Automotive News and co-sponsors Microsoft, SAP and Transportation Research Center Inc., with additional sponsors City of Sunderland (United Kingdom), the Original Equipment Suppliers Association and WCSX-FM, present the winners of the 2006 Automotive News PACE Awards. These 11 winners and two Collaborator Award winners were judged to be the best of the best in creating innovative products and processes. A group of independent judges selected the winners from a field of 22 finalists. The awards were presented at the 12th annual PACE Awards ceremony on Monday, April 3, at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.
For: Monosteel piston
From the judges' citation: "The Monosteel piston not only lasts longer, avoiding burnout and cracking, but performs better than previous designs in terms of blow-through and other performance characteristics. Federal-Mogul's design capabilities included computer simulation of mechanical and thermal stress, analysis of the piston's reciprocating motion and modeling of oil flow cooling, to come close to a "virtual" design cycle. This allowed shortened engineering lead time without extensive prototyping and testing. With the flexibility of the Monosteel approach, Federal-Mogul is poised to make additional improvements in piston design."
Magneti Marelli Controle Motor
For: Software Flexfuel Sensor
From the judges' citation: "Marelli's innovation is SFS technology - for Software Fuel Sensor - which manages an internal combustion engine so it can run an ordinary engine efficiently with any combination and mixture of gasoline and ethanol in the tank. What is even more stunning about this innovation is that it can manage a true Flexfuel situation - that is, any combination and ratio of fuels - without the need for any physical fuel ratio sensor. All of this is accomplished on the basis of modeling and reading real-time fuel combustion parameters, adaptively applied with great precision."
ITW Shakeproof, Illinois Tool Works Inc.
For: BosScrew fastener
From the judges' citation: "The BosScrew threaded fastener or screw has an innovative design that precludes 'backing out' when inserted in plastic automotive parts. The result is that plastic parts in difficult-to-reach places in automobiles and trucks stay attached firmly to each other, eliminating rattling, and reducing warranty costs as a result. This in turn allows ITW Shakeproof to rise above a commodity posture."
OSRAM Opto Semiconductors Inc.
For: "Color on Demand" light-emitting diode technology
From the judges' citation: "The process is based on use of blue LED applications combined with a series of red and green phosphor converters to produce a vast spectrum of colors. The fine-tuning of these phosphors makes it possible to offer manufacturers a new, distinctively recognizable way to give their brands unique, identifying personalities. Up until now, creation of saturated colors was possible only by use of expensive electroluminescent materials or multiple-color LEDs."
For: OptiCell 3D Non-contact Measurement System
From the judges' citation: "OptiCell is recognized as an innovation which, through its software, does more than improve existing metrology. This technology is stimulating industry to rethink inspection and validation practices, to capture benefits of more checkpoints and lower sample sizes, and it invites engineers to use an innovative measuring technology in new ways that were never before possible."
Tenneco Automotive Inc.
Lake Forest, Ill.
For: Low Cost, Low Weight Muffler
From the judges' citation: "Tenneco Automotive has redefined not what mufflers do, but how they may be designed and constructed to do it. The result is this innovative low-cost, low-weight muffler. The assignment they undertook was to design and produce a muffler that is lighter, cheaper and with desirable acoustic properties."
Preh Automotive Division, Preh GmbH
Bad Neustadt, Germany
For: Windshield Defogging Sensor
From the judges' citation: "This new sensing technology determines the temperature and calculates relative humidity at the inner surface of the windshield, and then signals the climate control system to take measures to prevent fog on the windshield whenever needed. With direct and accurate measurement of relative humidity at the windshield, these problems disappear. Preventing the problem in the first place is quicker and therefore safer, more comfortable, and uses less energy than removing already-formed fog."
Valeo Electrical Systems, Valeo SA
For: STARS Micro-Hybrid
From the judges' citation: "The system allows the combustion engine to be turned off automatically when the car stops and the driver holds the brake pedal down, and to be restarted instantaneously when the brake pedal is released in favor of the accelerator. This entire process is completely transparent to the driver and passengers, except that there is of course no engine sound at all, nor exhaust, while stopped. The STARS Micro-Hybrid can be fitted to both gasoline and diesel engines, with little or no specific design change or adaptation to a particular engine. It's applicable to any engine without further design modifications, a powerful premise.
SKF Automotive Division
For: X-Tracker Asymmetric Hub Bearing Unit
From the judges' citation: "SKF's X-Tracker is the most significant innovation in the global hub bearing market since the integration of ABS sensors in the 1990s. It consists of an asymmetrical two-row wheel hub bearing arrangement with the outboard bearing race a significantly larger diameter that carries more rolling elements than the inboard row. This uniquely innovative architecture increases the camber stiffness of the hub unit by as much as 70 percent, adds significant load-carrying capacity and extends service life. This is accomplished without need to change any of the surrounding components and without increased cost."
Auburn Hills, Mich.
For: Betamate LESA Structural Adhesive (above)
From the judges' citation: "Until now it has been impossible to bond polymers like polyolefins (low energy substrate) having structural strength, to other materials, without initial process steps of surface primers and other surface modifications (such as flame treatments, to promote actual bonding). Their innovation, Betamate LESA two-part acrylic adhesive, is the first in the industry to accomplish this bonding in a structural application. Dow Automotive holds more than a dozen patents on the methods and materials used to achieve these long-desired properties."
For: PosiCharge battery charging system (below)
From the judges' citation: "PosiCharge battery chargers allow forklift batteries to be recharged during naturally occurring breaks in vehicle usage without having to remove the batteries. A battery charging room and spare batteries are no longer needed, and the new battery charging system, besides being enough faster to allow this innovative approach, is also 10 percent more energy efficient."
Collaborator Award Winner
Ford Motor Co.
For: Collaboration on PosiCharge battery charging system
From the judges' citation: "By 2001 Ford had enough experience across a broad range of applications to feel confident converting an entire facility to PosiCharge's fast-charge technology. This first plantwide implementation was at Ford's Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant. After launching PosiCharge, the battery room was demolished and the floor space used for production tooling for the new vehicle line being launched at the facility."
Collaborator Award Winner
For: Collaboration on Color Specific Powder Primer, with PPG Industries, Inc.- Automotive Coatings.
From the judges' citation: "General Motors approached PPG Industries with the idea of using keyed color-specific powder primer on interior and exterior surfaces, replacing liquid solvent primers. The Color Harmony process is a perfect example of an application and product conceived and designed to work together, resulting in a reliable, robust and cost-effective system for the paint shop at the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant, and beyond."