In the Open Category, Shape Corporation is recognized for an “enduring” innovation, its tubular high strength swept bumpers, which have come to dominate their category, proving that one characteristic of innovations is the way they change the rules of competition, change the rules of the game, transforming the company’s business for the better.
In 1974, Shape Corporation was a small provider of roll-formed special shapes in light gauge metals for a variety of industries. It grew in roll forming expertise to the point that, in 1992, the company was invited to respond to Chrysler’s need for a curved, high strength steel bumper at a lower cost. To that point, such a requirement was outside the capability of conventional roll forming, but the need for strength, design flexibility, and cost stringency forced the issue. As a result, in 1993, the first roll-formed high strength tubular bumper, a D-shape in cross section, appeared on Chrysler vehicles.
Automobile manufacturers quickly realized the advantages of Shape’s bumpers, greater quality, increased design flexibility, and lower cost. Today Shape Corporation holds a 30% market share of bumpers worldwide, and are the first US company to ship these components to Japan for Japanese asembly.
Shape is now a leading-edge supplier in bumper design and construction, increasing the energy-absorbing characteristics of bumper design and manufacture. Bumper engineering at Shape is undiluted by other engineering interests, since all new or unrelated product design engineering projects are assigned to their own business center. This product focus has been rewarded in the automotive industry, and shows how Shape Corporation, a non-automotive supplier just ten years ago, today is an innovative industry leader in automotive applications of bumper design and manufacture.