Skip to content

2012 Finalists


  1. Ichikoh Industries and Valeo Lighting Systems

    Efficient LED low beam headlamp for electric vehicles

    The collector and reflector are combined into a thermoplastic part with no lens, achieving a distinctive, even-tinted look. The light source is hidden to eliminate bright, irritating light. Good aerodynamics reduce airflow around the door mirror. The headlamp reduces energy consumption 30% from the best competing LED headlamps.
    * First customer: Nissan Leaf, December 2010
  2. Autoneum

    Theta-Fiber, a semistructural lightweight felt

    The heat-resistant lining for engine-compartment surfaces absorbs engine noise, provides heat insulation for warmer starts and can replace injected plastics and reduce emissions.
    * First customer: Fiat Ducato 3.0-liter diesel engine, September 2011
  3. Magna Seating

    Spring-powered mechanism for Stow ‘n Go seats

    The seat back fold-flat springs are redesigned so substantially less effort is needed to collapse the headrest and seat back in one motion for storage into a holding tub in the floor.
    * First customer: Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, January 2011
  4. Visteon Corp.

    Metal-to-metal assembled seal fitting for mobile air conditioning systems

    The fitting uses a gasket of soft copper coated with tin with an elastomeric seal to firmly connect the fitting’s aluminum male and female halves. The metal-to-metal fitting reduces pollution-causing refrigerant leakage by at least two-thirds over common fittings and improves and simplifies production.
    * First customer: Ford Focus, November 2011
  5. BorgWarner Turbo Systems Winner!

    Turbocharger for engines with low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation

    The turbocharger’s blade has a special coating that protects against erosion and corrosion caused by condensates from gases. The results: reduced emissions, improved engine response and better fuel economy.
    * First customer: 1.6-liter diesel engine in Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic, 2011
  6. Nalco Co. Winner!

    Process to remove and dispose of oversprayed paint using a biodegradable material derived from starch

    The biodegradable starch-based material replaces melamine formaldehyde, a carcinogen, and is more efficient at solidifying oversprayed paint for disposal. Compared with typical methods, the process cuts chemical use 80% and halves waste, reducing paint booth operation cost by $2 per production unit and materials waste by two pounds per vehicle.
    * First customer: Mercedes-Benz, Alabama, January 2010
  7. Federal-Mogul Corp.

    Hybrid liners for aluminum light-vehicle engines

    The outer surface of the cylinder liner has an aluminum-alloy coating that bonds to the engine block. The bonding achieves higher stiffness and better heat conductivity, which reduces bore distortion of the cylinder. This cuts oil consumption 40% compared with conventional liners and reduces oxides of nitrogen emissions.
    * First customer: BMW gasoline engines and PSA Peugeot Citroen diesels, 2004
  8. 3M Automotive Division and Esys Automation Winner!

    Cut-to-fit wheel weights and robotic balancing system

    3M and Esys automated wheel balancing by using robots to attach to a wheel a magnetized, weighted adhesive tape. In final assembly, this innovation replaces manual steps and individual lead weights.
    * First customer: BMW X3, X5 and X6, 2010
  9. Gates Corp. Automotive

    Gates Barricade low-permeation fuel-line hose for fuel injection

    Many fuel line hoses were developed for carbureted vehicles. But most engines now use fuel injection, so the lines must withstand high pressure and handle various fuel and blends, including biofuel. The Gates hose resists permeation, so it cuts emissions, and can handle more pressure than most lines.
    * First customer: Aftermarket customers O’Reilly Automotive Inc., Carquest Corp., NAPA, 2011
  10. BorgWarner Emissions Systems

    Advanced exhaust gas recirculation cooler for 15-liter engine

    Circulating hot exhaust gas into the intake manifold of heavy-duty truck engines cuts emissions. BorgWarner devised a hot-exhaust cooler with various innovations: special tubes to transfer heat, a “floating core” to allow independent thermal expansion between the heat exchanger and the outer housing, and clips to combat vibration.
  11. Delphi Automotive and Magneti Marelli

    Premium low-noise, high-pressure GDi pump

    Delphi and pump partner Magneti Marelli developed a fuel pump for gasoline direct injection that is quieter and lighter than conventional designs.
    * First customer: Hyundai, for its Lambda II V-6, 2012
  12. ITW Shakeproof

    Drainage channels cast into fasteners

    ITW Shakeproof developed tooling that forms three channels, or flutes, on its fasteners to allow excess coatings to flow away during the coating-and-drying process. The fluted fasteners reduce waste and improve corrosion protection and quality.
    * First customer: Chrysler 300, 2009
  13. Mahle GmbH

    Assembled steel fuel pump lobe combined with a cast iron camshaft for direct-injection engines

    Traditional cast iron camshaft lobes have imprecise contacts to operate fuel pumps for direct-injection engines. Mahle developed lobes of special steel that allow the traditional chilled cast iron camshaft to meet higher contact pressure loads in direct-injection engines.
    * First customer: Ford 2.0-liter I-4, 2010
  14. PPG Industries Inc. Winner!

    Premium B1:B2 compact process paint technology

    PPG’s process speeds vehicle painting by moving primer application to the top-coat booth. This eliminates the dedicated primer booth and related processing. Two base-coat layers, B1 and B2, are applied wet-on-wet and do not require baking or heated dehydration between them. The process cuts energy use and emissions of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds.
  15. Methode Electronics Inc. Winner!

    Touch sensor switching technology

    Methode’s sensors generate a special electrical field. When the field is touched, a switch is triggered to control different functions such as climate control and the sound system. The technology eliminates buttons and knobs, enabling MyFord Touch, the center stack control system.
    * First customer: Ford Motor Co., April 2011
  16. American Axle & Manufacturing

    Lightweight cast-iron center differential

    Innovative laser welding allows for a more compact and lightweight cast-iron center differential while increasing torque capacity.
    * First customer: Audi A8, 2010 model
  17. Continental Automotive, Interior Division

    AutoLinQ, an inexpensive connected-car system for emerging markets

    The system uses the motorist’s cell phone to provide a voice-operated connection to various Internet services. No extra monthly subscription fee is charged for the services delivered through the system.
    * First customer: Shanghai GM, for the Chevrolet Epica, April 2011
  18. Delphi Automotive Winner!

    Delphi L-Shape Crimp for 0.13 mm2 wire size

    As vehicle weights have become one of the central “battle grounds” in the war to improve fuel economy and vehicle emissions, the wiring harness has been identified as one of the heaviest parts in the vehicle. The increased use of electronics (and resulting wiring) has only contributed to this problem. Delphi Automotive has come up with an innovative new product/process, the L–Shape Crimp, that has, for the first time, enabled OEMs to use a smaller, lighter wire than was ever possible in the past, resulting in significant material and weight savings. Delphi’s L-Shape Crimp for 0.13mm2 wires has achieved both the best electrical performance as well as the best mechanical performance in the market and has enabled OEM’s to overcome many of the problems that have made small wires of this size unreliable in the past.
  19. Hendrickson Auxiliary Axle Systems Winner!

    Compliant Tie Rod (CTR) Assembly and Dampening System with PerfecTrak™ Technology

    Hendrickson is the leader in manufacturing Auxiliary Lift Axles for trucks such as dump trucks, cement mixers, and garbage trucks. The auxiliary axles are lifted up off the road when the truck is empty and lowered down to the road when the truck is full which permits the truck to carry heavier loads. Many of the auxiliary axles are passively steerable, that is the friction of the road causes the wheels to turn in the direction of the truck’s turn, which improves handling and tire wear.

    The trucks on which the Passively Steerable Auxiliary Lift Axles are installed frequently go off road to quarries, construction sites and landfills. Because the tie rod connecting the two wheels is on the rear of the axle assembly, it is exposed to damage when the truck is backing up. When the rigid tie rod struck a boulder, tree stump or other immovable object it would be permanently bent, throwing the wheels out of alignment. A bent rigid tie rod would have to be replaced at a significant cost.

    In response Hendrickson developed a completely new tie rod made principally of spring steel, which bends if it strikes something and then returns to its original state. This innovation has essentially eliminated the damage that was occurring and eliminated customer complaints. The innovation also allowed Hendrickson to eliminate the spring on the shock absorber and thus reduce both the weight and the size of the axle assembly. Lubrication of the tie rod end was also eliminated and the new design permits toe-in adjustment to be done for both wheels by making an adjustment at only one end of the tie rod rather than adjusting both ends of the tie rod as was required with the old design. Finally, when one wheel strikes something like a curb or a large rock, the flexible tie rod keeps the opposite wheel in alignment with the direction the truck is traveling.

  20. Honeywell Turbo Technologies Winner!

    High Temperature, Ball Bearing (HTBB) VNT™ Turbo

    As environmental pollution regulations continue to tighten, engine designers of all sizes increasingly turn to turbochargers to maximize the output of a given engine displacement. Turbocharger manufacturers have stepped up to this challenge with new, innovative solutions to problems that have historically plagued turbo designs to increased the responsiveness, improve operating thermal environment and reduce the pollution effects of their devices. Honeywell’s innovative breakthrough comes in the form of an industry first High Temperature “Hybrid” Ball Bearing (HTBB) that pairs ceramic balls with high quality steel raceways to provide rolling friction (as opposed to sliding friction found in all other passenger vehicle turbos today) that can operate at turbine inlet temperatures that are much hotter than any other turbo diesel passenger vehicle applications currently in the market today. Higher operating temps mean higher mid-range torque and better engine power output. The new innovative ball bearing means lower friction, particularly at low engine speeds which in turns significantly reduces cold start emissions as well as contributing to better performance and improved fuel economy.

    This important innovation was first introduced on Daimler’s V6 3.0 liter engine (OMS642 LS), which was launched on the Mercedes Benz E350 and R350 models. Subsequently the engine/turbo was introduced in its S-Class sedan and will eventually roll out across its full product line.

  21. Lear Corporation Winner!

    Lear Solid State Smart Junction Box™ (S3JB™)

    “Connected cars” need new smart ways for connections within the vehicle’s increasingly complex electrical and electronic distribution system. Lear has created a junction box with multiple innovations so that vehicles in all global markets can have a smaller, lighter, more reliable, lower cost, more flexible, solid state, configurable way to manage electrical power. The ability to configure the entire electrical system late in the launch cycle permits the addition and subtraction of components more efficiently without changing the entire electrical system.

    Lear’ S3JB junction box has 1) integrated solid state fuse technology to eliminate relays, 2) created a new package that no longer has to be accessible from the driver compartment which decreases nuisance calls and lowers electrical device warranty returns, 3) created and installed a smart software logic with detailed diagnostics to permit a “fail safe operation,” and 4) designed a single state board design with patented thermal aspects that permits multiple system and device connections and various configurations to ease manufacturing processes. The Lear S3JB fuseless junction box is the heart of the electrical system on Fisker vehicles.

  22. Magna Mirrors Winner!

    Infinity™ Mirror

    The Magna Infinity Mirror transforms the interior rear view mirror from being a mundane component into state of the art touch screen technology. While exceeding all safety standards, the Infinity Mirror eliminates the plastic bezel surrounding the mirror. The Magna process starts with a precision ground and polished bevel glass finish around the mirror’s circumference. The new smaller and various shaped mirror can host all telematic buttons and icons via through-the-glass touch sensors. Forward driver visibility is enhanced and the styling opportunities of different shaped, non-bezeled mirrors are endless.
  23. Schaeffler Technologies AG Winner!

    UniAir Fully Variable Valve Lift System

    Globally, regulation and market demand are pressuring OEMs to provide vehicles with improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. Proposed U.S. fleet wide average fuel economy for 2025 is a 100% increase over the 2011. During this same period, proposed CO2 emission limits are expected to decrease 50%.

    Although electric hybrids and powertrain electrification will play a more significant role in meeting future vehicle designs, the internal combustion engine is still expected to dominate the powertrain landscape for years to come. Therefore improvements in internal combustion engine efficiency and performance are required.

    Most modern internal combustion engines employ a fixed valvetrain that allows for only a single, discreet valve lift. As a result of the fixed valve lift, manufacturers must compromise an engine’s air intake performance across the entire operating range. Schaeffer’s UniAir system provides improved engine efficiency by optimizing the fresh air charge entering into the combustion chamber. With UniAir, a cam-actuated valvetrain component displaces oil in a gallery that pushes against the engine valve causing it to open. The combination of electrical controlled solenoid and hydraulics provide unparalleled flexibility in varying engine valve motion.

    Schaeffler’s UniAir technology is a key component of Fiat’s MultiAir system, which debuted in 2009 and provides up to 10% improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 reduction.

  24. Valeo Wiper Systems Winner!

    VisioBlade® System

    Valeo’s VisioBlade®, introduced on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL, is a high-efficiency adaptive windshield washer system that uses internal ducting and an intelligent pump to distribute washer fluid along the leading edge of the blade. The VisioBlade system is at the heart of Mercedes Magic Vision Control’s intelligent wash programs that tailor the use of washer fluid in winter, summer, high speed and Cabriolet (top down) scenarios to maximize driver safety and visibility while using the least amount of washer fluid. Valeo’s precise spacing, laser-cut discharge openings along the entire length of the blade, and the intelligent pump allow Valeo to deliver dramatically improved cleaning performance while using half the cleaning fluid of conventional systems. Mercedes leveraged VisioBlade’s performance and efficiency to reduce the washer reservoir in the SL by 1.7L with a corresponding CO2 emission friendly 1.7kg weight reduction. Mercedes will also offer a heated version of the VisioBlade that eliminates the ice/snow buildup on wiper blades in harsh winter climates.
  25. Delphi Automotive Winner!

    Delphi Thermal Multi Port Folded Tube Condenser

    The multi-port folded tube condenser, or MFTC, replaces the extruded tube process with a much simplified, shorter, less costly process that involves folding of a metal strip. Manufacturing steps are reduced from 3 to one, and time is reduced from 10 hours to one hour. MFTC also allows use of superior materials that reduce defects and improves corrosion performance. Weight, acoustical noise, and vibration performance improve as well. Overall, the simplified manufacturing process that MFTC represents in a game changer in the heat exchanger business.
  26. Federal-Mogul Corporation Winner!

    Two-dimensional Ultrasonic Testing for Raised Gallery Diesel Pistons

    Downsizing diesel engines (increased specific power output) increases the thermal load on the pistons. Recent designs have pushed piston operating temperatures near the upper limit for aluminum pistons.

    Diesel pistons have a cooling gallery, which is continuously filled with oil, to reduce piston-operating temperatures. The position and design of the cooling gallery has significant impact on piston temperature and subsequently piston durability. The closer the gallery is located to the bowl, the lower the temperature and the higher the durability.

    Federal-Mogul’s unique horizontal casting process offers the ability to move the gallery closer to the bowl. However, moving the gallery closer to the bowl poses many challenges in the casting process.

    To address these challenges, Federal-Mogul developed a unique non-destructive testing method, called 2-Dimensional Ultrasonic Testing (2dim-US). Through automatic evaluation of amplitude and depth signals, 2dim-US has the ability to detect and record, at line speed, any kind of casting defect. Using statistical analysis of this data Federal-Mogul has improved their casting process thereby improving product quality and reducing scrap.

    Enabled by 2dim-US testing method, Federal-Mogul’s raised gallery aluminum diesel pistons have enabled its customers to reduce fuel consumption and C02 emissions by approximately 30% while allowing the continued use of aluminum pistons in these high specific power diesel engines.

  27. BorgWarner TorqTransfer Systems

    Centrifugal electrohydraulic actuator (CEH) for all-wheel drive torque management

    The device uses an electric motor drive pump and a centrifugal pressure regulator to control the hydraulic pressure to an all-wheel-drive clutch. By eliminating a standard system’s accumulator, electronic solenoid control valve and pressure sensor, the actuator is less complex and more compact. The result: a less expensive actuator that is 20% lighter.
  28. Dana, Power Technologies Group

    Active Warm-up Heat Exchanger with Integrated Thermal Bypass Valve

    The Dana heat exchanger uses warm coolant to heat engine oil, cutting fuel consumption 4% during federally required cold-start testing at 19 degrees Fahrenheit. When the engine is warm, the exchanger can cool oil by transferring heat from the oil to the coolant.
  29. Hella Electronics Corporation

    Multi-Chip-Module (“MCM”)

    This oil sensor uses an advanced circuit chip to provide inexpensive and compact component that can check oil level, pressure and other conditions. The first customer is Volkswagen, which uses it on all upcoming four-cylinder engines.
  30. KEFICO Corporation

    Bi-fuel System with Liquefied LPG Injection and One Integrated Control Unit

    This injection system for gasoline and liquefied
    petroleum gas enables a vehicle to switch between gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas
    in all conditions. The system’s computer controller is integrated into the engine control unit to cut costs. Kia Motors was the first customer in 2011.
  31. Delphi Automotive

    Wiring Harness Bend Fatigue Simulation Tool

    Delphi’s computer simulator models bend fatigue
    in complex wiring harnesses, calculating the bending stresses in wiring harnesses without repetitive physical testing. This shaves weeks or months from circuit and wiring development times. The first customer was Toyota Motor for the upcoming MY2013 Corolla.
  32. OEConnection

    OEM Parts Marketing Administration (PMA) Technology

    OEConnection’s computer network helps dealerships sell collision parts by providing a single procurement and fulfillment tool for all collision parts, regardless of make. The pricing tool helps dealerships increase sales of original equipment collision parts to independent shops. The first customer was American Honda Motor in June 2009.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply