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2001 Finalists

2001 PACE Finalists and Winners

  1. BASF Corporation, Coatings and Colorants Division Winner!

    Integrated Process

    The automotive industry is under world-wide pressure to reduce harmful emissions from its factories. A major target for reduction is the emission of volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) from automotive paint shops. BASF Corporation has addressed this requirement with a significantly new, innovatively integrated system for coating and painting automobiles.

    BASF has developed and installed at the DaimlerChrysler automotive paint shop at Rastatt, Germany, a new integrated paint process with significant environmental improvements. The colored waterborne primer, the waterborne base coat and the powder slurry clearcoat, taken together substantially eliminate VOC emissions. They are applied wet on wet on wet, with only a single final paint-oven bake, thus reducing energy costs. The process, including e-coat, is viewed as an integrated whole. Despite the assembled risks involved in making significant advances in paint technology in each part of the process, the integrated process has ramped up to full production and has successfully met DaimlerChrysler’s quality objectives. In addition, the BASF personnel responsible for the introduction of this new technology have developed a strong working relationship with DaimlerChrysler, in which they have been given and carried out increased responsibilities as integrated team members as a result of the success of the introduction of this new technology and process.

    BASF has established a successful example of both a new technology for reduction of paint shop emissions and a new working relationship with its customer.

  2. Delphi Automotive Winner!

    Math Based Metal Removal (MBMR) software

    The successful creation and use of its Math Based Metal Removal (MBMR) software to save millions of dollars in manufacturing expense, time, and capital expenditures is a testimonial to Delphi Automotive’s support for innovation and the value of teamwork.

    The concept of systematically and mathematically predicting critical engineering parameters which govern machining processes is significant, representing a truly identifiable breakthrough from traditionally costly and time-consuming trial and error methods, with uncertain control. The concept of using fully predictive tools to aid in determining and controlling the machining process has been a desired goal within Delphi for several years, but only became a reality after Delphi was spun off from GM. Today there is practical use being made of several unique and impressive predictive tools including TURN sim, DRILL sim, FACE sim, GRIND sim, and TAP sim

    The uniqueness of this vast database and intricate software – usable in a Windows format – provides Delphi with a two to three year lead-time over competitors.

    Beyond the technology involved, this innovation is proof of the value of teamwork and collaboration with at least a dozen universities each of which worked on a specific process application, and with Delphi Divisions who co-located engineers within the Research Labs to allow implementation of the tools being developed within the manufacturing plants. Additional teamwork included a corporate-wide training and education effort to spread knowledge and use of the tools, as well as funding provided by the divisions to underwrite MBMR.

    The PACE judges observed that Delphi Research has made “changing the rules of the game” an essential part of their vision. MBMR is a real world example that they practice what they envision.

  3. Hendrickson International Winner!

    AIRTEK Integrated Front Air Suspension and Steer Axle System

    Hendrickson International is recognized for product innovation for the company’s AIRTEK Integrated Front Air Suspension and Steer Axle System. This suspension system is an outstanding on the basis of its technical features, as well as its superior performance characteristics, enhancing the driveability of heavy duty trucks on which it is used.

    Air suspension systems are commonly employed in the trailer section, or the rear end of trucks. To date, the application of this technology in the forward section of commercial vehicles has not enjoyed the same success. The principal challenge has been to balance driver comfort and safety with vehicle handling on uneven road surfaces. Other objectives have included optimizing weight, durability, maintenance requirements, and overall value for money.

    As a response to these challenges, Hendrickson International designed and developed an innovative front steer axle and air suspension module for 5.5 tonne (12,000 lbs.) axle rating. The suspension is a steel spring and air spring load-sharing system. In addition to the suspension, the module features an efficient fabricated steel steer axle with a spring clamp group designed to provide progressive support to the vertical legs of the axle housing with increasing bolt torque, thus maintaining the structural integrity of the box section axle. The complete system is significantly lighter in weight than competitive spring and forged axle suspensions, and is designed for minimum maintenance, a further saving.

    Hendrickson International’s solution to the trade-off between driver comfort and vehicle handling is the outcome of its long-term company-wide commitment to product innovation. The AIRTEK story also demonstrates the value of remaining close to customers and end-users, as a means of capitalizing on developing value-added solutions effectively.

  4. Micronas GmbH Winner!

    Linear Hall effect sensors

    How positions, levels, locations, and changes are sensed and measured in real time within automotive systems has become a critical capability for continuous control and function management in today’s increasingly mechatronic automotive environment. Micronas, with its linear Hall-effect sensor units, has done unique and pioneering work in advancing this ability in an innovative way, with great commercial success.

    The innovation that Micronas has effected is a flexible, intelligent sensing and output device that combines a Hall-effect sensor with memory and computing power in a low cost package, so low that a “distributed strategy” may be employed: these devices may be located wherever the position-sensing needs to occur, under the hood, in a tank, or at a wheel, rather than have to integrate the processing as a part of the central vehicle management function. This will allow the rapid introduction of complex product features and control related to drive-by-wire and the like.

    Micronas’ devices are used in contact-free, magnetic position sensors, which translate a magnetic field, sometimes irregular, into an easily interpreted linear output voltage. These sensors are used for very precise position detection, and may be used in such applications as gas pedal sensors, transmission stick position, chassis level, ride height, and fluid level. This type of sensor is an attractive and viable alternative to the mechanical micro switch, as this contactless switch offers an advantage any time there is vibration, shock, dirt, moisture, high temperature, and electromagnetic interference.

    The strategy or value proposition Micronas has successfully innovated, combining sensor, memory, processing, and control in a small, inexpensive distributed package, will facilitate a proliferation of such intelligent sensors on a vehicle, so that a high end vehicle, which has 20 such distributed units today, will in less than five years have as many as a hundred. Micronas’s sales are in the millions of units.

  5. Nucap Industries Winner!

    NUCAP Retention System

    NUCAP is recognized for its NUCAP Retention System, as well as the spirit of innovation that characterizes the culture of this small early-stage company.

    Traditionally, brake pads have been manufactured using compression molding techniques in which friction material is bonded to a steel back plate. This involves preparation of the surface of the steel plate, as well as the use of chemical agents to enhance the bond between the plate and the friction material. These steps must also be undertaken within sequence, so finishing and painting of the brake pad must be deferred until after the bonding process. Although this manufacturing process is widely accepted, the bond can break down if the steel plate is not properly prepared, leading to uneven wear, noise, or failure. Also, adhesives mean volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and traditional manufacturing processes are expensive, considering cycle time, inventories and indirect expenses.

    NUCAP’s breakthrough is the development of a manufacturing process that creates a mechanical lock between the steel back plate and the friction material of the brake pad. This mechanical lock is achieved by gouging hooks in the surface of the steel back plate. The manufacturing process is unique, and changes the way this job is done: the hooks are gouged into the steel plate in two opposing directions as the steel plate is held in a neutral stress position. The pattern of opposing hooks are achieved in a single manufacturing step, which lends itself to high volume production. By creating a pattern of hooks curling in opposite directions, the need for adhesives as a bonding agent between back plate and friction material is eliminated. The result is a superior product, which can be manufactured at lower cost.

    The NUCAP Retention System is a compelling example of an innovative solution to an unsatisfactory but accepted process in the automotive industry.

  6. PPG Industries Winner!

    Audioguard™ Acoustic Coating

    Automotive consumers interpret interior quietness as an indicator of vehicle quality and performance. Structure-borne vibrations and the resulting noise generated from excitation of body panels must be controlled.

    Conventional acoustic treatments such as asphaltic pads are very labor intensive. Typically, there may be from 5 to 17 such parts per vehicle. They are difficult to install on vertical surfaces, contribute to dirt in the paint finish, and require expensive, inefficient manual application.

    To solve these problems, PPG Industries has introduced the Audioguard™ Acoustical Coating, the first sprayable 100% solids acoustical coating for automobile production. The coating is applied in a robotic spray over a performance-optimized pattern, and is cured in a standard paint line sequence. Cycle time is 45 seconds to apply almost one gallon of material in a precise pattern and thickness. The outcome is an acoustic system that reduces vehicle interior sound levels while providing significant weight and cost savings.

    DaimlerChrysler took the lead in being first customer to put the innovation into practice at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in June 1999. Five plants in the automotive industry are now using Audioguard Acoustic Coating.

    Listening to the voice of the consumer regarding quietness and understanding the needs of the OEM customers for cost and complexity reductions, along with improved cleanliness and quality, PPG was able to apply its competency in spray application of 100% solids with zero VOCs to developing Audioguard, and thereby bring about a substantial change in the way car manufacturers deal with noise and vibration countermeasures.

  7. Quality Measurement Control Inc. Winner!

    CM4D Analyze™

    This innovative software system enables the vehicle manufacturer or supplier to achieve significantly better dimensional control from initial stages of product development through prototype, launch, and assembly gates and processes. As a result, this new data management and analysis capability will also enable new product development cycles consistently below the 18 month “barrier.”

    CM4D graphically displays, anyalyzes, and manages any type of measurement data. Information can be received from sheet metal assemblies, interior trim, glass, moldings, exterior components, and power train components, not only to validate product and process changes effectively early in the prototype phase of a product development cycle, but also to provide on-going statistical process control and basis for root cause analysis in the actual production environment

    Currently, many different types of measurement hardware are used to collect and analyze data, with much of the analysis still done off-line and manually. CM4D allows engineers working on a common global platform to see and analyze immediately dimensional information from any supplier associated with the program, and to communicate data and analsyis among one another via the web, encouraging dimensional integrity and reduction of early costs and time.

    This innovative Windows-based system is open database connectivity compliant and can utilize several databases as central repositories, including DB2, SQL, Sybase, Oracle, and Access. Since its recent introduction, CM4D is being utilized by DaimlerChrysler, Honda, and Freightliner, as well as Tier 1 suppliers, including Budd, Alcoa, Ogihara, Tower, and others.

  8. Raytheon Commercial Infrared Winner!

    Night Vision

    In 1985, the predecessor organization to Raytheon Commercial Infrared took up the challenge of converting a very expensive military technology into an option suitable for automotive use that could be commercialized in an automotive cost range. The outcome was Night Vision, introduced on the 2000 Cadillac DeVille, which will also soon appear as an option for heavy trucks in partnership with Bendix.

    Night Vision senses heat differences of ±0.3Cº of targets at a distance up to 500 yards, three or more times beyond the range of ordinary headlights. White-on-dark images are projected to scale on a small heads-up display just below the driver’s field of external vision through the windshield, and these are visible when it is dark. Without distraction, drivers can see people, animals, vehicles, or anything emitting heat, and take appropriate action. Normally they would have to wait for such objects to appear in headlights. Images are sized (scaled) to be the same as seen by normal vision, so that a driver will judge distance accurately, and the driver controls make it easy to use.

    The innovation was to convert large expensive technology into a small IR-sensing chip and camera that mounts in a vehicle grille, so it is unseen. The size of the unit continues to decrease, the result of a long technical development program, both in product design and in production technology. Although infrared technology has long been associated with defense applications, Raytheon Commercial Infrared holds the patents on the miniaturization that has now brought it to practicality for automotive use. Both the technical hurdles and the investments were large ones.

    Over the next few years, Raytheon Commercial Infrared is positioned to put Night Vision in an increasing number of vehicles. The present innovation is significant both for driver convenience and safety, and infrared is a promising technology for incorporation in future systems of vehicle control.

  9. Robert Bosch Corporation Winner!

    High Pressure Common Rail

    Historically, diesel engines for automobiles have suffered from several disadvantages, including combustion noise, roughness, and emissions. Indeed, diesel engines have not been widely accepted by automotive consumers in the United States. Now, an innovation by Robert Bosch GmbH has fundamentally changed the characteristics of diesel engines.

    Robert Bosch GmbH has developed an innovative high pressure common rail fuel injection system for diesel truck and automobile engines. The high pressure common rail system is by design decoupled from engine speed and is electronically controlled. This permits optimization of both injection pressure and timing, including the ability to have more than one tightly controlled injection event, such as a pilot injection occurring before the main charge. As a result, both combustion noise and emissions can be reduced, significantly improving the performance and consumer acceptability of the diesel engine.

    This Bosch system has been designed so that it can be adopted in existing diesel engines, thus increasing its already significant acceptance in the European market and its recent introduction in the American market. It can readily be programmed to meet the individual requirements of each engine design or performance parameters or objecives.

    This innovation provides a platform for further advances in direct diesel injection, and shows promise as an enabler of diesel uptake in America.

  10. Shape Corporation Winner!

    Tubular High Strength Swept Bumpers

    In the Open Category, Shape Corporation is recognized for an “enduring” innovation, its tubular high strength swept bumpers, which have come to dominate their category, proving that one characteristic of innovations is the way they change the rules of competition, change the rules of the game, transforming the company’s business for the better.

    In 1974, Shape Corporation was a small provider of roll-formed special shapes in light gauge metals for a variety of industries. It grew in roll forming expertise to the point that, in 1992, the company was invited to respond to Chrysler’s need for a curved, high strength steel bumper at a lower cost. To that point, such a requirement was outside the capability of conventional roll forming, but the need for strength, design flexibility, and cost stringency forced the issue. As a result, in 1993, the first roll-formed high strength tubular bumper, a D-shape in cross section, appeared on Chrysler vehicles.

    Automobile manufacturers quickly realized the advantages of Shape’s bumpers, greater quality, increased design flexibility, and lower cost. Today Shape Corporation holds a 30% market share of bumpers worldwide, and are the first US company to ship these components to Japan for Japanese asembly.

    Shape is now a leading-edge supplier in bumper design and construction, increasing the energy-absorbing characteristics of bumper design and manufacture. Bumper engineering at Shape is undiluted by other engineering interests, since all new or unrelated product design engineering projects are assigned to their own business center. This product focus has been rewarded in the automotive industry, and shows how Shape Corporation, a non-automotive supplier just ten years ago, today is an innovative industry leader in automotive applications of bumper design and manufacture.

  11. Tenneco Automotive, Inc. Winner!

    ASD (Acceleration Sensitive Damping)

    Confronting the challenge posed by the long-standing compromise between a soft, comfortable vehicle ride, and precise, sure vehicle handling, Tenneco Automotive found a relatively simple, inexpensive, mechanical solution. The engineers in Monroe, Michigan, developed an Acceleration Sensitive Damping (ASD) shock absorber that utilizes a unique acceleration sensitive mechanical valve. It opens and closes very quickly to adjust to rapid wheel movements on bumps or uneven road surfaces, to maintain a soft ride. However, it remains closed during slower-acceleration body rolls, which maintains stiffness for precise vehicle control, without mushy handling.

    The ASD mechanically breaks the compromise between a suspension tuned for crisp handling and body control and one that offers a soft ride. While a number of complex electronic systems are aimed at combining these ride characteristics and overcoming compromises actively, the ASD solution is simple and very cost effective. This damping control can be incorporated into overall ride and suspension systems, however complex, for any type of car or truck. After extensive testing with over 500 prototypes and one-million cycles of high speed bi-frequency tests, Tenneco engineers developed the optimum valve technology to switch oil flow damping from firm to soft ride in 15 milliseconds. ASD impact sensor technology, a genuine engineering innovation, is patented by Tenneco.

    Tenneco’s ASD is installed as original equipment on the current Nissan Altima SE and will be launched on the 2002 Lincoln Blackwood luxury pick-up this year. It has been introduced in the automotive aftermarket under the “Reflex” brand and is being reviewed by other car and truck OE’s. Tenneco Monroe is now developing the next generation of ASD technology. The strategy is to coordinate and integrate damping technology into modular and kinetic systems.

  12. ZF Industries Inc. Winner!

    Ergonomically based job assignment employee rotation process

    ZF Industries, Inc., Tuscaloosa Plant, has taken a disciplined and scientific approach to reducing the number and severity of disorders related to repetitive and other work motions, leading to a 90% reduction of OSHA Recordable Incidents and 83% reduction of Workman’s Compensation Costs in the ZF-Tuscaloosa workplace.

    The system analyzes individual motions involved in plant tasks and determines stresses on workers’ bodies. This leads to a numerical “Body Parts Index” (BPSI) that is used to rank motions relative to their potential for inflicting physical damage on the worker. A worker with stress-related injury may then have his job assignment shifted away from the stress-inducing task, or to a quantified lower level of activity to meet a medical restriction.

    In creating this tool, ZF-Tuscaloosa has given all the stakeholders with a concern for plant health and safety (medical doctor, plant manager, plant supervisor, plant employee and plant manufacturing engineer) an agreed upon, objective way to communicate and plan work level to protect health. Further, application of the ZF system also identifies which tasks should have their production processes reengineered. Finally, the process includes an on-going audit to ensure it is being followed and improved continuously.

    Any manufacturing process involving repetitive motions or the potential for stress-related injuries should benefit from applying the BPSI concept. A reduction in lost time and an improvement in productivity should result.

    This innovation was created by ZF-Tuscaloosa personnel. They enlisted support from the Alabama State Center for Occupational Health, and Auburn Engineers, Inc., an ergonomics engineering firm. Their primary customer, Mercedes-Benz, has also adopted this procedure in their Vance, Alabama production plant.

  13. Hutchinson

    Dual Plane Seal condensor/compressor connections, incl Parker

    Hutchinson FTS developed an air-conditioning joint seal that reduces refrigerant emissions by 80 percent on the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country. These systems can go for twice as long before needing a re-fill of refrigerant. Air conditioning systems have 8-12 joints. Average leak rate with a single O-ring connector is 9g per joint per year. The dual plane seal leaks less than 2g. The lead-in is longer and more square and below the O-ring is a secondary seal on the face of the block that protects it from dust and dirt that can cause a leak.

  14. JCI

    Econ-Cor recyclable door material


  15. PPG


    A lead-free, low-VOC electrocoat with all the advantages of conventional electrocoat products and more.

    Enviro-Prime® 2000 global lead-free electrocoat is the product of choice for all automotive assembly plants and the next logical step for those currently using fifth generation lead-containing products.

    It features:

    • Very Low VOC
    • HAPS Compliant
    • Enhanced bare-steel corrosion protection
    • Better pinhole rupture performance
    • Improved coating efficiency
    • Lower curing temperature
    • Lower overall cost to the customer

    In addition, Enviro-Prime® 2000 can be used as the first coat of a Power-Prime system allowing customers to continue to use a known, proven coating technology when they are ready to improve their primer-surfacer application process by converting to Power-Prime®.

  16. Globe Metallurgical



  17. Lacks Enterprises

    plastic plating


  18. SICK

    laser sensor safety curtain


  19. Gentex

    OnStar mirror


  20. The POM Group

    NuTool direct material deposition


  21. FANUC Robotics

    new robot / toploader, overhead rail


  22. Dana Parish



  23. Eaton Engine Components

    engine valve


  24. PPG



  25. Iteris

    AutoVue lane departure warning


  26. W.E.T. Automotive Systems

    Carbotex seat heating tech


  27. Delphi Harrison Thermal

    Variable displacement swash plate for air conditioning


  28. Siemens Automotive



  29. Bose

    ambient noise volume adjustment


  30. Delphi Energy & Chassis

    Unified Chassis Control


  31. Dow Automotive

    Strandfoam head impact / headliner


  32. Hayes Lemmerz

    Full Face Cast


  33. EASi Engineering

    CAE process software tools


  34. Siebel

    CRM tool for auto suplliers dealers


  35. Visteon



  36. MSX Internatinoal GmbH

    design across time zones


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