Columns

Dudder: Optimizer or Pragmatist?

It strikes me that the auto industry at this point in time is split between optimizers and pragmatists.

On the Management Side: Ready for that Appraisal?

For many managers, passing judgment on another human being is an awkward exercise at best, a breeding ground for rancor and hostility at worst.Yet performance appraisal represents one of the management's most important responsibilities for a number of reasons.First, it is an important form of communi-cation, one of those rare periods when both the manager and the employee can be prepared to talk about job performance.

Insight: Benefits of Lean In the Accounting Department

Lean practices are rapidly becoming a survival requirement for automotive suppliers who want to maintain decent margins.

EuroAuto: The Steel Scene

Traditionally suffering from a poor image, the steel industry has become increasingly under the spotlight during the last 12 months as the strong demand for steel has led to short-term shortages in some industries, especially automotive.

Notable

Improved Interior Material

Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is often used to cover the yarns that go into the fabrics that cover automotive seats.

Piping Light Via Plastic

Given the drive toward greater vehicular differentiation, Tyco Electronics (www.tycoelectronics.com) has developed the means by which there is linear light distribution, such as along the running board of the Nissan Quest minivan.

Whirling Threads

An alternative to grinding internal threads in components—called “internal whirling”—is now available from Leistritz Corp. (Allendale, NJ; www.leistritzcorp.com/machine_tools.cfm). According to the company, the process can be performed in a variety of materials, even hardened steel (65 Rc) with CBN tooling.

Compact CMM

A compact, precise coordinate measuring machine (CMM) developed for measuring small parts (300 x 200 x 200 mm) with comparatively high speed has become available from Mitutoyo America Corp. (Aurora, IL; www.mitutoyo.com). Called the Legex 322, the machine offers an accuracy of MPEE= [0.8+2L/1,000]µ and a speed of 200 mm/sec, with an acceleration of 520 mm/sec2.

It's A Car!

PSA Peugeot Citroën and Toyota announce the birth of triplets, two French and one Japanese.

Mental Power Tool

“The ways we make sense of our world are determined to a large extent by our internal mind and to a lesser extent by the external world,” write Wind and Crook (with Gunther) in The Power of Impossible Thinking.

Sacré Bleu!

You almost have to wonder when the engineers at Peugeot get the time to drink wine and eat brie.

Composite Analysis for Ford GT

The Ford GT has a curb weight of just 3,485 lb.

Are You Experienced?

There is a non-trivial problem that the U.S.-based auto industry is going to be facing (and to some extent already is getting smacked in the jaw by), and it is not overcapacity, outsourcing of jobs, or declining sales—although there are all of those.

Calculating the Formula (Think Million$)

“The amount spent on catering in the paddock today is greater than the budget for the entire grid in the 1970s,” quips Max Mosley, when asked about the cost of Formula One racing.

De Facto Black Boxes

Big Brother issues notwithstanding, just what are the engineering and cost consequences of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent proposal requiring the installation of event data recorders (EDRs) in all vehicles?

From CAD to Creation—with a Series of Clicks

Users of mechanical design software from SolidWorks (Concord, MA; www.solidworks.com) now have an easy opportunity to find a supplier who can produce whatever it is that’s been designed—easy as in creating an email.

Plastic Tensioners For The Cayenne

The timing change tensioner for the Porsche Cayenne is actually a plastic assembly, not metal as is often the case.

Extreme Batteries

Gasoline?

Feature

A Lexus Like No Other But Like The Rest

While the Lexus RX 400h provides better fuel economy than the RX 330 on which it is based (~25%), and although this is a full gas-electric hybrid, the vehicle is all about luxury and performance, not frugality and thrift. After all: This is a Lexus.

Looking at BMW's V10

Look under the hood of BMW's M5 sedan or M6 coupe and you'll find a decade of cylinders, just like the company's current F1 race engine.

Tires of the Future?

If automotive tire upstart Amerityre can perfect its polyurethane tires, we may soon have to revise the phrase "where the rubber meets the road."

Delphi's Domestic Strategy

While Delphi will continue to work at being the largest supplier of mobile automotive electronics, it is working to create awareness and preference among everyday car audio buyers, not just the people at the OEMs.

Looking At DCX's Global Engine

"We wanted to bring premium technical features to the entry level," says Eric Ridenour, executive vice president Product Development, Chrysler Group as he describes the GEMA (Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance) world engine.

Interesting Steel Developments

Cracking was a major problem facing Trim Trends, Inc. (Farmington Hills, MI) as it developed a high-strength steel (tensile strength: 1200 N/mm2) battery mounting unit for Ford's Escape Hybrid.

Riding the Steel Roller Coaster

Rapid growth in China and a long-term trend of removing under-productive capacity in developed nations, has put steel prices on an upward run. It may take years before there's a substantive change, says Professor Anthony P. D'Costa, but eventually they will fall.

Hybrid Powertrains: The Two-Mode Approach

While GM seems to have been inactive in the hybrid arena compared with some of its competitors, it has been slowly gaining experience with a different type of hybrid setup—on city buses.

Volvo Squeezes V8 Power Into a V6 Space

In 1999, Jorgen Svensson, the Volvo XC90's chief program engineer, went shopping for a V8.

What You Need To Know About Supply Chain Management

While there are the occasional horror stories about botched SCM implementations, if you have a good understanding of what you want to achieve and a measured approach to implementation, you can prevent the nightmare from featuring your company.