DEARBORN - An innovation in computer-aided engineering (CAE) designed to streamline the cost and development of side airbags for front passengers won the top prize at the 2011 Global CAE Technical Innovation Awards held recently at the Ford Product Development Center in Dearborn with global access in Merkenich, Dunton, South America, and Mexico.
Team members Nitesh Jadhav, Linda Zhao, Krish Aekbote and Kumar Mahadevan won the prestigious Executive Award for their project entitled “Pelvic Thorax Side Airbag CAE Development for Front Dummy.”
In the past, Ford engineers would run multiple tests with numerous expensive crash dummy prototypes to simulate the deployment of the side airbag. The new CAE methodology enables them to model how the airbag deploys and simulates what happens to the crash dummy virtually using computer tools.
“We have been utilizing different airbags in different vehicle programs, and that has been extremely costly for the company,” explained Jadhav, crash safety engineer. “With this new methodology, we will be able to have a common airbag across different vehicle platforms that will give us economies of scale and significantly reduce the cost for the company.”
According to Hau Thai-Tang, executive director, Global Programs, and one of the executive judges for the event, the innovation is an industry first.
“It’s something that hasn’t been done before, and it will have a significant impact on Ford in terms of cost savings and speed to market,” he said. “The team also did a nice job of replicating the approach and applying it across multiple programs and regions.”
The Global CAE Technical Innovation Awards event – hosted by CAE Executive Technical Leader Nand Kochhar – featured exhibits from 16 project teams selected from a total of 64 submissions. Raj Nair, vice president, Engineering, delivered the keynote speech at the event.
“The work that you are doing relative to CAE and the fundamental efficiencies that we can have in Product Development through the use of CAE is absolutely critical,” Nair said. “We can’t deliver on the cycle plan we have in front of us in the coming years without improving efficiencies.”
Additional awards presented during the Global CAE Technical Innovation Awards event include:
Chief Engineer Awards:
Oil Sloshing and Splashing in Trans Oil Pan and Axle Differentials
Team Members: Dengfu Zhang, Chin-Yuan Perng, Rich Rej, Michael Carter, Dongmin Li
Development of a Magneto-Elastic Torque Sensor for Transmission Applications
Team Members: Gregory Pietron, Yuji Fujii, Joe Kucharski, Diana Yanakiev, Nimrod Kapas
A Simplified Interactive Tool for Prediction of Oil Canning and Dent Resistance for Roof Panels
Team Members: Christina Nguyen, Yuzhao Song, Behrooz Shahidi, Sriram Sadagopan, Oscar Lanzi
Engineer Choice Award:
Development of 3D CFD Methodology to Predict Turbo Charger Turbine Performance due to Vehicle Packaging Constraints
Team Members: Ahsanul Karim, Keith Miazgowicz, Jim Hilditch, Robert Wade