Automotive News and Ernst & Young LLP present the eight winners of the 2000 Automotive News PACE Awards.
A panel of 23 independent judges selected this year's winners from a broad field of automotive suppliers. They have captured the spirit of innovation with breakthroughs in design, advances in product, or new approaches to manufacturing.
The sixth annual PACE Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., on Monday, March 6.
Winner: Autoliv Inc.
For ASH-2 Nitrous side airbag inflator
Judges' citation: Autoliv's new ASH-2 inflator uses the chemical process of dissociation, rather than combustion, to produce a gas for airbag inflation. The inflator replaces compressed stored gas, pyrotechnic and hybrid inflators, all of which have disadvantages. Most current inflators employ some form of combustion, which creates undesirable particulates. The gas produced often is at a temperature high enough to burn human skin. The ASH-2 dissociative inflator produces a very dense gas at considerably lower temperatures. That allows airbags to stay inflated longer.
Winner: Delphi Automotive Systems Corp.
Delphi Delco Electronics Systems
For Forewarn Adaptive Cruise Control
Judges' citation: Adaptive Cruise Control allows a driver to use cruise control in traffic. It maintains a set speed until another vehicle appears ahead, then slows to trail that vehicle by a constant interval, which can be adjusted. The system uses radar to discern relatively small targets in clutter and can distinguish moving and immobile objects when rounding turns. It functions at speeds of from 18 mph to 112 mph. Delphi's small, integrated radar unit can mount inside a vehicle so that it is not externally visible. It can shut itself down if it detects that obstacles such as snow and mud are affecting operation. The driver can override the Adaptive Cruise Control system at any time and retains ultimate control of the vehicle.
Winner: Gentex Corp.
For synthetic-white LED illuminators
Judges' citation: Gentex has created 'white light' light-emitting diodes capable of providing illumination, not just as direct-glance indicators. Until now, the industry had not been able to create white light of sufficient illuminating power at a reasonable cost. The binary complementary system Gentex developed combines blue-green and amber light-emitting diodes to make it economically feasible to replace incandescent lamps with more durable, cooler and less power-consuming technology. The diodes last five times longer than incandescent bulbs and are more compact. The change will mean new styling opportunities. Gentex's innovation currently is installed in the Oldsmobile Intrigue as a map light mounted on the rear-view mirror.
Winner: Gleason Corp.
For PowerDryCut and UmcUltima gear making process
Judges' citation: Gleason invented a machine tool capable of cutting hypoidal gears using complex mechanical linkages to rotate simultaneously both cutting tools and the gear being cut. Hypoidal gears are used in the axles of rear-wheel or four-wheel-drive vehicles, connecting the drive shaft to the wheels through the axle. Gleason inventively has applied basic physics, structural design and electronics know-how to the manufacturing process. The gears are produced with less environmental waste because precision grinding replaces the traditional difficult-to-control, oil-intensive lapping process. The resulting gears are quieter and less expensive than those made using conventional technology.
Winner: LumiLeds Lighting U.S. LLC
LumiLeds Lighting U.S. LLC
San Jose, Calif.
For SnapLED lighting for red and amber
automotive signal lights
Judges' citation: Developed by LumiLeds (a Philips Lighting-Agilent Technologies joint venture), SnapLED lets high-powered, solid-state, light-emitting diode emitters replace incandescent bulbs in signal applications. Light-emitting diodes offer faster turn-on times for improved safety. At the same time, the diodes consume less power and offer better reliability than conventional bulbs. But light-emitting diodes with enough power to produce adequate brightness have been difficult to mount to a substrate that could dissipate the heat they generate. SnapLED's solution: a cold metal-forming fastening technique that clinches high-powered diodes directly to a thin, flexible copper substrate.
Winner: PPG Industries Inc.
PPG Industries Inc.
For Enviracryl Powder Clearcoat paint for mass-produced automobiles
Judges' citation: PPG's powder clearcoat offers significant environmental advantages. Use of powder clearcoat virtually eliminates volatile organic compound emissions from solvents used in conventional liquid clearcoat finishes. Recirculating water systems in the clearcoat booths no longer are needed, as powder overspray simply is vacuumed up, reprocessed and mixed with virgin powder for reuse. Total system utilization is 96 percent. The product was introduced into mass production on the clearcoat lines at BMW AG's plant in Dingolfing.
Winner: Rieter Automotive Systems AG
Rieter Automotive Systems AG
For Rieter Ultra Light vehicle
Judges' citation: Rieter approaches the problem of vehicle noise using principles of absorption rather than insulation. Rieter's two-layer noise-reduction material absorbs sound efficiently enough to reduce the weight of acoustic treatments by half, or 22 to 66 pounds per vehicle. Rieter's acoustic engineers analyze the sources and locations of vehicle noise and apply assembly ready panels in key sound-absorption areas. The Rieter Ultra Light system is used in the new Chrysler minivans and the new Fiat Punto as well as on several other platforms being developed in Europe and in North America.
Winner: Siemens AG
For KeylessGo passive entry and ignition system
Judges' citation: KeylessGo replaces the ignition key, remote keyless entry system and engine immobilizer functions on a car by using an intelligent identification card that is a transponder. As the driver approaches the car, the device can trigger memory seats, power mirrors and other pre-set options both to unlock the vehicle and to configure it for the individual. Unlocking occurs as the driver pulls the door handle; the car then can be started with just the touch of a button. KeylessGo uses a two-way radio frequency to interact with the car. Overrides built into the system can identify the driver even when two people with KeylessGo cards approach the vehicle. The system was developed in partnership with Mercedes-Benz; the first KeylessGo system was installed on the 1999 Mercedes S class.