Columns

European Vehicle Manufacturers Face Recycling Requirements

Although it is still a few years away from being implemented, the European Commission’s (EC) Directives on End of Life Vehicles (ELV) are already weighing heavily on the minds of most automakers in Europe.

Idle Worship

Blue Heat auxiliary heaters from Webasto.

Optimism or Nihilism?

Nihilists believe that all values are baseless.

Succesfully Selling to the New Domestics

Most auto suppliers are familiar with the Big Three’s loss of North American market share to the “New Domestic” producers—foreign-owned auto-makers with assembly facilities in North America.

Googling

Can the car industry learn from Google?

“My Door Is Always Open”

Most managers claim that they are always available to their people and are glad to hear them out.

Notable

GM's European Triple Play

Opel Tigra Twin Top "Proportions are a challenge with a retractable hardtop," says Wayne Holger, assistant chief designer, Opel Tigra Twin Top, but it wasn't the only challenge the development team faced.

Even Jeff Gordon's Guys Back At The Shop Are Fast

While most NASCAR teams form those sheet metal panels for their cars that are invariably dented, ripped, or otherwise destroyed on a weekly basis by hand (imagine your hand-formed work getting mangled by Tony Stewart!), Hendrick Motorsports (Charlotte, NC) is using a different approach in its Metal Shaping Dept.

Say What?

"Interbuildability." It's a word GM vice chairman Bob Lutz coined to describe the ability to build a variety of vehicle types off the same platform.

GE Fanuc Facilitates Real-Time Control

"The demand for speed, agility and responsiveness in production operations has never been greater.

Noise Dynamometer - Akebono Corp. North America

Although you're probably looking at the Porsche, what you're really looking at is a Porsche in a new chassis noise dynamometer that has gone into use at the Akebono Corp.

Crankshaft And Camshaft Gage - Adcole Corp

If you're working with crankshafts and sometimes feel that the job is getting just a little too big, take this into account.

Speedy SCARA

A quick—as in a composite maximum speed of 7,500 mm/sec (the Z-axis moves at 2,000 mm/sec)—SCARA robot is being launched by the Control Systems Div. of Toshiba Machine Co., America.

Renault Says "Oui" to CG

Listen to Christophe Dupont, director, Design Development Process, Renault Design, talking about "CG," or "computer graphics": "At Renault, the potential of computer graphics was recognized early on, but we felt the time and effort allocated to CG production was a major constraint.

The Hot Chinese Market

Automotive is capital-intensive; you just can't compete on labor costs alone.

PLM Speeds Product Development @ Nissan Diesel

Fundamental to fast product development is a good, robust relationship between design and manufacturing.

Do You Suppose the Marine Margins Are Better?

Delphi Corp. is widening its horizons: It has brought out the Delphi XM SKYFi marine kit.

Bluetooth's Dirty Little Secret

Implementing the short-range wireless technology Bluetooth in cars seems like a no-brainer.

Open Design Language

The open source licensing model, where users submit improvements to software code that are incorporated in future revisions, has proven to be a successful way to develop advanced, robust code quickly.

New Plant, New Workforce, New Record

Among the various nuggets in the 2004 rendition of the Harbour Report is this: Toyota's West Virginia engine plant, which builds overhead cam four- and six-cylinder engines, is the most productive engine plant in North America.

New Bluetooth Module

There have been a lot of bumps in the road to adoption of the Bluetooth short-range wireless protocol for automotive applications, but the number of Bluetooth-enabled devices for continues to grow, albeit at a less than breakneck pace.

Say What?

"Interbuildability." It's a word GM vice chairman Bob Lutz coined to describe the ability to build a variety of vehicle types off the same platform.

ArvinMeritor Pursues A Different Hydrogen Strategy

"Plasmatron" is a name that smacks of the sort of advancement in technology that the unit that ArvinMeritor is working to commercialize really is.

Imagine: a 30% cost savings

That's what's been achieved for a truck transmission output shaft hub that is being produced for the Ford Motor Powertrain Operations in Livonia, MI, by Chicago Powdered Metal Products Co. (www.chipm.com; Schiller Park, IL). The part had previously been a forging.

Morphing Models & Seeing Sound

A new module for the simulation system LMS Virtual.Lab from LMS North America (Troy, MI; www.lmsintl.com) permits the transformation of finite element models into new models before complete CAD and associated finite element models become available.

All About Me

I hadn't gone too far into Evan Boberg's book, Common Sense Not Required: Idiots Designing Cars and Hybrid Vehicles (AuthorHouse, 170 pp), before the words stuck in my head began to sound like Ricky Ricardo: Aye, aye, aye, aye, aye!

"Drive?" He Asked

While there are presently bona-fide hybrids available from dealers and a comparative handful of fuel-cell vehicles in various stages of development (from on lab benches to rolling around in small captive fleets), there is a question that some urban planners are asking right now, which is: Is U.S. society too dependent on cars and trucks for their transportation needs?

Ford Raises the Stakes in Cleveland

"This plant has absolute class-leading flexibility—beyond anything else in the world," claims Adrian Price, manufacturing manager of Ford's Cleveland Engine Plant No.1 (CEP #1). CEP #1 is the latest and most advanced example of Ford's ongoing plan to re-make its powertrain operations to be both the most flexible and most standardized engine plants in the world.

Frugal information and telematics

Earlier this year, Microsoft showed a basic telematics module called T-Box that it put together with off-the-shelf parts costing about $100.

Cleaner Diesel

As diesel engine makers scramble to figure out the least expensive ways to meet upcoming Tier 2 emissions regulations, International Truck and Engine Corp. has hit on a novel approach: use the technology developed by the regulators themselves.

Feature

Maranello. Weissach. Milford?

Ferrari's and Porsche's factory test tracks are legendary, as much for their layouts as for the cars developed on them. GM hopes to at least partially redress this imbalance with its prosaically named "Milford Road Course" and the vehicles developed on it.

HAL Is My Co-Pilot

With some 40% of traffic fatalities resulting from vehicles going out of their lanes, government, industry and academia are all focusing on the ways and means to prevent this from happening. Here's a look at one project underway that could result in vehicle-installed systems by the end of the decade.

For(e)-ward Thinking At Club Car

Change is not something that occurs often in the golf car industry and when it does, you generally have to be a real insider to notice it. But when the people at Club Car realized that they could take incremental improvements only so far, they decided to get some fresh thinking from Detroit and completely change their product and process.

Bryan Nesbitt: Calm, Casual, Centered

The PT Cruiser made Bryan Nesbitt one of the most famous designers in the world. His move to GM's chevy studio raised eyebrows, as did the subsequent move to managing the exterior design of all GM's North American cars. Now the 35-year-old is running GM's design operations in Europe with surprising focus.

Can Carbon Fiber Compete?

Carbon fiber is strong, stiff and light. In short, perfect for automotive structural parts. But high material costs and long manufacturing cycle times have kept it out of mass production vehicles. That may be changing.

Return Of The Electric Car?

Electric vehicles, hybrid powertrains and fuel cells are generally seen as threedistinctly different development paths, but Delphi's chief technologist is championing a concept that brings them alltogether in one vehicle. Could this be the powertrain of the future?

The PLC Gets Small

The physically smaller PLCs get, the more control applications they fit in. Now comes one that's a single chip.