Notable

Serious About Tailored Blanks

Laser tailored blanks are produced by taking (usually) steel of different gauges, grades, and/or coatings and welding them (usually) with a laser to that the result is a blank that can be formed that will have the necessary characteristics in the right locations.

Microsoft: Increasing Its Automotive Presence

Although it has been known as the "T-Box,*" according to Mark Spain, senior director, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit, that’s simply been the internal name of this system.

Hyundai's Billion-Dollar Commitment

"This new manufacturing facility reaffirms Hyundai's commitment toward investing in the U.S. economy, as well as its commitment toward U.S. consumers," said Mong-Koo Chung, chairman of Hyundai Automotive Group, on May 20 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Hybrid Power Pack

Cobasys (Orion, MI) is a joint venture of ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures and Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) that arose out of ECD's involvement with GM's EV1 electric car program.

Reducing Cost and Injury at Delphi

Through testing, both virtual and actual, Delphi Corp. (Troy, MI; www.delphi.com) engineers have discovered that combining an energy absorbing steering column, collapsible knee bolster and an energy absorbing pedal structure into a single unit lets them: (1) improve occupant kinematics in a crash to the extent they can significantly reduce lower extremity injuries, and (2) reduce vehicle assembly time while improving quality.Delphi claims its Driver Protection Module (DPM) can reduce serious injuries—especially those to the lower extremities—by as much as 27% which, in some instances, may allow OEMs to use a less-aggressive airbag deployment protocol.

Bosch's Safety Network

Prognosticators have talked of the day when an automobile’s various computers and sensors would work together to provide functionality greater than the sum of the parts.

LEDs for the Rest of Us

LED lighting is becoming more common, but it is by no means commonplace.

Doff Your (Gas) Cap

After more than 100 years, you wouldn't think the lowly gas cap would be a problem.

Safer Is Better

Finite element modeling and analysis is common in vehicle and component development.

Participatory Design

In the Bubble: Designing In a Complex WorldJohn Thackara, The MIT Press ($32.95)John Thackara is a designer's designer, one of the "inside" people whose imagination and critique make him someone whose ideas have more resonance and meaning for those within the practice rather than for those on the outside.

Columns

Insight: Beyond the Bad News

The last six months have been a very odd time for the automotive industry.

On Strategy: What Is Your Hybrid Strategy?

When Honda and Toyota launched their hybrid vehicles in 1999 and 2000, no one could have predicted that they would have such appeal for American consumers.

Marginal: Invest Wisely

"Past performance is no guarantee of future results," the investment warning has it.

Dudder: Engineering Isn't A 'Burden'

Long-time readers of this column know I consider the industry's fascination with both MBAs and what Wall Street thinks to be major impediments to building great product, and may jeopardize the OEM's very survival.

EuroAuto: ArvinMeritor's Car Guys In Europe

Taking advantage of the continuing trend of outsourcing sections of the vehicle to the full-service suppliers, the Light Vehicle Systems (LVS) business group of ArvinMeritor (www.arvinmeritor.com) has unveiled its suspension module product portfolio for the first time in Europe.

Feature

Flexible Accuracy for Doors

Ring gauges are pretty much the industry standard for checking doors.

AI IN CONTROL

Artificial intelligence, expert systems, fuzzy logic, neural nets, and rules-based algorithms for factory control. Although the buzz is quieted, all of it is still around. You just don't notice it.

Material Handling Matters

Some Things That You May Find Useful In Getting Things from Here to There

Introducing The A3

Can the German vehicle manufacturer overcome the resistance to the hatch with design & technology?

HONDA Coming Full Circle

Honda of America Mfg. has reconfigured its plants to conform to Honda's global New Manufacturing System while quietly re-focusing on manufacturing fundamentals.

The '06 Dodge Charger: New Muscle

Turn back the clock some 40 years and you discover the genesis of the Dodge Charger, a name that 70% of the people Chrysler recently surveyed remembered (or knew).