Insight: What's Your "Engineering Intensity"

As we work with automotive suppliers on improving their operational excellence and on their medium to long-term strategies, we have noticed that a characteristic of the more successful companies is the simple property of what could be called "high self-awareness." Companies usually have multiple viable options in terms of positioning, product line expansion, R&D projects, etc.

Profiles: Scot Drake: Shaping Entertainment

Disney Imagineer Scot Drake had thought his design career would center around penning four-wheeled transportation. Instead, he's found joy in designing Astro Blasters and reinterpreting Disney's signature monorail.

EuroAuto: Ceramics Build Better Bearings

There are a number of unsung heroes in the motorsport industry, those whose products are vital in keeping the cars on the track but whose presence you have to dig deep to discover.

Marginal: First-Rate Thinking

It seems that sometimes when pairs or groups of people write best-selling books, one name gets attached to the subject and the other fades.

Competitive Challenges: Do You Know Where Your Tools Are?

I recently began work on a new benchmarking study in the automotive industry focused on the tooling business, and opportunities that exist for manufacturers, suppliers and the industry in general as it faces increased competition from low-cost country sources, which are stealing market share but not necessarily delivering the same value of tooling.

Dudder: Death Row Musings

Judging from the dearth of product in the pipeline, it looks like Ford will starve Mercury much like Chrysler starved Plymouth.

Close Up: SHW UniSpeed 5

Manufacturing throughput time has a variety of factors related to it.


Bendable Body Beautiful

Draping cloth over a movable mesh frame pushed BMW to rethink the relationship between design, production, and materials while giving birth to 'flame surfacing.'

Flex Appeal

In a domestic marketplace dominated by vehicles with profiles that look like other vehicles, Ford is offering the Flex. No, it isn't the first vehicle based on Euclidian geometry, but it may be the freshest.

Nissan Faces The Future

There are massive changes being driven in the global auto industry as companies work to meet customers' needs. Nissan is gaining traction in its efforts to address these requirements.

PLM Gets Unified

Basing PLM on a service-oriented architecture makes a "single source for the truth" possible, helps broaden the PLM "footprint," and brings enterprises closer to integrated manufacturing. Really.

Talking About Joining

Joining-structurally.When we ask Dave Archer, president, Archetype Joint (; Orion, MI), about joining, his initial reaction is that: Joining is permanent-as in welding-and while fastening can be permanent, but likely to be something that can be taken apart. "The only reason you would want to use a bolted joint is (1) when you have to take things apart and (2) it is a structural joint." But we're using the "joining" term in a more-encompassing sense, as in "putting things together."Which then leads us to a question about "structural" joints.

Tiguan: VW's Hybrid SUV

Volkswagen's new Tiguan is a late entrant in a hyper-competitive market segment.

Volkswagen's PLM Strategy

Although they've been implementing product development software for some years, Volkswagen AG is now implementing a new PLM package that is expected to help deliver on the company's aggressive goals.

Cognition: The Sixth Sense of Safety

The next step in vehicle safety will combine electronic stability control and its subsystems with electric steering and chassis controls, and tie them together to make a whole greater than the sum of the parts. "This safety system requires intelligent integrated systems to define a 'cognitive' safety system," says Dr.

Insider: Prevent Overreaction

Overreaction can be devastating.


Attention to Aero Benefits ’09 Ford Escape

Optimization has taken on increased importance as automakers look for ways to eke out fuel efficiency gains from existing and future vehicle programs.

Eight is Enough for ZF>

With a focus on improving both fuel economy and drivability, ZF will introduce a new family of 8-speed automatic transmissions—capable of handling up to 900 Nm of torque—in the 2010 model year.

Honda Shrinks the Minivan

Honda’s new home market compact minivan may have a strange name–“Freed,” which is short for “freedom”–but it features a low-floor/low-center of gravity concept to make it both roomy and easy to maneuver in crowded city streets.

Ford Leans on Six Speeds

Ford has set the goal of equipping more than 1.4 million of its cars and trucks with 6-speed automatic transmissions by the end of 2009.

RTT Virtual Prototyping Solutions

Realtime Technology ( is changing the way suppliers and OEMs interact with CAD data through its DeltaGen visualization software, which renders 3D images of vehicles and components in real-time for review and validation.

Objects of Interest

Objects of Interest: July 2008

Gantry RobotsDENSO’s ( XR-Series four-axis gantry robots combine a ceiling-mounted flexible SCARA robot with a long-stroke Cartesian robot to reduce floor space by up to 40% than conventional SCARA designs.