worldwide who can be mobilized as required. RDS has thus rapidly grown its business beyond Delphi Automotive, to deliver services to other automotive companies, and other sectors, including heavy equipment, computers, appliances, furniture, medical supply, food processing, and aerospace.

    Today Rapid Design Services not only offers product design and manufacturing engineering services, but additional services, such as rapid prototyping, competitive databases, plant layout and building design, environmental, and even troubled supplier consulting. RDS’s innovative transformation has not only redefined their industry, it has given them a strategic leap ahead as a model engineering services firm.

  6. Delco Electronics Corporation

    Airbag crash- detection senso

    The Company devised an airbag crash- detection sensor which has less mass, size, and part count than its predecessor. The significant reduction in parts and size resulted in improved manufacturing cycle times and efficiency gains for capital equipment. Just as important, because of an enormous database of crash data, Delco was able to make a virtually “universal” sensor, one that could be keyed to many different installation circumstances.
  7. Lear Corporation

    Dry Bond Process

    By using the door trim substrate as the common attachment point for all door hardware and content, Lear set a standard for modularity in door assembly which increases value, improves quality, and simplifies shipping. Lear’s nominated Dry Bond Process gained recognition because it eliminates the need for mechanical attachment devices to secure trim covers to foam pads, allowing for increased manufacturing efficiency, longer wear cycles on car seats, and more design freedom and materials compatibility. Lear also acted decisively to implement an advanced program management system, significantly beyond QS-9000 requirements, that effectively communicates business, technical, and program timing objectives throughout the product development and production process.
  8. Monroe Auto Equipment Co. of Tenneco Automotive

    Redesigned a painting process

    Monroe Automotive redesigned a painting process, which involved a number of steps and handling of multiple hazardous waste-producing materials, and made possible a new, cleaner, chemical autodeposition paint process which bonds paint polymers directly to exposed iron surfaces. The application allows the painting of shock absorber bodies, while leaving their rods unaffected. The process works without high-temperature curing, effectively reducing cycle time, energy costs, and potentially harmful emission. Monroe has applied this world class technology in overseas markets, including Spain and Mexico.

  9. Walker Manufacturing unit of Tenneco Automotive

    Exhaust systems for new models by partnering with OEM customers

    In the process of developing leadership design capabilities, Walker Manufacturing proposed exhaust systems for new models by partnering with OEM customers and entering planning/design processes up-front. Tenneco looked at where the industry was going, not where it was, which allowed Walker to work directly with Big Three OEM engineers to optimize emission and exhaust systems and to meet varying NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) requirements.
  10. Fayette Tubular Products, Inc.

    Fully automated zero-defect pressure vessel assembly lin

    Fayette achieved improved reliability, labor efficiency, and processing costs by constructing a fully automated zero-defect pressure vessel assembly line. The newly redesigned line makes final inspections virtually unnecessary, while allowing Fayette to meet tougher mass reduction and corrosion resistance goals for pressure vessels.
  11. Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber

    Exhaust manifold heat shield

    Midwest’s exhaust manifold heat shield for the 5.0 L Ford V8 engine provides greatly improved temperature reduction in a tightly packaged engine compartment, plus enhanced safety. The new shield simplifies the tooling process, improves appearance and is without dangerous sharp edges – all at a lower cost.
  12. Parish Division, Stockton Frame Assembly Plant of Dana Corporation

    Small truck frame production process

    Dana-Parish’s Stockton plant entered a hand-in-hand partnership with New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) to design a Toyota small truck frame production process. It features a custom production line with sever-second changeovers among an initial 11 frame models and incorporates more than 300 pokayoke devices. This new process allows NUMMI to maintain minimum inventory for just-in-time shipments, with just-in-sequence capability as well. This operation is sole-source for the frame, and a “critical path” ingredient for the Toyota T100 Pickup truck.
  13. Automotive Group, Ryder Integrated Logistics

    Integrated advanced auto manufacturers

    Ryder now provides totally integrated advanced auto manufacturers. With Ryder’s help, OEMs can more effectively control the complete flow and storage of goods, parts, and related information from point-of-origin to point-of-consumption-including transportation, warehousing, purchasing, just-in-time delivery, and inventory management. Ultimately, Ryder can be responsible for tracking and managing everything that goes into and out of an auto plant, and, as a result, can subject these processes to mathematical management and achieve cost-savings. These innovations continue to foster new growth in customer relationships; the related Ryder service array continues to expand, as they now provide vehicle production sub-assembly work services, as well as site searches for new plants.
  14. Tesco Engineering, Inc.

    The hemming die

    A clean sheet of paper and a redesign of the basic press and die-style hemming process is what generated this Tesco innovation. The company challenged existing assumptions in designing a new “one size fits all” configuration which allows customers to standardize processes across vehicle platforms, enabling them to move more quickly toward their flexibility and agile production goals. By creating a more flexible modular system, Tesco allowed adding investment as needed. The hemming die is a on-station hemming system which corners, prehems, and final hems the assembly (car door edges, for example) in one operation. Tesco customers also experienced improved closure panel quality levels as well as reduced tooling costs.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply