What Employees Want

An informal survey of workers in various industries confirms what most managers have long suspected—communications between them and their people could be vastly improved.

Gen Y: Myth vs. Reality

At the annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), vehicle manufacturers flaunt trendy concept vehicles with the latest gadgetry and colors fresh from Paris, Milan and New York.

Marginal: Agility

There are few people who combine a zeal for organizational/cultural change/improvement with an understanding of both technology (especially in the information arena) and how to make stuff.

It's All About Focus

The second best sales year in the history of the U.S. market, 2001, saw General Motors make a profit of just 0.8 of a cent on a dollar.


The Network is the PLC

Smaller, faster, cheaper, and infused with more capabilities. plc vendors are providing powerful capabilities for these industrial workhorses.

Painting with Water at Toyota

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky’s Plant Two paint department has developed the flexibility to paint both cars and minivans in the same facility. They’re painting small lots with high finish quality, all while dealing with the unforgiving nature of the water-borne process

Before the Job

One of the aspects of robotic body painting that Carl Traynor, senior director of Marketing, Motoman, Inc. (West Carrollton, OH), emphasizes has more to do with what goes on before the task is done rather than during the operation.Simulation.Traynor says that the real benefit of simulation for painting is that the process is “path intensive,” so it is essential to make sure that the robot arm is traveling along the proper route for efficiency, both in terms of where the arm goes and how it applies materials to the bodies (the right place in both cases means no waste). The MotoSim simulation package, Traynor says, is pretty much a fundamental to many of the robotic applications that Motoman’s robots are applied to.

Launching The Vaneo

Although the minivan has become nearly as ubiquitous on North American streets as pickup trucks, the penetration of the vehicle in the European market is comparatively minuscule.

Cooler & More Futuristic

Those are the words Saab's chief designer, Michael Mauer, uses to describe how Saab's sporting nature is different from that of its competitor. No slave to retro, Mauer insists designers must look to the future or become slaves to the past.

COWGER: Making It "Great" Through Manufacturing

Generally speaking, marketing or finance folks make it to the top in corporations. Although Gary Cowger is a whole lot more than just a manufacturing guy, he’s spent a lot of time on the factory floor during his career. And now he sits in the president’s office at GM North America. Here’s a look at how his hard work brought him to the top.

Limited Palette: Limited Edition

One way to make a statement about the comparative rarity of a vehicle is through the use of exterior paint.

Honda's Alabama Odyssey

Honda's new plant in Alabama embodies the company's vision for the future of efficient vehicle manufacturing-eschew hard tooling for flexible robots and make the engines and bodies in the same place.

Plant Control Evolution

The earliest applications of computers in manufacturing were for industrial control.


There probably won’t be a vehicle like this one for another 10 to 15 years. There will be plenty of resistance against it coming to be. The status quo is a tough thing to topple. Yet some people at General Motors have driven a stake in the ground—and that ground is in the future.

The Process is Key

Accurate, efficient application of material is now a defining characteristic of robots for the paint shop.

Better Car Building Through Steel (But Not the Material You're Familiar With)

The global steel industry is nothing if not proactive when it comes to providing information to the auto industry about how they, the vehicle manufacturers, can do a better job of applying steel.Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the steel industry’s newest conceptual vehicle design initiative (which is a technical way of stating that this vehicle exists only in math, not in, well, steel), ULSAB-AVC (Advanced Vehicle Concepts), shows how steel—particularly advanced high-strength steel (AHSS), which is used today in only a few vehicles (e.g., Honda Civic, Nissan Altima, Cadillac CTS)—can be used to great advantage by automakers who are looking for safety, fuel efficiency and production economy.A definition is in order regarding these “advanced” steels, especially as their use is limited.

E-Class: Time for a Change

Over the last 10 years or so, the Mercedes-Benz model range has transformed from being something that was generally worthy but really rather dull into one that sparkles with aspirational models in all segments–with perhaps one exception.

Genetic Engineering

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution holds that all species of plants and animals developed from earlier life forms via the transmission of slight variations to successive generations.

Color Continuity

Despite suggestions to the contrary, automotive color choice doesn’t change all that much over a person’s lifetime, according to Robert Daily, color marketing manager at DuPont Herberts Automotive Systems (Troy, MI). “It’s generally accepted that each generation will carry into their retirement years the same desires in terms of houses, clothing, recreation, whatever,” he says. “This extends to color.

Expedition Essentials

The 2003 Ford Expedition is the second generation. The first was introduced as a ’97 model.