Advanced Sensing

For inspection applications where photoelectric sensors can’t get it done and vision systems are overkill, Cognex Corp. (; Natick, MA) has developed the Checker 200 series.

Software Improves Race Engine Development

Developing race engines for NASCAR competition can be time consuming and expensive, but through the use of digital shape sampling and processing (DSSP) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools, Richard Childress Racing ( has devised a way to build engines through a more efficient and exacting process.

Andersson on Competitiveness

Although the industry is and continues to be one that is damnedly difficult, it isn’t necessarily one that is impossible to compete and win in.

Thar’s Gold in Them...Catalysts?

According to Pankaj Dhingra, president and CEO of Nanostellar (Redwood City, CA;, you can save 20% on the cost of diesel catalyst just by…adding gold. “Platinum currently costs about $1,250 per ounce, with each diesel car using about $250 of the material in its oxidation catalyst and particulate filter,” he says.

Low-Cost Vision Sensor

How much data does an automotive camera really need to collect?

Nissan’s Alphabet Soup

The 3.7-liter V6 under the hood of the Infiniti G37 is the first to use VVEL—variable valve event and lift.

BMW’s M3 Adds Power and Pistons

The engine in the 2008 BMW M3 puts the longstanding inline six-cylinder to rest and replaces it with a lightweight 4.0-liter V8.

Nissan Goes Green, Too

Not wanting to be the only automaker sitting on the sidelines when it comes to environmental initiatives, Nissan has developed a North American version of its global “Nissan Green Program,” aimed at managing the automaker’s CO2 footprint.

Fuel for Thought

According to Bernie Rosenthal, CEO of Reaction Design (San Diego, CA;, “We are rapidly coming to the point where mainstream engine technology developers and creators realize that the chemistry of the combustion event has a large effect on what goes on in the engine, and what comes out of the tailpipe.” Reaction Design currently markets two main software suites—Chemkin 4.1, which visualizes the chemical reactions and compares them to parameters of interest (ignition time, flame stability, particulate formation, etc.) and Kinetics, which adds flow and mixing effects through the addition of a CFD component—and is adding Gamma Technologies’ (Westmont, IL; GTPower powertrain simulation program to create a model of the powertrain from the engine to the tailpipe.

Sounds Like Teen Spirit

Although turbocharging can improve engine performance, there is a drawback.

Getting Great Designs

“If you own it, you’ll learn how to work with it, then you’ll get used to it.” That is a colleague explaining why people who test drive BMWs and Mercedes vehicles for a week or so shouldn’t complain about the difficulties, complexities, and general user-ungainliness of the i-Drive and Comand systems, respectively.


Bringing the xB

Every panel is different, but the news is under the hood.

Tricking The Light Fantastic

Hella’s adaptive lighting distribution technology lets drivers see farther by putting light only where it’s needed.

'Steel Origami': The BMW 3 Series

For years, convertibles have been made by, essentially, cutting the top off of a coupe, adding the requisite cloth top and mechanisms, and calling it good.

Slouching Is In

 That’s right, the very posture your mother said was bad for you actually may be beneficial to the health of the human spine, and where better to introduce this technology than the place most people spend a bulk of their seated time in an uncompromising “proper” position?

Digital Mock-Up Grows Up

Digital mock-up tools sit nicely between heavy-weight, complex CAD systems and lightweight CAD viewers. Every automotive enter-prise should have one of these tools. And in time, will have one.

$4-Per-Gallon 4-Cylinder

Turbocharging, direct injection, and a variable compression ratio make four greater than six.“The company that decides it wants to establish a new trend will take a chance with a technology like this,” says Robert Last, v.p. of Operations and Communications, FEV Engine Technology (Auburn Hills, MI; The technology he’s talking about is actually two tech-nologies that started life in separate test programs, and were joined together late in 2006 as part of a project to take advantage of the increased interest in alternative fuels and overall fuel economy brought about by rising gasoline prices.

Motoman's New SSA2000 Robot: Faster Welding-Same Price

In the automotive industry, on your typical parts, you have a lot of short welds,” says Craig Jennings, president of Motoman Inc. (; West Carrolton, OH). He then ticks off examples of arc-welded part: seat frames, mufflers, suspension components.

Nissan’s Turner-Ready Sentra

 Now that the volume models of the new Sentra sedan are on sale, Nissan can take care of the boy racers in the audience with the addition of the Sentra SE-R and SE-R Spec V.

Ford's Approach To Color

Yes, there’s black.

The Lexus LS 600H L: Not Just Another Production Car

It’s the world’s first V8 hybrid with all-wheel drive.


Objects of Interest - June 2007

Seat Bearing Assemblies Custom modular bearing assemblies with precision ball or roller bearings and plastic or steel retainers are available in a variety of sizes and materials for applications including seat tracks from Hartford Technologies (; Rocky Hill, CT). Laser Diode ArrayThe SIRILAS laser diode array from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors ( boasts a heat sink on which the laser bar is centered.

Insight: Facing Changing Market Demands

From the demands for small cars to an interest in more consumer electronic-like content, times are changing—rapidly.

EuroAuto: Audi’s Approach to Electronics

There will be more electronics content in Audis—from making cars easier to drive to a means to access entertainment.

Competitive Challenges: Thriving in Complexity

Your future customers aren’t going to be happy with limited choices.

Marginal: Think Again

What you know and what you do may not be enough to be competitive.

Dudder: Diet Drinks, Apple, and George Romney

It isn’t a Jeopardy category, but rather a prescription to fix what ails Detroit.

Profiles: A View from the Inside

“Good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended,”—industrial designer Raymond Loewy

Insider: Learning from the Mouse

Numerous articles have been written in the past few months about Ford considering massive changes in their marketing department.

On Strategy: Survey Says...

A global survey of suppliers shows little optimism—to put it mildly.