Here are profiles of five of the 22 finalists for the 2005 Automotive News PACE Awards.
What: Automotive News PACE Awards honoring innovative automotive suppliers.
Cosponsored with: Capgemini and the Transportation Resarch Center Inc.
Winners announced: Monday, April 11
Where: Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit
Other finalists: Will be featured weekly through April 4
Siemens VDO Automotive AG Powertrain Fuel Components Division
Auburn Hills, Mich.
Category: Manufacturing Process and Capital Equipment
For: DEKA VII Electronic Gasoline Fuel Injector
Precision fuel injectors are complex to assemble and vulnerable to the grit and dust of manufacturing. Siemens has created a modular injector design that reduces the number of assembly steps from 122 to 57 and seals off fragile components early in the assembly process. The injectors contain 30 percent fewer components, have no internal "O" rings, and reduce scrap by more than half. As many as 36 configurations may be built from the same injector design. The injectors were first used for the Renault F4RT engine and since have been used by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, PSA and Volkswagen.
|A cold curtain|
TRW Automotive Inc.
For: Next Generation Roll Over Curtain Inflator (ROI V2)
Rollover accidents need prolonged airbag protection to keep occupants safe. While a head-on impact is over in less than one second, a rollover can last much longer. Ordinary airbags use a hot gas for a burst of inflation, and then must deflate quickly. To inflate a side-curtain airbag and keep it plump, TRW invented a cold helium gas inflator. The helium is stored under pressure in a cylinder and is released into the bag when a small pyrotechnic charge opens a "rupture disk" at one end of the cylinder. The inflators are standard on many Acura, Honda and Ford Motor Co. vehicles.
For: Intellek Rotary Position Sensor
Delicate position sensors fare poorly in harsh environments such as the underbody of a vehicle. Delphi has developed a noncontact rotary sensor that can survive being jolted and pelted with gravel, mud and water. The sealed device uses a pair of permanent magnets that rotate around a Hall-effect sensor. The rotary sensors give highly accurate measurements but don't require the kind of tight mechanical fit that leads to the friction that causes ordinary sensors to wear out. The device allows dependable ride-height sensing and other suspension monitoring. It was first used on the Cadillac XLR, and is specified on seven platforms.
|Two clutches better than one|
Auburn Hills, Mich.
Category: Product, Europe
For: DualTronic System
BorgWarner uses a computer-controlled transmission and dual-clutch system to get the performance features of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic. Two wet (hydraulic) clutches are linked to separate input shafts, and a mechatronic transmission module controls shifts. Software algorithms automatically select and engage the next gear, setting up each shift so that no power is lost. The system eliminates the clutch pedal but lets the driver choose gear changes or an automatic shift mode. The clutch is used on the VW Golf R32 and Touran minivan, Audi TT 3.2 DSG and A3, and by Seat and Skoda.
|TV to go|
KVH Industries Inc.
For: TracVision A5
It takes more than a cable guy to hook up satellite TV service on a moving vehicle. It takes a phased-array antenna and the software to drive it. KVH has created a flat assembly that can be installed on the roof of an SUV or minivan. Within the housing, an electronically generated magnetic lens focuses the incoming satellite TV signal on an array of 260 antenna elements. That means that the antenna need not point directly at the satellite, unlike traditional home antenna setups. KVH has sold more than 17,000 of the aftermarket units.