DEARBORN -- From the world’s first inflatable seatbelt to the development and implementation of a fold-away second-row seat for the Grand C-MAX, Ford Motor Company is generating a myriad of new technologies across the globe.
Researchers, scientists and engineers responsible for this year’s most exceptional technical contributions were recognized Wednesday evening with the 2010 Henry Ford Technology Awards at a special program held at The Dearborn Inn.
A total of 15 awards were presented in three categories: Product Development, Manufacturing and Research. Some of the technologies – inflatable seatbelt, MyKey® and BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert – have been widely publicized. But there are more cool technologies being developed at Ford that you may not be aware of.
Below is a list of all of the award-winners along with a short synopsis of why each technology is significant to the company.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development of the inflatable seatbelt:
Edward DeSmet, Product Development, Research and Vehicle Technology
Dean Jaradi, Research and Advanced Engineering
Douglas Shooks, Research and Advanced Engineering
Srinivasan Sundararajan, Research and Advanced Engineering
David Arnold, Key Safety Systems, Inc.
The world’s first inflatable seatbelt will debut on the 2011 Ford Explorer second-row seats. Rear seat passengers – often children or mature passengers – can be more vulnerable to head, chest and neck injuries. The inflatable seatbelt provides an enhanced level of safety by spreading crash forces over five times more area of the body than seatbelts and reducing head and chest injuries.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the design and development of the MyKey System:
Brian Bennie, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering
Kevin Hille, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering
Thomas Miller, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering
Andrew Sarkisian, Global Product Planning and Strategy
Scott Watkins, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering
MyKey is a system that allows the parent to designate a key to be used by their teenage driver. When the teen uses the key, the vehicle will restrict function in an effort to promote good driving habits. No unique hardware is required.
The Ford MyKey feature is currently standard equipment on many Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. It allows owners to limit the vehicle’s top speed to 80 mph and audio volume to less than half the maximum. MyKey also encourages safety belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound special chimes at 45, 55 and 65 mph.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development and implementation of the Ford Blind Spot Information System with cross -traffic alert:
Franziskus Bauer, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering, Ford of Europe
Christian Marquardt, Vehicle Engineering, Ford of Europe
Manoharprasad Rao, Research and Advanced Engineering
Eric Reed, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering
Kenneth Snarski, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering
The advanced Ford Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert is a feature that helps detect vehicles in blind spots during normal driving and traffic approaching from the sides when reversing out of parking spots.
The BLIS system uses two radar sensors located in the rear quarter panels to detect vehicles in the surrounding lanes. If a vehicle enters the driver’s blind spot zones, the system alerts the driver with a warning light in the sideview mirror.
The cross-traffic alert system uses the existing BLIS radar modules to sense oncoming traffic when slowly backing out of a parking spot. This industry-exclusive system functions only when the vehicle is in reverse and warns when cross traffic appears with three car-widths.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the optimization, development and implementation of the 2.0-liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) combustion system:
Tachih Chou, Engine Engineering
Steven Penkevich, Engine Engineering
David Reiche, Powertrain – Research and Advanced
Steven Wooldridge, Powertrain – Research and Advanced
Zheng Xu, Powertrain – Research and Advanced
The 2.0-liter gas direct injection engine simultaneously achieves high fuel efficiency, high power and PZEV emissions at minimal engine cost, delivering 180 horsepower and 6.1 percent better fuel economy compared with the baseline port-fuel injected engine. Both peak power and fuel efficiency exceeded program targets.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development and implementation of the Grand C-MAX fold-away seat:
Carsten Schauf, Product Development, Ford of Europe
Martin Sievernich, Product Development, Ford of Europe
Uwe Wagner, Product Development, Ford of Europe
Thomas Westmeier, Product Development, Ford of Europe
Miles Lindley, Johnson Controls, Germany
The key innovative element of the fold-away seat is that the second row center seat completely folds below one outboard seat, offering a full walk-through to the third row.
With the next generation, C-MAX is expanding the lineup to include a seven-seat model. Normally, the access to the third seat row in a C-size seven-seater is difficult. Some competitors offer fold-and-tumble or tip-and-slide on the outboard seats of the second row, but many customers have small children and need to put child seats in the outboard seats. Fold-and-tumble and tip-and-slide seats are not possible with child seats mounted. The C-MAX is the first vehicle to market with a competitive fold-away seat. It completely folds under below one outboard seat, offering passengers a full walk-through to the third row.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development and implementation of robust hybrid engine starts with airflow compensation:
Jonathan Butcher, Sustainable Mobility Technologies
Kenneth Frederick, Sustainable Mobility Technologies
Douglas Martin, Sustainable Mobility Technologies
Tobias Pallett, CAPE GPCSE
David Treharne, Sustainable Mobility Technologies
For robust and precise engine starts, the initial throttle position is adjusted using previously measured airflow, providing a smooth and low-emissions start. The throttle also is opened more for automatic restart attempts, if needed.
Relying on deep cross-functional expertise, the team developed a pragmatic, robust and innovative state-of-the-art air control algorithm that reduced warranty and improved customer satisfaction. This innovation has been filed for a patent with the U.S. Patent Office. It is slated for production in Lincoln’s first hybrid, the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and is in production in the Ford Fusion and Escape Hybrids. It is a perfect example of Ford’s vision to quickly innovate to deliver programs on time with high quality, cost-effective systems.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development and implementation of Integrated Manufacturing – Product Development method and tools for high pressure diecastings:
John Allison, Research and Advanced Engineering
Larry Godlewski, Research and Advanced Engineering
Mei Li, Research and Advanced Engineering
Eben Prabhu, Powertrain Operations, GME
Jacob Zindel, Research and Advanced Engineering
This Integrated Manufacturing – Product Development computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools and method is a suite of industry-first tools that enable rapid optimization of High Pressure Diecast manufacturing process for powertrain components. It allows Ford to assess the manufacturing feasibility and mechanical properties early in the Global Product Development System process.
Virtual manufacturing CAE engineers across the globe use this technology daily to evaluate new product designs for manufacturing feasibility through multiple product design integrations and help suppliers optimize their processes to reduce scrap levels and consequently improve first-time-through at powertrain assembly plants.
In recent years, Ford has divested all casting manufacturing plants, resulting in little or no in-house expertise left in diecastings. This technology strategically allows Ford to engineer diecastings using virtual tools in-house. Two vehicles using this technology resulted in hard savings of $1.5 million and engineering time-related soft savings of $400,000 in 2009.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development of the rapid manufacturing of stamping trim steel dies:
Ronald Hasenbusch, Powertrain Operations, ME
Evangelos Liasi, Vehicle Operations
John Phillips, Powertrain Operations, ME
Harold Sears, Prototype Planning, VEV
Paul Susalla, Powertrain Operations, ME
Using new technologies and highly unconventional methods, stamping trim steels and other die components can be manufactured with extreme accuracy, in far less time, with fewer operations and at a much reduced cost.
This process is changing the stamping process significantly. More accurate steel die castings in shorter time at less cost enables Ford to be more efficient, reduce operations and be very nimble. With the greatly improved casting, not only can Ford eliminate rough machining and heat-treat operations, some areas will be left as cast. Consequently, the lead time for trim steels is reduced significantly.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development and implementation of the Hose Connection Acceptability Rating (HCAR):
Glenn Harrington, Vehicle Operations, ME
Jeff Luther, Product Development
Allison Stephens, Vehicle Operations, ME
Enrico Fiacco Sandalwood (now at Chrysler)
HCAR is the amalgamation of advanced ergonomic risk assessment in digital human models with motion capture technology, head-mounted display and external frame structures to create a realistic hose installation assembly process years before production.
This technology brings the fiction movie Avatar into the virtual manufacturing arena. Ergonomists and engineers are designing hose installation components so that they can be assembled at the highest quality level on every vehicle Ford produces 28 months before Job #1.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development of the Bluetooth technology application to eliminate broken wires:
Luis Anguis, Valencia Engine Plant
Jose Maria Coronado Cuenca, Valencia Engine Plant
Carlos Martinez, Valencia Engine Plant
Herminio Munoz, Valencia Engine Plant
Manuel Zafra, Valencia Engine Plant
This technology implements a Bluetooth system instead of wires to connect machine sensors. The application of Bluetooth in the elimination of cable installation is a whole new innovation. This system can be applied to any production machine working or for future programs.
This technology offers benefits in seven areas: safety, quality, efficiency, cost, morale, environment and ease of replication.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the design, development and implementation of the programmable side door hinge fixture:
Marc Foresi, Vehicle Operations, BCE
Jean Emile Jean-Gilles, Vehicle Operations, Oakville
Al Moss, Vehicle Operations, BCE
Ahmad Ozeir, Vehicle Operations, BCE
Anthony Young, Vehicle Operations, BCE
Incorporating programmable hinge setting fixtures allows the company to integrate second- and third-cycle models with current production for a fraction of the time, labor and floor space.
Early virtual build studies proved that it was not feasible to modify the existing tools with conventional and geometrical setting fixtures. Four programmable door hinge assembly fixtures were developed with the flexibility to assemble the 12 distinctly different passenger doors that were required for the three models produced at Oakville.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the design and implementation of rapid change fixtures and gantry tools:
Jon Guske, Powertrain Operations, ATO
Mark Hayley, Powertrain Operations, ATO
Cheryl Machovec, Powertrain Operations, ATO
Kenneth Manes, Powertrain Operations, ATO
Rich Stanifer, Powertrain Operations, ATO
This technology is an evolution of fixtures and gantry gripper design to enable rapid conversion between product architectures. It involves the rapid replacement/changeover of computer numerical controls and gantries to manage model changes while maintaining product production.
The result of this innovation has a significant impact in terms of flexibility, comparability, rate of climb support, standardization and commonality, reaction to product-to-market changes, work environment safety and simplicity in up-time efficiencies.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development and implementation of the analytically-driven vehicle ordering via SIMS:
Yakov Fradkin, Research and Advanced Engineering
Bryan Goodman, Research and Advanced Engineering
Melinda Hunsaker, Research and Advanced Engineering
Yu-Ning Liu, Research and Advanced Engineering
Gint Puskorious, Research and Advanced Engineering
SIMS is an analytically intensive Business Process Technology, designed using methods of statistics, neural networks, set theory ad operations research to produce vehicle order recommendations that would improve dealers’ inventory performance.
This technology examines the sales of Ford products at individual dealerships at the national level to help dealers develop the ideal inventory for their customers. It incorporates complex modeling, seasonal sales, actual sales and other consumer-related attributes to help dealers select the ideal order mix of vehicles so that they have the right inventory on hand at the right time.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the development of torque hole filling for automatic transmissions:
Yuji Fujii, Powertrain Controls R&A
Donald Levens, Transmission and Driveline Engineering
Bradley Riedle, Transmission and Vehicle Controls, GPCSE
Christopher Teslak, Powertrain Controls R&A
Hongtei E. Tseng, Powertrain Controls R&A
Torque hold filling is a systematic technology for improving shift quality in automatic transmissions. This technology has been implemented in several vehicles and will eventually be applied across the entire Ford vehicle lineup, all with zero variable cost.
Henry Ford Technology Award for the design and development of the Emotive Driver Advisory System (EDAS):
Yifan Chen, MVD&S Research and Advanced Engineering
Dimitar Filey, Powertrain Research and Advanced Engineering
Oleg Gusikhin, MVD&S Research and Advanced Engineering
Erica Klampfl, MVD&S Research and Advanced Engineering
Basavaraj Tonshal, MVD&S Research and Advanced Engineering
EDAS is a game-changing technology. It promises to assist and position Ford ahead of the competition in design, features and human machine interface (HMI). From a technology innovation perspective, EDAS was inspired by recent developments in humanoid robots. IT is a creative application of an intelligent agent – an avatar – to monitor tasks and assist the driver in the vehicle. It also involves the integration of direct control of vehicle systems by the driver through voice in the open microphone natural language interface, which would be an industry first.