Toyota Doing It Differently

That’s right. The company that is typically known for a relentless, methodical approach has done some things differently as it has developed the second-generation Yaris and the third-generation RAV4. There’s no getting into a rut for these guys.

What's New In PLM?

In the market for a new plm system or curious about the current state of the commercial products? here’s a look at what many of the major vendors have on offer.

A Cyclone Hits Ford Powertrain

Ford’s 3.5-liter V6 will debut in the 2006 Lincoln Aviator and Ford Edge crossovers.

Buick Lucerne: Now or Never

Will the GM division that still seeks its definition find it with the ’06 Lucerne?

The Disk Difference: Improving Laser Output

It’s smaller and provides a more powerful beam. It’s based on Yb:YAG, so it can be deployed through an optical fiber. It facilitates remote welding. The disk laser can be a boon to those who start to reconsider how they process parts.

Rethinking Constant Velocity Joints

GKN Driveline (Redditch, UK; www.gkndriveline.com) has two new technologies for the constant velocity joints (CVJs) that significantly reduce weight, NVH levels, size, and improve efficiency. “We’ve thrown out the rulebook for constant velocity joint design,” says Al Deane, global engineering manager, GKN Driveline Driveshafts, “because the generic limits of the Rzeppa joint currently in use have been reached while our customers continue to ask for more torque capacity in a smaller package.” The new designs lean heavily on GKN’s in-house forging and machining capabilities to produce both the S-shaped and radial offset tracks used on its Countertrack CVJ and the combination of angled and straight tracks found on its Crosstrack ball plunging CVJs. COUNTERTRACKCountertrack CVJ designs are used on the fixed joints of all propshafts, and on the wheel-end CVJ of front sideshafts of FWD, AWD and 4x4 vehicles.

The Ultimate Money Machine

BMW gained its reputation as a builder of sport sedans, but its consistently high profits and unwavering focus make it the envy–and target–of the competition.


BMW Standardizes Its FEA

In efforts to improve the crashworthiness of its vehicles, BMW Group is standardizing on finite element analysis (FEA) software from ABAQUS, Inc. (Providence, RI; www.abaqus.com), a Dassault Systèmes company.

Hyundai Selects Honeywell Turbo Diesel System

Honeywell Turbo Technologies (Torrance, CA; http://www.honeywell.com/sites/ts/tt) has developed the third generation of its Garrett Variable Nozzle Turbine (VNT) turbocharger, which is said to provide improved boost response by adjusting the gas-flow cross section at the inlet of the turbine wheel to optimize power with load.

Detective Work

The first reference is to a television show: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

The Fiber Route

According to PTG Industries (Lake Mary, FL; www.ptgindustries.com) the use of fiber laser systems can provide a variety of advantages versus YAG or C02 systems for applications including marking, cutting and engraving. (The company offers a line of “FiberTower” Q-switched fiber lasers for applications on materials including stainless steel, aluminum, carbide, polycarbonate, titanium, nickel, PVC, rubber, and chrome, including automotive applications ranging from creating the characters on turn signal stalks to making serial numbers on spark plugs.) Among the advantage that the company claims for the fiber systems:Greater reliability: up to 100,000 hours mean time before failureReduced consumable costsReduced power consumption ($40/year at 170 W/hr)Increased power efficiency (up to 50%)Smaller spot size (50% of that produced by the other type). 

Plastic Award Update

Last month we indicated that we’d let you know who won the SPE Automotive Div.’s plastics competition (see Creating Clever Things With Plastics). Turns out that the winner is the bed for the Honda Ridgeline pickup truck—which happened to be the one we selected for the cover of that issue.

Making Models

Despite the fact that there are design studios where “virtual” is replacing “actual” in vehicle development, for those who are interested in sticking with 3D models that they can see, touch and feel (without some goggles and sensor-ladened gloves), there is a new line of extrudable pastes from Axson Group (Paris; www.axson.com). The SC167 epoxy-based paste is said to provide superior mechanical characteristics for full-sized models when applied over polystyrene or polyurethane foam pre-machined forms, such as no bond lines.

The X-Flow Advantage

You’re looking at a rendition of the inside of the X-Flow Resonator developed by Mitsubishi Laser (Wood Dale, IL; www.mitsubishi-laser.com). This patented, three-axis, cross-flow design is said to require two to five times less maintenance than previous designs, which reduces overall operating costs.


Profiles: Learning From Segway: Innovation in Action

Here’s how J. Douglas Field, vp of Design and Engineering and Chief Technology Officer of Segway, sees the challenges and opportunities of product development. Know that he spent some time working in auto, so his ideas are not totally on the bleeding edge of development.

Dudder: Patton’s Wisdom

One of my favorite movies is Patton.

Insider: A New Year, New Predictions

With the New Year, it’s time to look into my crystal ball and make some predictions about the coming year.

On Strategy: The Key Challenges for North American Truck Manufacturers, 2006 & Beyond

While truck manufacturers saw their businesses hit bottom not all that long ago, there has been a subsequent market expansion.

EuroAuto: GM’s Global Approach Leverages Daewoo

There are a number of interesting facts that have come out of General Motors in the last few weeks.

Insight: The Competitive Landscape 2006

For those of you that are long-time readers of AD&P, I wrote an article exactly two years ago this month entitled “Why Japanese OEMs Do So Well—& What Detroit Can Do to Regain Market” (http://www.autofieldguide.com/columns/0104insight.html). Given all the turmoil in the industry over the last year, it seems to make sense to give an update on the state of the automotive market and the key issues facing the major players over the next two years.

Marginal: Gut Check

In the opening of The Driving Force: Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People (Leadership Publishing.com), Peter W.