Skip to content

2009 Finalists


  1. Borg Warner Morse TEC, Inc. Winner!

    Morse TEC CTA Camshaft Phasing System

    The ability to vary the timing of activation of an engine’s valves to optimize air flow into and out of the internal combustion engine continuously, is an ability that automakers have long sought for better fuel economy and performance. BorgWarner’s Morse TEC Division has pushed the state of this art by developing a continuously variable, vane style camshaft phaser that utilizes camshaft torque energy, not oil pump flow, to actuate the timing device. The design is radically different from the oil pressure actuated phasers that have previously dominated the market, and it offers many important advantages in engine performance and fuel economy through better continuous control of valve timing.

    Numerous design patents have been awarded. Innovations start with use of cam torque, an unused source of energy in the engine, to power the device; a closed loop hydraulic system, where hydraulic pressure is created through energy from the camshaft rotational torque; and improved control system software.

    The results of this are demonstrated by low power consumption and near instantaneous response across the engine’s speed range. Other advantages include a typically 15% lower cost than oil pressure based systems, a 10% increase in engine power, 22% lower NOx emissions, significant improvement in fuel economy, and the ability to be integrated in existing engine platforms without reprogramming engine computers. CTA has changed industry standards for camshaft timing.

    BorgWarner Morse TEC is gaining OEM business rapidly. It is in production since mid 2008 in the Ford Duratec V6 engine used in a variety of platforms. Production for the Jaguar 5.0L will began in early 2009.

  2. Eaton Corp. Winner!

    Eaton Twin Vortices Supercharger – TVS

    Higher fuel costs and demands for greater efficiency have led to engine downsizing. At the same time, maintaining power output and acceptable customer performance in these applications has often been achieved by using a boosting device. Eaton developed the TVS supercharger to meet these demands and to insure that they will remain a dominant player in the engine boosting business for performance and efficiency, especially vis a vis more common turbocharger solutions.

    Eaton Corporation’s Twin Vortices Series Superchargers (TVS) use new rotor geometry in conjuction with new inlet and outlet port designs to achieve dramatic improvements in performance and reduced noise. With efficiency gains of 30% over previous Roots blowers, TVS is comparable to turbochargers in efficiency and peak power, while retaining the vastly superior response characteristics of superchargers. Using a patented four lobe design with much higher twist, TVS is the most efficient Roots type supercharger ever developed by a wide margin.

    As a result of innovative design changes, engine manufacturers can use a smaller supercharger to create the desired amount of boost. This provides under-hood packaging advantages as well as weight savings. The efficiency improvement is such that for the first time superchargers are a viable option in the Diesel engine market as well.

    Market acceptance has been exceptional, with Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac CTS, Audi A6 and S4, Volkswagen, as well as other OEMs, adopting the TVS. The prospect of moving into the Diesel engine market as well as applications in other regions of the world further enhances Eaton’s standing as a technological leader in the auto industry in engine boosting for efficiency and enhanced performance from smaller engines.

  3. Futuris Automotive Interiors Winner!

    Tufted PET Carpet

    For many years PET (polyester) tufted carpeting has been considered an alternative to nylon for automotive carpets. However, despite advantages such as improved stain resistance and the possibility of using recycled soda and water bottles as feedstock, PET was not affordable because it meant using higher, more expensive carpet pile weights to meet the automotive demands of wear and resiliency. The industry generally considered this an intrinsic limitation of PET fiber, as attractive as using recycled water and soda bottles would be. Currently, under 25% of the more than 60 billion PET beverage bottles sold are recycled.

    Futuris was able to disprove prevailing conventional thinking. They were able to meet automotive carpet specifications at the same carpet face weight as nylon, by developing innovative fiber, tufting, and carpet construction technologies. As a result, Futuris is able to offer PET carpet at lower cost than nylon, but with better appearance and feel, and improved stain resistance. And, unlike current nylon carpets, the PET carpet with an all-polyester carpet construction is 100% recyclable.

    Choosing not to rest on this success, Futuris continued development efforts until they were able to meet automotive durability, wear, resiliency, texture, and stain resistance requirements while using up to 80% post-consumer recycled PET in the fiber. Just 20% post-consumer fiber content allows the reclaiming of up to 100 scrap water bottles per vehicle in the carpeting.

    Futuris and its fiber supplier have applied for patents covering the fiber, backing, and carpet-construction. The first tufted PET carpet applications were in aftermarket floor mats, while the first fully carpeted car floors began as a running change in the 2009 model year. Initial uptake is in the Pontiac G8 from GM Holden (Australia), with Hyundai Santa Fe and Sonata applications to come.

  4. Hella KGaA Hueck & Co.

    Full-LED Headlamp

    Hella’s new front lighting system, standard on the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Platinum, is the first on an SUV to use only light-emitting diode elements for low beams, high beams, daylight running lights, side markers and turn signals. Hella’s design team in Lippstadt packaged all the elements in a module for Cadillac. LED lights produce a daylight color, unlike the bluish tinge of xenon systems or yellow tone of halogen. LED headlamps draw substantially less power from the vehicle’s engine than do other systems, boosting fuel economy.

  5. Koito Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

    LED Headlamp

    Koito built the first light-emitting diode headlamp for a production vehicle for the
    Lexus LS 600h/LS 600h L hybrid sedan, introduced in May 2007. The headlamp
    module contained three LED projectors for low beams, plus a halogen projector for
    high beams. Koito’s Dynamic Bend Lighting mechanically swivels the three LED
    projectors to put light where the vehicle is headed as the steering wheel is turned.

  6. Magna Mirrors Winner!

    BlindZone Mirror

    Blind spot detection – being able to see vehicles in your blind spots on either side of your vehicle, to the rear — is the number one feature desired by consumers as identified from the 2008 J.D. Power and Associates survey on emerging U.S. automotive technologies. Nearly 10% of all accidents involve lane changing and merging, accounting for 225 deaths, 6,000 incapacitating injuries, and $9 billion in damages.

    Magna Mirrors has developed an elegant and inexpensive solution – the BlindZoneMirror. The BlindZoneMirror is an outside, side-view mirror, but with an inconspicuously integrated prescriptive mirror that is uniquely engineered for each vehicle program, to suit the particular vehicle. Through a novel design, the prescriptive mirror is integrated in the side-view mirror to provide an overall mirror with a single flat surface, enhancing durability and reliability, while creating a simple wipe-clean surface.

    The small prescriptive mirror “sees” and eliminates blind spots without inducing distortion in the primary mirror area, thereby providing a full and undistorted view of each side of the vehicle. Equipped with this feature, the driver doesn’t need to turn to look over his or her shoulder in an attempt to scan blind zones. Due to its low-cost, the Magna blind spot mirror has the potential to penetrate vehicle programs as standard equipment in any vehicle class, providing a desired and differentiating feature.

    The BlindZoneMirror has attracted considerable favorable notice from consumers and automotive manufacturers, and was introduced in the 2009 models of the Ford Edge and Chevy Traverse.

  7. Robert Bosch LLC

    Bosch iBolt Weight Sensor for Occupant Classification

    Robert Bosch modified the bolts that fasten a car seat to the vehicle frame so that they tell the airbag control system what type of passenger is sitting there. Pressure on the sides of the bolt bends a stiff rod inside, and a magnetic sensor measures how much. Passenger weight determines how to inflate airbags: fully for adults, partially for children or not at all if seats are empty or hold infant seats. Bosch’s iBolts replace the four horizontal mounting bolts for a lighter, cheaper and less complex approach than those of rival systems.

  8. Tenneco, Inc.

    Very High Damping Body Mount

    Vertical vibration is a chronic problem for body-on-frame pickups. Tenneco developed a hydraulic mounting that absorbs a variety of bumps, ranging from pavement cracks to potholes, and makes ride comfort in body-on-frame vehicles closer to that of unibody cars and trucks. The design is inexpensive because it is mostly stamped metal. A central bolt-through design simplifies vehicle assembly.

  9. BorgWarner Inc. Winner!

    Pressure Sensor Glow Plug (PSG) for Diesel Engines

    The Pressure Sensor Glow Plug senses the combustion pressure in each cylinder of a production Diesel engine using a device already in the engine; no change in engine configuration is necessary. In effect this converts a production engine into a laboratory during the operation of the vehicle, allowing optimization of combustion by cylinder, under any conditions, over the lifetime of the engine. This capability has never been possible before.

    The essence of PSG design is a movable heating rod in the glow plug that is sealed from a piezo-resistive sensor, ASIC, and flexible circuit by a metal bellows. Install the PSG plug and connect it to the engine control unit, and information about actual combustion conditions becomes available to the engine controller.

    The most immediate benefit of the PSG plug is to enable engine manufacturers to address NOx emissions at the source – combustion – rather than remediate later. Improved combustion reduces NOx emissions by 50% or more while improving fuel economy. Engines under 3.0 liters should meet Tier 2, Bin 5 emission regulations with only a Diesel particle filter; urea-based systems should not be required. Smaller remediation systems can be used on larger engines, and on small engines when needed to meet even stiffer requirements. This saves fuel, weight, and vehicle expense, and is an environmental breakthrough.

    But well beyond that, the PSG plug opens a new era in Diesel combustion technology. Closed-loop combustion control, as with Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI), is simplified by detecting combustion pressure. The promise of this is greatly improved lifetime fuel economy (possibly using a variety of alternate fuels), cleaner engines, and less maintenance expense.

    The first appearance of this innovation (2008) was in the 2009 VW Jetta TDI.

  10. LuK GmbH & Co. Winner!

    LuK Double Clutch for Double Clutch Transmissions

    The LuK Dry Double Clutch is intended to displace wet clutches in double-clutch transmissions, which are relatively new themselves, but being adopted rapidly.

    Because it uses electromechanical instead of hydraulic activation, a dry clutch lets a double clutch transmission shift faster, and with less drive train power loss, while the assembly weighs less than a wet clutch, in both cases, owing to the absence of clutch fluid.

    Both performance and fuel economy improve because an engine is loaded near its peak torque performance a higher percentage of the time. This effect is most noticeable during start-stop driving, as in urban areas, where there is also an efficiency gain.

    Because of fuel economy savings of up to 10%, it is planned that the dry double clutch will enter Asian markets soon. The key technical breakthroughs in dry double clutch transmissions are the friction materials and the architecture for dissiplating and radiating heat from the transmission, instead of cooling by means of a fluid bath.

    The dry double clutch is a major step toward lighter-weight, more responsive electrical control of a vehicle than is possible with hydraulic systems. Dry clutches may be very useful in future drive train designs, as with torque transfer in hybrid drive systems.

    The LuK dry double clutch first appeared in the Volkswagen 7-speed DSG transmission, with many more adoptions to follow.

  11. Magneti Marelli Powertrain S.p.A

    Free Choice

    Magneti Marelli adapted a Formula One racing-honed technology and turned a pricey supercar option into a light, small and inexpensive robotic shifter and clutch control for small, mass-market vehicles. The Italian supplier’s Free Choice system replaces the mechanical linkage for shifting with a hydraulic actuator for any manual transmission and an electronic gear selector for the driver. By eliminating the driver-activated clutch, Free Choice lets the driver select sporty, economy, manual or full automatic operation. The system is smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient and costs less than conventional automatics. It fits on any existing manual transmission.

  12. Robert Bosch LLC

    Bosch ESP® with integrated inertial sensors

    As electronic stability control systems become more common, manufacturers want lower costs and less complexity. Sensitive yaw rate sensors had to be separately mounted near the center of the vehicle. But Robert Bosch integrated the sensor inside the electronic stability control system with three innovations: using new mounting materials to dampen vibrations, designing a smaller sensor able to operate in the harsh underhood environment, and reworking software to let the system interpret readings taken from spots away from the vehicle’s center of gravity. That cuts parts and manufacturing costs and complexity, improves reliability and lets the sensor be used for other features, such as hill-hold control.

  13. TI Automotive Winner!

    TI Automotive Saddle-Shaped PZEV Plastic Fuel Tank

    For several years the only way to meet Partial Zero Emission Standards (PZEV) was with a steel gas tank having few holes to be sealed. But plastic tanks are about 30% lighter, on average, and present less difficulty forming odd shapes to take advantage of space available around components underneath a car. PZEV requirements decreased the allowable emissions from fuel tanks from 2 grams per 24 hours to 15 milligrams per 24 hours. Plastic composites were too permeable to volatiles to meet this standard. In addition, sealing the holes in a tank created more possibilities for leakage. It appeared that the only way to meet the standard was with a steel tank with a minimum number of holes to seal.

    TI Automotive solved this problem with two developments: forming the tank from a layered tubular extrusion that includes emission-resistant poly-amide, developed in collaboration with Elf Atochem (PERMBLOK®) and Ship-in-a-Bottle construction. TI inserts the fuel pump and fuel gauge assembly into an extruded tube of PERMBLOK and molds the tank around it without any joining seams to seal. Sealing is necessary only for the fill pipe and gas line. Coaxial extrusion of PERMBLOK directly to the Ship-in-a-Bottle molding operation is a significant technical achievement.

    The resulting tank emits less than 10 mg of volatiles in 24 hours from large tanks having complex shapes. The tank is 30 percent lighter, corrosion-resistant, and less costly than steel formed into similar complex shapes, needed for design flexibility on today’s vehicles. In addition, TI Automotive found that the new process permits developing a new tank design faster, and with less tooling expense. Assembling the pump and gauge unit without a tank around it reduced scrap. This innovation renewed the competitive position of plastic gas tanks in the industry. The first tank of its kind went on a production vehicle in 2004, was designed for the BMW 3-series in 2006, and has been field monitored for continuing lifetime performance since. It easily meets California PZEV standards.

  14. TRW Automotive

    TRW Knee Airbag Low Mounted Module

    As a supplement to regular front airbags, knee airbags limit the forward thrust of passengers’ lower bodies during head-on collisions, perhaps preventing or minimizing devastating leg injuries. But knee airbags hidden behind instrument panels require more space and visible covers. That cost and the need to redesign the module for each vehicle limits the technology to premium cars. TRW’s smaller, lightweight, low-mounted module fits under the instrument panel — out of sight without a cosmetic cover. The standardized unit bolts into most vehicles without a redesign. Initial customers Ford and Skoda use the module in vehicles that started production in recent months.

  15. Alcoa Transportation Products Winner!

    Alcoa’s Vacuum Die Casting (AVDC) for Lightweight Door Assemblies

    The quest for better performance from much lighter parts and systems is a major automotive theme today.

    Alcoa identified a big area of opportunity, innovating a car door and frame assembly that would offer significant reductions in weight, number of parts, and cost, with the same or better strength and performance.

    The proprietary Alcoa Vacuum Die Casting (AVDC) system and process is the result of that initiative, an innovation in lightweight door assemblies for cars. AVDC brought together and integrated Alcoa’s proprietary casting process, their dimensionally stable high strength and high ductility C446 proprietary casting alloy, and that resulted in a process allowing very large die and part size, that are durable and stable.

    The development of the AVDC began with the 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo, GT2, and GT3 cast all-aluminum door assembly, with a weight savings of 7 kg. per door, and parts count reduction of 3:1.

    Developing the process from there to its present maturity and a PACE Award, Alcoa created the AVDC inner door panel for the 2008 Nissan GT-R “super car.” This is the largest vacuum die casting in the auto industry at over half a square meter, but with a thickness of only 2-3 mm, and a weight of only 5.5 kg. per door, 35% less than conventional designs. The part count is reduced, and engineers can design in reinforcing ribs for enhanced strength, as well as specific design elements, allowing the consolidation of parts.

    In addition, in the case of the 2008 GT-R, Alcoa’s aluminum inner door structure is visible to the driver, sporting the Alcoa logo. Doors produced by the AVDC process are expected to be extended to passenger car and truck applications, with big rewards in durability, stability, simplicity and weight.

  16. Durr Systems, Inc.


    Assembly-equipment specialist Durr Systems developed FAStplant, a completely modular assembly line, for automakers starting production in fast-growing markets. FAStplant can be assembled quickly inside a building, operate at different line speeds, add or remove modules and relocate easily. Three standard designs can form any configuration. Each module contains its own lights, hookups for pneumatic and electric power, an overhead vertical adjustable conveyor line and a logistics conveyance for supplies. Nine automakers are operating 10 FAStplant lines in Germany, France, Russia, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

  17. Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance

    Integrated Service Provider

    In 2005, Chrysler, Mitsubishi and Hyundai opened a joint venture plant in Dundee, Mich., to build all-aluminum four-cylinder engines. The factory machines blocks, crankshafts and cylinder heads and assembles long-block engines. The UAW represents the workers, yet the plant’s integrated service provider setup allows it to outsource 45 services — ranging from logistics and testing to assembly and food service — to 19 partner companies. Union and contractor employees train and work together on “anyone, anywhere, anything, anytime” teams. Last year the Harbour Report ranked the engine plant the most efficient in North America.

  18. Henkel Corp. Winner!

    Bonderite TecTalis

    The automotive industry has long wanted to address the EPA’s hazardous waste regulations, which describe hazardous waste generated by the zinc-phosphate process of pre-treating vehicle bodies and components for enhancing finish adhesion and corrosion resistance. Henkel was first to debut a phosphate-free zirconium-based pretreatment in the auto industry with its Bonderite TecTalis process. The process was developed to address regulations by eliminating heavy metals such as nickel, manganese, and zinc-phosphate sludge from the process. As a result, this phosphate-free conversion coating process eliminates pretreatment sludge, reduces landfill requirements, and simplifies the waste water treatment.

    Henkel has demonstrated a collection of process improvements, including operating at ambient temperatures, elimination of phosphates, no biochemical or chemical oxygen demand, elimination of regulated heavy metals, and significantly reduced operating costs.

    The reduced costs relate to having eliminated three steps in the pretreatment process, reduction in energy usage by approximately 30% and water usage by 20%, and finally, the elimination of waste sludge, including the elimination of the steps and overtime spent on dumping and disposing of the sludge. Net, a considerable savings in water used is realized by this process.

    Henkel started the laboratory work leading to the Bonderite TecTalis process in 2001. A trial application was made with Ford on 20 Town Cars at Ford’s Wixom plant in December, 2006, and the process was fully operational at the Ford St. Paul Ranger plant in November, 2007. This advance in pre-treatment processes is a major development, saving substantial money, energy, water, waste, and, potentially, plant space. Commendably, another industry competitor has launched a very similar phosphate-free, zirconium-based process to compete with this game-changing innovation in nearly the same timeframe, and the industry will have to react to these vastly improved processes for pre-treatment.

  19. PPG Industries, Inc.

    ZIRCOBOND Pretreatment

    Zinc phosphate has been the industry standard for undercoating since soon after World War II. Now PPG offers an alternative based on zirconium. The material itself is cost-neutral, and the anti-corrosion and paint adhesion properties are equal. But the application takes fewer stages and less factory floor space. It cuts energy use by eliminating one heated step. Zircobond also reduces sludge, lowers water use and treatment and eliminates capturing heavy metals such as zinc, nickel and manganese.

  20. Valeo Lighting Systems

    Varnishing Process without Solvent for Headlamp Reflectors

    Headlamp reflectors are made of molded polycarbonate sprayed with varnish that covers imperfections and provides a surface that the reflective aluminum coat can adhere to. The conventional process of applying the varnish involved a long cycle time that required expensive treatment of the solvent and narrow viscosity and temperature ranges that led to high energy costs and scrappage rates. Valeo engineers developed a manufacturing process that virtually eliminated the solvent. That cut the cycle time by more than two-thirds, with fewer scrapped parts; used less factory floor space; reduced maintenance; cut energy costs; and eliminated waste and solvent treatment expense.

  21. Visteon Corp.

    Two Color, Two Shot

    Making two-tone plastic in a single molding process isn’t uncommon for small parts such as taillight lenses, but Chrysler LLC wanted a two-color instrument panel for its full-sized 2009 Dodge Ram pickup truck. Instead of masking and painting an instrument panel, molding separate pieces of different colors and welding them together or overmolding a second color in a second process, Visteon Corp. developed a two-color single injection-molding process with sharp color separation lines and a cost savings of several dollars per instrument panel.

  22. Dassault Systemes-DELMIA Corp. Winner!

    DELMIA Automation

    Dassault Systemes’ – DELMIA Automation effectively addresses the challenges of designing and installing complex new production and final assembly lines, and training team members to use them. The inherent complexity of new production lines requires a time- and resource-intensive trial or commissioning process to de-bug systems and work out problems in control logic and worker usability. By creating virtual models of mechanical elements, DELMIA Automation is able to exercise real PLC logic and dramatically reduce the time required for launching trouble-free new lines.

    Using DELMIA Automation, OEM control engineers are able to quickly optimize processes, meaning validate control logic, system performance, human machine interfaces, and even conduct operator training in virtual environments before any physical equipment is installed.

    In one OEM customer application, DELMIA Automation has successfully and completely eliminated off-site commissioning, shaved eight weeks off a typical start-up calendar, and eliminated over 1,500 expensive contractor hours for every line modeled in the software. By re-using component libraries, virtual environments, and validated process modules to design subsequent production lines, DELMIA Automation by Dassault Systemes-DELMIA is changing the rules of the game for designing complex final assembly and production systems.

    Initial adoption and use of DELMIA Automation was by General Motors.

  23. i2 Technologies, Inc.

    i2 Global Capacity Management (i2 GCM)

    As automakers go global, managing long supply chains gets more complicated. One i2 client said almost two-thirds of its added costs from supply chain breakdowns was overtime for rush shipments that could have been avoided. Automakers and suppliers wanted a worldwide system to handle multiple supply chain tiers, regions, legal entities, countries, cultures and languages. So i2 Tech developed Global Capacity Management. It allows clients such as General Motors and Cummins to create uniform descriptions and standards, set rules, identify bottlenecks and anticipate problems.

  24. Microsoft Corp. Winner!

    Microsoft Auto

    Consumers demand the functionality, convenience, connectivity, and infotainment of their mobile phones, PDAs, navigation systems, and digital music players while on the go, especially in their cars. Hand held devices and functions now viewed as indispensable were not designed or engineered to be used while driving, and their in-vehicle use is rightly challenged by safety advocates and legislators. It’s not always convenient to manipulate multiple devices while driving. Automakers responded with iPod, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity, but these provided only slightly enhanced functionality and often usability and compatibility problems of their own, without necessarily reducing the number of devices or device interfaces to deal with.

    Microsoft Corporation’s integrated hardware and software platform called Microsoft Auto provides automakers and infotainment suppliers a single revolutionary in-car alternative to the small screens and thumb operated user interfaces of today’s array of hand-held devices upon which to build. First introduced in North America exclusively as Ford Sync, and in Europe as Fiat’s Blue&Me, the Microsoft Auto platform integrates consumers’ existing mobile devices and appliances into the vehicle environment relatively safely in a singlevoice-driven driver friendly interface.

    Microsoft Auto also enhances development possibilities and shortens cycles for OEMs and suppliers. Microsoft’s software and human factors engineering provides a reliable way to accelerate new, low cost infotainment and mobility services and tools – for instance, Ford’s new pickup truck-based Work Solutions and Fiat’s Eco-Drive. The Microsoft Auto open platform and its supply base is a major factor in bringing fast-paced consumer electronics developments into the automotive realm safely. In the process, OEMs may use the open architecture of Microsoft Auto to create unique or differentiating features and capabilities within the product development cycles of consumer electronics.

    After Fiat’s Blue&Me, Sync debuted in North America on the new Ford Focus as a $395 option on the basic car, included on the top model. Sync is now available on nearly every car Ford makes. Ford research showed that favorability towards Ford doubles when consumers are exposed to the functionality of Sync.

    Microsoft Auto is being adopted for particularized use by Kia, Hyundai, BMW, and others.

  25. My Dealer Lot


    MyDealerLot links a radio frequency identification chip to Web-based software to help dealerships and auto auctions manage inventory and provide personalized customer service. For example, ADESA’s auto auction in Mesquite, Texas, can map the location of as many as 3,600 vehicles carrying chips on its 120-acre lot. For dealerships, MyDealerLot adds a Service Drive Concierge function on vehicles when they are sold or leased. A sensor detects a tagged car pulling onto the service drive. Software instantly displays a welcome, using the driver’s name. It also can send e-mails to tell a service adviser the car has arrived and bring up the car’s service history. It can inform a salesperson that a customer has returned and when the vehicle lease ends.
    DIAGRAM: Total BlindZoneManagement™ System

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply