Thursday, 27 September 2012

FIM releases provisional 2013 MotoGp calendar

The FIM has released the provisional calendar for the 2013 MotoGP™ World Championship with a total of 19 rounds to take place.

31 March – Qatar* Doha/Losail
14 April – TBC TBC
21 April – TBC TBC
05 May – Spain(STC), Jerez de la Frontera
19 May – France, Le Mans
2 June – Italy, Mugello
16 June – Catalunya, Catalunya
29 June – Netherlands**, Assen
14 July – Germany, Sachsenring
21 July – United States***, Laguna Seca
18 August – Indianapolis, Indianapolis
25 August – Czech Republic, Brno
01 September – Great Britain, Silverstone
15 September – San Marino & Riviera di Rimini, Marco Simoncelli Misano
29 September – Aragón, Motorland
13 October – Malaysia, Sepang
20 October – Australia, Phillip Island
27 October – Japan, Motegi
10 November – Valencia, Ricardo Tormo-Valencia
* Evening Race

** Saturday Race

*** Only MotoGP class

STC (Subject to the Contract)

TBC (To be confirmed)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Materials lead the way to vehicle mass reduction

Image: 2013 Cadillac ATS materials.jpg
AHSS as well as aluminum are used in the body structure of the 2013 Cadillac ATS.

The lightweight materials menu features metals and non-metals, yet the selection process is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Without question, every lightweight material choice matters, especially with the industry working in overdrive to meet the U.S. federal mandate for a 54.5-mpg fleet average in the 2025MY. That’s in addition to a bevy of other upcoming governmental fuel economy and CO2 emissions regulations around the globe.
Jeffrey Moyer, Vice President of Business Development & Engineering at Meridian Lightweight Technologies, said the reality is that only two critical model-year life cycles remain for automakers to reach the 54.5-mpg requirement.
“That means the industry needs lightweight, production-ready solutions for the next vehicle cycle,” Moyer told attendees of the Global Automotive Lightweight Materials event presented by American Business Conferences in Troy, MI, on Aug. 21-22.
Meridian’s current die-cast magnesium production application list includes instrument panels, transfer cases, lift gates/closures, front-end structures, steering wheels/steering columns, as well as seat structures.
While calorie cutting is important for all vehicle parts, the body-in-white is a major target.
According to Stephen Logan, Senior Technical Specialist for Advanced Lightweight Programs, Materials Engineering at Chrysler Group LLC, “in order to meet the challenges of increasing fuel economy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the body must play a critical role in vehicle weight reduction.”
Scott Miller, General Motors’ Global Director of Mass, Energy, and Aerodynamics, said a vehicle’s typical subsystem mass distribution is led by the body (37%), followed by the chassis (30%), powertrain (14%), interior (12%), electrical (4%), and HVAC and powertrain cooling (3%).
Recent lightweight material examples include a body structure prototype. Based on the 2003 Chrysler Sebring, this magnesium-intensive body structure—after an adhesive cure—weighed just 399 lb (181 kg). Lightweight production vehicle examples include the current all-aluminum bodied Jaguar XJ and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 roadster.
The SL550 uses Novelis-supplied aluminum for the doors, hood, and various structural pieces, including the transmission tunnel that is made from a new aluminum alloy, Anticorodal-300. At 560 lb (254 kg), the aluminum body is approximately 300 lb (136 kg) lighter than the predecessor.
Ganesh Panneer, Novelis’ Director of Sales & Marketing, Automotive Products, said aluminum usage on vehicles around the globe is projected to increase. Industry sources indicate that when comparing 2011 to 2016, aluminum hoods likely will jump from 11% to 15%; rear gates from 2% to 4%; doors from 1% to 5%; roofs from 1% to 2%; and structures from zero to 2%.
“We’re also seeing A- and B-segment vehicles using aluminum, so aluminum usage is moving to the smaller segments,” Panneer said.
Carbon fiber’s production applications have included roofs, hoods, and other Class A surfaces on low-volume sports cars. But an upcoming global production vehicle will have 75% of its body (including the hood, fenders, and roof) comprised of carbon fiber.
“It will be the first time that carbon fiber has been used this extensively on a base production car anywhere in the world,” said Gary Lownsdale, Chief Technology Officer of Plasan Carbon Composites. The key enabler for this up to 50,000-units-per-year vehicle application is Plasan’s patented Pressure Press processing technology.
In terms of current production vehicle applications, steel reigns as the dominant material choice with advanced high-strength steels (AHSSs) gaining steam, especially for crash management.
Industry projections indicate that in 2015, AHSS will account for 34.8% of body and closure content, with mild steel at 29%; bake hardenable and medium HSS at 23.5%; and conventional HSS at 10.2%. Aluminum and magnesium are predicted to be at 2.5%.
Development of third-generation AHSS is under way. The U.S. Automotive Materials Partnership (a research consortium of Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co., and General Motors) and the Auto/Steel Partnership are the backbone of a four-year project that will use $6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
According to Ronald Krupitzer, Vice President Automotive Market for the Steel Market Development Institute, the first phase of the project—which could begin as early as December 2012—will focus on applying the existing material modeling tools.
“The validation of the integrated materials model and the evaluation of the materials performance in vehicle components via CAE methods as well as materials coupon testing will be the major objectives of phase two,” Krupitzer told SAE Magazines.
Research work done by NASA could lead to new automotive applications within the next five to 10 years. Gregory Peterson, Senior Technical Specialist for Lotus Engineering, told SAE Magazines that many of the technical papers written by NASA experts contain information that is highly valued as potential lightweight solutions for further reducing vehicle weight.
“NASA has been developing space-age materials for decades. And some of those materials are now commercially available through NASA as the technologies are no longer proprietary. We’ve had numerous meetings and discussions with the NASA team, and we’re moving forward in several different areas to potentially commercialize these products for passenger cars and trucks as well as for military vehicles,” said Peterson.
Nigel Giddons, Chief Vehicle Architecture Engineer at Tata Technologies, is leading a team tasked with designing and developing a passenger vehicle with a “weight target that is aggressive at this stage in the project.”
The job is indicative of what engineers are being asked to do on other vehicle programs, Giddons told SAE Magazines.
“It’s an all-point challenge at the moment. That challenge is dictated by legislation, but also in most instances it’s the customers who are demanding more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. And, weight and powertrain stand together as a means to that end,” Giddons said.

GM tools up for high-volume aluminum structures with new welding technology

Concentric rings on the domed electrode tip (image at right) are key to the effectiveness of the aluminum resistance-welding technology. GM owns IP around three concepts: the electrode design, the controls for the electrical current, and the technology for dressing the tip intermittently.
Image: GM Aluminum Welding.jpg
General Motors is preparing to significantly increase its use of aluminum in vehicle body structures with a new twist on an old joining technology: resistance spot welding. The automaker is expanding use of what GM engineers claim is an industry-first aluminum spot-welding process that features a new type of electrode developed and patented by GM R&D.
The technology is designed for much higher production rates than are currently employed in automotive aluminum-structures manufacturing. It centers on a new electrode-tip design that will enable GM’s global body shops to spot-weld virtually any combination of aluminum sheet, extrusions, and castings, according to Blair Carlson, Lab Group Manager, Lightweight Materials Processing Group, GM R&D.
“No other automaker is spot-welding aluminum body structures to the extent we are planning to, and this technology will allow us to do so at low cost,” he said.
By increasing its use of aluminum spot welds per vehicle, GM expects to eliminate nearly 2 lb (0.9 kg) of self-piercing rivets from aluminum body assemblies including doors, hoods, and liftgates.
Using rivets to join aluminum pieces adds up-front cost, while complicating end-of-life recycling efforts. Rivet-gun operating limitations also restrict the joint configurations that can be employed in a structure.
GM also aims to commercialize the welding technology. “We’ve got a good handle on it in our internal production, and we’ve licensed it to the GM suppliers for upcoming programs,” Carlson told AEI. “Now we’re taking the next step to license it externally for non-GM production” which he expects to include heavy truck, railroad, and aerospace applications.
GM owns a suite of intellectual property around three concepts: the electrode design, the controls for the electrical current, and the technology for dressing (cleaning) the electrode tip intermittently, Carlson said.
The resistance-welding technology has been in use on select hood (Cadillac CTS-V) and liftgate (hybrid versions of Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon) applications since 2008. GM’s invention is the unique design of the electrode tip. Its concentric domed rings (see accompanying image) break through the aluminum oxide layer contained on all aluminum parts.
“That layer is the bane of aluminum welding,” Carlson explained. “The rings allow the electrode to engage the surface of the material so that current passes more easily and generates a weld nugget in the middle, centered between the two parts,” he said.
The process is not affected by material gauge and has demonstrated improvements in process consistency and electrode life since it entered volume production. Carlson recalled GM’s implementation: “Basically the ME [manufacturing engineering] guys wanted us to do due diligence, so we took the recommended practices of The Aluminum Association for weld schedules and electrodes and did process windows vs. our technology. We published this in an earlier sheet-metal conference paper.”
The new electrode tip design gives a larger and more robust weld process window, with much tighter consistency than with conventional aluminum spot welding, Carlson noted. “We don’t have traditional issues such as the sheet metal sticking to the electrode, which usually means the welding cell will stop and the operator has to go in and check it out. We avoid all of those interruptions in production.” GM uses MFDC (mid-frequency direct current) in its aluminum fabrication operations.
Jon Lauckner, GM’s Chief Technology Officer, views the technology as a strategic asset. “The ability to weld aluminum body structures and closures in such a robust fashion will give GM a unique manufacturing advantage,” he said in a statement. “It is an important step forward that will grow in importance as we increase the use of aluminum in our cars, trucks, and crossovers over the next several years.”

Hydroformed pillars are world’s first in 2013 Ford Fusion

Image: 2013 Fusion B-pillar steels 1.JPG
2013 Ford Fusion B-pillar and A-pillar roof rail (shown in blue) laid bare on a display buck. The orange stampings are DP780 coated advanced high-strength steel formed using a transfer die process. The green component behind the vertical tubes are in HSLA, CR300/340LA. (Lindsay Brooke)
Ford’s 2013 Fusion uses hydroformed steel tubes for its B-pillars, an application that Ford body engineers claim is a production world’s first for hydroformed components. The car also features a hydroformed A-pillar roof rail.
Using hydroforming instead of hot-stamped welded sheet to create the car’s roof-pillar structure reduced mass, saved cost, reduced the bill of material, and helped improve the new Fusion’s crash performance, said Shawn Morgans, Ford’s Technical Leader and Global Core Manager, Body Structure, Closures, and Body CAE.
“The benefits we’re getting from using a closed continuous section, including giving us better structural continuity throughout the pillars, are driving big improvements to our body structures,” Morgans told AEI. He said in developing the Fusion pillars, his team uncovered no other similar production applications featuring hydroformed tubes.
Ford is driving increased use of hydroformed components across its global body structures going forward, Morgans said. The new C/D-segment Fusion sedan is built on Ford’s new CD4 architecture developed by Ford Europe. It replaces the seven-year-old Mazda G-derived CD3 platform used on the previous-generation Fusion. The CD4, which also underpins Lincoln’s new MKZ, is a predominantly steel structure featuring a high level of high- and ultrahigh-strength alloy content. It is claimed to be stiffer in torsion and bending and more mass-efficient than the former platform.

Proven on F-Series programs

Morgans said the genesis of the Fusion pillar designs came in 2003, during development of a new front end for the F-250 pickup.
“In that first go-around we took our front structure from 18 stampings down to 9 components, including the hydroforms,” he recalled. “We also had a big reduction in spot welds, and we found that we could reduce the mass significantly—the first design was about 42 kg and by the third generation, which ended up on the F-150, we were down to about 26 kg.
“Based on that work, we realized there are huge benefits in using hydroform, so we started to push the envelope,” he said. A hydroformed A-pillar roof rail for the P415 program (2009 F-150) followed, again bringing significant mass savings with lower variable cost.
At the time, Ford had separate Truck and Car engineering groups. Since the groups were combined under one vehicle-engineering organization, the hydroforming “book of knowledge” has been shared across the body-on-frame and unibody teams. Morgans’ boss, Chief Engineer Bruno Bartholemew, has been pushing the teams to advance the technology.
“Bruno’s a very thorough engineer who understands that closed sections and continuous structures are much better than what we were getting by welding a bunch of sheet-metal stampings together,” Morgans explained. The next major hydroform application—the 2011 Explorer front rail—enabled a 5-kg (11-lb) weight-save on that vehicle.
On the Fusion program, the initial direction was to take the F-Series design for the A-pillar roof rail and get it into a unibody. Compared with the truck application, the sedan’s design is slightly modified because the load requirements are different than what the truck sees due to its separate frame. Still, much effort went into it, and the team was able to pull 4 kg (8.8 lb) out per vehicle using hydroform, compared with a hot-stamped design.
“We replaced two hot stampings and some other high-strength stampings, with the two hydroformed tubes in DP1000. This enabled the mass reduction as well as a significant cost save,” Morgans said. The concept was brought forward by a colleague who developed it working nights at home. “He brought it in and sold us all on the benefits,” Morgans noted.
The hydroformed parts are supplied by Cosma International, an operating unit of Magna International, for North American production.
The hydroformed B-pillar enabled Ford to improve the Fusion’s side-impact performance significantly over the hot-stamped design that was originally intended for the vehicle, Morgans said. The tubes give much less deformation and overall better control over the deformation—which helped improve the car’s roof-strength numbers as well.
“If you meet the IIHS [Insurance Institute of Highway Safety] side-impact requirement, the 4X roof crush test is very, very close. It didn’t take a whole lot more to get up to the 4X,” Morgans said. In the test procedure, a metal plate is pushed against one side of the vehicle’s roof panel at a constant speed. The roof must withstand a force of four times the vehicle's weight before reaching 5 in (127 mm) of crush.
“Tubular structures definitely help here,” he asserted. “We maximized the sectional values within the package space we’re given. When you eliminate the weld flanges you get more usable structure out of the components, as well as greater continuity—without the weld joints between the A-pillar and the roof rail. Typically that’s four parts coming together so you get those joints staggered around. And depending on how the vehicle’s built, you don’t always get the ideal connection between those two.”
He explained that because the hydroform tube runs all the way through, there is no discontinuity in the structure. It’s a much better load path.

Laser welding = better joints

The ability to combine parts and moving away from the hot stamping process brought “significant cost benefits,” Morgans said. Hot stamping is time-consuming due to the time it takes to heat up the blanks as well as post-treatment of the parts including using a laser to trim edges. “We were able to get rid of that with the hydroforming,” he said.
Ford has moved to some single-side joining operations in its assembly plant body shops. For the hydroforms, the company is using some stamped brackets to make the transition from the stampings to the hydroform tube.
“Typically on the F-Series we would MIG-weld those on to the tube and then use that stamping as the interface to the other stampings in the structure that allow us to use spot-welds within the plant,” Morgans explained. “For the Fusion, we took a step forward—all the brackets have been laser-welded on, and the brackets we’re using are primarily for tube-to-tube connections. They’re all laser welded and they’re giving us better joints. That’s allowed us to eliminate a number of the holes that would have needed to be there.
“And the process allows more welds within a given cycle time than is typically possible with a spot welding or MIG-weld system.”

Dassault Systèmes delivers tools to develop smart, safe, and connected cars

Image: SSC - Electrical Engineering.JPG
Electrical engineering systems and harness design is part of Dassault Systèmes' 3DExperience it calls Smart, Safe, & Connected.

There was a time when software companies delivered products with a list of features and tools—the more, the better. The problem with that approach for Dassault Systèmes (DS) is that the company evolved from a CAD provider famous for its CATIA 3-D design software into a comprehensive provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions. It has progressed from Digital Mock Up (DMU) to diversifying into manufacturing simulations (DELMIA), virtual simulations (SIMULIA), and other software for visualizing, simulating, and managing product development.
Each of these solutions now needs to talk to each other in an integrated way to deliver real value to specific industry segments, such as automotive or aerospace. Since PLM tools now enhance, even encourage, greater collaboration between functional groups—think design working with manufacturing—each must contribute to a specific, sometimes nebulous "solution." What to call it?
Enter the 3DExperience platform that provides a single product view within an integrated environment for collaboration. For those familiar with the separate brands of DS, it combines 3-D modeling, simulation, data management, and social media collaboration. This 3DExperience evolved from the V6 platform that emphasized accessing a single data model by the company’s different software tools. DS tailors specific experiences to the needs of industry segments, emphasizing a customer-centric view.

Automotive 3DExperience and AUTOSAR and ISO 26262    

One of the first of these industry specific 3DExperiences DS labels "Smart, Safe, & Connected.” It aimed it squarely at the problems of the automotive world. “Our customers told us quite frankly that they need help fulfilling the Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR) standard and the new ISO 26262 Electric/Electronic functional safety standard,” said Paul Silver, Global Transportation Program Manager, DS. Current and future customers wanted an automated means of proving their systems are both AUTOSAR and ISO 26262 compliant, according to him. ISO 26262, a functional safety standard, requires complete process documentation, analysis, and verification, a task ripe for automation. Since ISO 26262 involves traceability and liability issues, it is a compelling priority.
Why do they emphasize software and electronic systems in their Smart, Safe & Connected Car? “Electronics and software currently represent over 80% of vehicle innovation, with much of that focused on active or passive safety, entertainment, and performance,” stated Mike Lalande, Global Transportation Consultant, Dassault Systèmes. “There is three times as much code as in the Mercedes Benz S-Class as in the F-22 fighter.” Such preponderance in software has unfortunately led to many warranty issues as well as cost and expense in developing, testing, and validating.
Other priorities that were added to Smart, Safe & Connected, according to Lalande, include:
• Electrical engineering (systems and 3-D harness design)
• Electrical and electronic architecture definition
• Passive and active safety, especially Active Driver Assistance Simulations
He notes the passive and active safety functionality features SIMULIA CAE capabilities to simulate such things as restraints and outcomes as well as crash and crush zones. “Our electrical and electronic architecture offerings are based on our success with the BMW AIDA project,” said Lalande.

The future includes more 3DExperiences

Look for more 3DExperiences in the future—Smart, Safe, & Connected is the first of five to be released, according to Silver. Intended to be scalable solutions, DS intends to offer such packages of features that customers can choose only what they need. “Think of an experience such as Smart, Safe, & Connected as bundled solution options that can combine a software product, a service, and [industry-specific] content all in one,” explained Silver.
 For more information on ISO 26262 see:

Avoiding traffic congestion in the air

Image: 11008_13907_ACT.jpg
Passengers on Bombardier jets will often have several communication links open, so it’s important to maintain data integrity for each connection.
Once aircraft are linked to satellites or ground-based stations, the design challenge shifts to disseminating signals to passengers. Design engineers have to ensure that network traffic doesn’t overwhelm the Wi-Fi link’s ability to provide satisfactory performance inside the aircraft.
The latest versions of the Wi-Fi networks used in coffee shops usually provide enough bandwidth for users on the plane, though the challenges are more daunting in aircraft. Some suppliers also provide cell-phone connectivity for the growing number of smart phone users.
“Our systems provide Wi-Fi connectivity with passenger devices using 802.11g/n,” said Frederick St. Amour, Sales Vice President for Row 44. “Our GSM option enables GSM services using a base station transceiver and leaky line antenna.”
These links must support users who are viewing movies, listening to music, and doing a wide range of Web searches while sending messages. When many passengers are doing three or four things at once, it puts a fair amount of strain on networks. Adding Wi-Fi routers is the obvious solution, though that adds cost and weight while increasing power requirements.
Another challenge for network designers is to ensure that all these data streams don’t suffer from errors when signals are interrupted. Momentary glitches are likely when planes must shift from one satellite or ground station to another. Designs must also account for routine interruptions that originate from the pilot or crew.
“When the pilot interrupts streaming video and audio, all those streams need to restart without any synchronization problems,” said Andrew Poliak, Director of Business Development at QNX Software Systems. “The operating system needs to meet these real-time requirements and have the capability to work in the consumer environment. Connecting to consumer products is very important on corporate jets, where everyone wants to connect their personal equipment.”
While providing speedy connections is a central focus, network developers also have to make it simple for users to get those connections started. Passwords and payments aren’t necessary on private jets, but commercial passengers can’t view signing on as a barrier to Internet access.
“Rapid, efficient activations are vital if airlines are to optimize their connectivity investments,” St. Amour said.
Network designers must also ensure that there is no interference when aircraft and satellites are using more than one communications link. Bombardier, which works closely with satellite provider Inmarsat, is among the companies that have resolved this issue.
“We have router usage rules that can be set to avoid this situation,” said Yannick Dansereau, Lead Product Manager for Cabin Systems at Bombardier. “With our multichannel Inmarsat SwiftBroadband solution, people logged onto one channel for Internet access do not affect the available bandwidth on the second available channel.”

Cars converse in largest-ever on-road ITS test project

Image: NHTSA image of V2V.jpg
The status of upcoming traffic signals will be communicated to drivers. (U.S. DOT)
The recent launch of a major real-life demonstration of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technologies in Ann Arbor, MI, ensures that it will be a topic of discussion at the upcoming SAE Convergence 2012 conference and exhibition in Detroit Oct. 16-17.
The U.S. government, via several of its transportation-related agencies, is sponsoring the demo, which it claims is the largest-ever road test of connected-vehicle crash-avoidance technologies. Roughly 3000 cars, trucks, and transit buses are involved in the one-year project. Most of the vehicles are supplied by volunteer participants and equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication devices that will gather extensive data about system operability and its effectiveness at reducing crashes.
The test area consists of about 75 lane miles (121 km) of public roadway to the north and east of Ann Arbor, including highway.
According to DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) unit, V2V safety technology could help drivers avoid or reduce the severity of four out of five unimpaired vehicle crashes. To accomplish this, the Ann Arbor road-test vehicles will send electronic data messages, receive messages from other equipped vehicles, and translate the data into a warning to the driver during specific hazardous traffic scenarios such as an impending collision at a blind intersection, a vehicle changing lanes in another vehicle's blind spot, and a rear collision with a vehicle stopped ahead.
The devices that will be tested include some systems that are integrated into the vehicle when it is produced, some that are installed in the vehicle as an aftermarket or retrofit unit, and some of a type (called a vehicle awareness device or VAD) that is carried into the vehicle and has the capacity only to send speed, location, and heading data; the latter cannot receive or process incoming messages. According to Delphi, which is supporting two companies that won project contract awards, the vast majority of the participating vehicles will run with a basic VAD.
All systems and devices emit a basic safety message 10 times per second that forms the data stream that other in-vehicle devices use to determine when a potential traffic hazard exists. Combined with the vehicle’s own data, this information provides highly accurate data that is used by the crash-avoidance safety applications in those vehicles equipped with integrated or installed systems.
The road test will produce empirical data for determining the technologies’ effectiveness at reducing crashes. These capabilities will also be extended to a limited set of applications in which vehicles will communicate with roadway infrastructure.
The information collected from the demo will be used by NHTSA to determine whether to proceed with additional V2V communication activities, including possible future regulations.
A large number of companies and institutions are involved in the project. The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute is running the project for the U.S. DOT, and the latter is funding 80% of the project’s $25 million cost.
General Motors is among the automakers involved in the project. It will run eight Buick and Cadillac models into which the highest level of V2V equipment has been integrated. The data will be used not only by the U.S. DOT for consideration in future possible rulemaking but also by participants for their own internal research and development purposes.
“This program will help GM determine a timeline for introducing V2V technology on our vehicles, globally, in the second half of this decade,” said Hariharan Krishnan, GM R&D Technical Fellow for Perception and Vehicle Control Systems. “It will take approximately another five years of market penetration for customers to truly benefit from the technology. Ultimately, V2V and V2I technologies stand to improve traffic safety and efficiency for many drivers.”
Meanwhile, said GM’s Nady Boules, GM Global R&D director of the Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab, “It is essential that common standards and security framework be established for V2V and V2I technologies so that vehicles from different automakers can communicate and interoperate with each other in a consistent manner.”
SAE International's J2735 is the communications standard and is based on a technology called Dedicated Short Range Communications for Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (DSRC, for short). The Federal Communications Commission has allocated 75 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9-GHz band for use in intelligent transportations systems.
J2735 currently is under review for possible revision, and several related standards are in development.
Delphi is working with project contract award winners Cohda Wireless and Savari.
The former is one of several companies providing DSRC development hardware as well as applications software for vehicles equipped with aftermarket devices. Delphi provided application software for Curve Speed Warning and Cooperative Intersection Collision Avoidance System – Violation (CICAS-V) for Cohda’s platform. Cohda provided software for Forward Collision Warning and Electronic Emergency Brake Light. Delphi also provided the user interface and decision hierarchy as well as integration hardware and on-site vehicle integration support for their aftermarket safety devices.
Savari is one of several awardees for the VAD units that transmit location, speed, and direction data. Delphi received a subcontract for on-site integration support for their prototype vehicles.
Patrick Ponticel

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Airbus to Flight Test Fuel Cell As APU Replacement

A Airbus is developing a multifunctional fuel cell large enough to replace the auxiliary power unit on an A320, with the potential to reduce total aircraft fuel use by up to 15%.
That’s because the by-products of generating electricity will include clean water for aircraft use, and nitrogen for fuel tank inerting and fire suppression, replacing today’s Halon-based fire extinguishers. The 100kW fuel cell will also generate enough power for the autonomous electrical taxiing system now in development.
Flight tests will begin around 2015 with the fuel cell installed in the cargo hold of an A320. The rest of the installation will include a hydrogen tank, heat exchangers and fans in the tailcone.
Airbus is partnered with Germany’s DLR aerospace research institute and Parker Aerospace for the trials. It is already cooperating in an international network together with other airframers, engine manufacturers, aerospace suppliers and aviation authorities to pave the way for the certification of fuel cells on commercial aircraft.
Airbus last experimented with fuel cells in 2008, when it flight-tested a 25kW cell in DLR’s A320 research aircraft. Michelin was also a partner in those trials, where the cell was mounted on a cargo pallet.
The fuel cell is of the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) type, and works very similarly to a battery. It provides a direct conversion hydrogen into electrical energy.
The efficiency of this process is not limited by the thermodynamic constraints of combustion engines and consequently achieves a fuel-to-electricity efficiency two to three times higher than current engine/generator combinations.
The fuel cell does not have to be recharged once empty, as hydrogen and oxygen/air are continuously supplied to the fuel cell stack, allowing continuous operation.
A mockup of the fuel cell is being unveiled here at ILA 2012 on the BMWi (Bundesministerium fuer Wirtschaft und Technologie) booth Hall 4/4303.

A-Class to Zetsche: Mercedes’ priority list

Image: Merc8-12Zetsche 1.jpg

Dr. Dieter Zetsche is confident that the Daimler Group's R&D spend—€5.6 billion last year—is sufficient to counter rivals' technology advances.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, is blunt and brief on the subject of how his company will tackle the ever more challenging difficulties of emissions reduction: “With a lot of technology—and a lot of technology which is costly!”
Important though it is, the vexing subject of emissions is just one of the diverse areas of technology that any OEM and supplier must embrace and master. And most of that, too, is very, very costly.
In the world of industrial automotive might, Mercedes may be a major player but increasingly it faces the threat or actuality of rivals expanding to massive proportions—with equally massive R&D capabilities. The overarching European example is the Volkswagen Group, now with Porsche’s capability to add to its plethora of brands with the ability to cross-link on everything from powertrains to pedals.
Can Mercedes keep up with the R&D power of VW, Toyota, and General Motors? Zetsche is coolly confident that it can—and will: “As a Group (Daimler), we had €106 billion in revenues in 2011 and as a proportion we run R&D at 5%-plus of that (€5.6 billion), with Mercedes’ Cars accounting for €3.73 billion," he told AEI. "I do not know of any car company, whatever their sales volume, that would compare favorably with such high figures!
“It doesn’t matter if a company sells three times as many small cars as another; it matters what kind of revenues you generate. We are second to none as far as our technological resources and capabilities are concerned.”
But with the arrival of the latest compact A-Class and B-Class ranges, Mercedes itself is arguably in that small-car sector. “We have to make sure that the smaller cars are more profitable than they used to be,” he stressed.
Zetsche stated that the new A-Class would achieve significantly higher volume than the previous model, a broad product mix, and would be built in three centers—Germany, Hungary, and Finland—to achieve lower labor costs on average. He is convinced that Mercedes will have top profitability in the segment.
The overall volume of cars with a Mercedes badge in the compact sector? “We have a cash commitment to more than 400,000 units, and we are investigating production in China,” he said.
While some companies are considering more shuttering of factories, the bullish Zetsche (an electrical engineer whose career is founded on R&D and who has been running Daimler since January 2006), said: “We are looking for ways and means to expand the production capability we have at Rastatt and Kecskemét.” The A-Class will also be assembled by Valmet in Finland.
However good prospects may look, pan-industry technology and commercial cooperation are an increasingly rational course. Mercedes has a close relationship with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and Nissan’s Decherd, TN, plant will build Mercedes four-cylinder engines for Infiniti and Mercedes from 2014. Installed capacity is 250,000 units per annum, and the facility includes crankshaft forging and cylinder block casting operations. It will be a major source of supply and logistics for Mercedes’ Tuscaloosa, AL, plant. Zetsche confirmed that Mercedes is discussing what he refers to as “quite a number of other very promising” potential cooperations but says that it is essential not to get “too collaborated.”
Maintaining focus on product progress and identity sees Zetsche spending at least an hour every week in his company’s design studios: “I see every car from the first drawing to the final styling freeze—and I get involved.”
He is also pushing his R&D specialists (there are 15,600 in Mercedes alone; 23,200 in the Daimler Group) to follow his own and the Board’s vision of emissions- and accident-free driving, both of which represent high-level technology directions. Other technology priorities are the emerging markets’ needs, being green, and being "digitalized." The latter concerns a whole gamut of areas including mobility concepts, connectivity between customer and car, and car to car.
Autonomous driving he regards as not being a big deal technologically, but legal aspects are a concern: “You prevent 99 accidents happening, but one occurs when a vehicle is being driven autonomously and you may get into deep trouble with just that one. Our general philosophy is that we want to keep the driver in control; to build a safety net around the driver so that he or she does not pay for any wrong decisions. But that doesn’t say that, in stop-go traffic, a driver can’t read a book.”
What worries Zetsche, though, is the threat of hackers intervening with the operation of autonomous cars: “These are nasty scenarios. And you can also think about governments regulating whatever they want—speeds limits and even levels of acceleration. We don’t like this prospect. So we are not striving for an entirely autonomous car.”
An on-going technology issue is the fuel cell. Zetsche is a believer in it, and the new B-Class with a half-sandwich floor and energy storage area was designed to take the system or other electric solutions. “Technically, I think we’re there. We can now offer a car to a customer that is reliable and that has similar characteristics to a combustion engine vehicle—and that can be enjoyed. Cost wise, though, we are not there. But I believe in 3-5 years, fuel-cell cars will be in showrooms to be bought.”
Meanwhile, improvements in combustion-engine design are very much in the frame, including some technology that has been seen in the concept DiesOtto engine—notably variable compression ratios. The engine demonstrates the convergence of diesel and gasoline technologies.
The various curves of diesel and gasoline performance are closing or crossing. Emissions legislation is now making diesel engines very expensive items, said Zetsche. The minimum number of cylinders is likely to be four.
As boss of one of the most technology-led auto companies in the world, Zetsche’s response to the question of the importance of an engineer running it is again blunt and brief: “It’s not a must—but neither can it hurt!”

Lightweight sandwich structures for EV chassis

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This replacement chassis structure for a Porsche 356 Speedster uses lightweight Inrekor sandwich panels.
Designers of today’s electric vehicles (EVs) know that every kilogram that they can shave from a vehicle’s overall mass gets them about 3 km (1.8 mi) in additional driving range per charge. Given that no one expects that battery technology will lighten up anytime soon, it’s little wonder that EV makers are searching for new lightweighting technologies.
One promising weight-savings approach uses as its fundamental structure polymer foam-core/metal-skin sandwich members developed by a Dorset, U.K.-based product-design firm, Inrekor, in collaboration with JSP Corp., the Tokyo-based global supplier of impact-absorbing car bumper materials. The cores of the high-strength, low-mass composite panels are made of JSP’s Arpro expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam.
The Inrekor sandwich components comprise the lightweight chassis of the QBEAK, an award-winning concept EV that was produced by EcoMove, a Danish design group. Without batteries, the prototype’s structure weighs only about 400 kg (880 lb), which is almost a third less mass than a conventional unit. If fitted with standard batteries, the boxy, minivan-like QBEAK would have a range of about 300 km (185 mi), almost double that of other EVs. The design also makes wide use of Arpro foam elsewhere in the vehicle, both inside and out.
Even though the small but roomy urban passenger car/delivery vehicle is only 3 m (10 ft) long, it can accommodate up to six passengers in certain configurations. The Horsens, Denmark-based firm, which aims to bring the QBEAK into mid-series production in early 2013, is considering several potential powertrains, including a hybrid battery/bio-methanol fuel-cell power plant.
EcoMove approached Inrekor to create a low-cost lightweighting solution for the QBEAK design several years ago, according to Stewart Morley, Technical Director for Inrekor. “Despite some negative associations with sandwich technologies that had crippled its usage in the past,” he said, “I was familiar with the successful use of high-performance honeycomb paneling in military applications, which led me to think a bit differently about how to apply it to an electric vehicle.”
The most obvious configuration, Morley continued, was “a metal skin over a polymer core, but we had to investigate a variety of different material combinations and different manufacturing methods before selecting one.” Inrekor’s engineering team eventually focused on JSP’s well-established Arpro EPP technology as the most effective choice for the core. Expanded polypropylene, he said, has several specific characteristics that are important to the performance of the sandwich technology, citing Arpro’s isotropic—omnidirectional—crush behavior as well as its easy, low-toxicity processing (molding), recyclability, and affordability as key.
“Arpro is a closed-cell EPP material that is resistant to chemicals, insulates both thermally and acoustically, and has a wide operational temperature range [+130 to -40°C],” said Bert Suffis, Development and Applications Sales Manager at JSP. In addition, it absorbs impact energy extremely well and can withstand multiple impacts. “You can compress Arpro to 4% of its original volume and it will recover to 98% of initial size,” he noted.
“For the QBEAK sandwich application, using tensile skins of aluminum hit the sweet spot in terms of weight and cost,” Morley said. “In this case, aluminum was the most achievable and deliverable choice.” He added that Inrekor can use other sheet materials as the outer panels, including other metals such as steel, fiber-reinforced polymers, and natural-fiber fabric panels including flax or hemp.
“We can also vary the panel thickness depending on the application,” he continued. “For example, we can make the bottom of the floor panel thicker to better resist external strike or even swap it out for a low-gauge stainless-steel skin.”
The Inrekor components used in the QBEAK’s chassis feature tensile skins of 1.0- to 1.2-mm (0.039- to 0.047-in) 5251A aluminum alloy sheet book-ending 20- to 30-mm (0.79- to 1.18-in) core thicknesses of 90-g/L Arpro. The panels are heat- and pressure-bonded to the thermoplastic foam cores and then welded or bolted together at interlocking tongue-and-groove joints. The skins and cores can also be glued together with epoxy-based adhesives. The strong joint configurations are designed to resist peeling and tearing.
Sample chassis built from Inrekor components have passed independent structural tests conducted by the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick as well as crash-testing at MIRA, an automotive consultancy company that is headquartered in Warwickshire.
As with other sandwich panels on the market, the Inrekor components can rather easily incorporate internal channels of air ducts, wires, and cables within the insulating foam cores. The thermal insulation capabilities of Inrekor are useful for helping to maintain the temperature of the sensitive battery packs as well.
Morley noted that Inrekor panels could also find widespread use in recreational vehicles to help meet European Union RV size/weight regulations and integral thermal insulation needs.

Honda's 2014 plug-in hybrid Accord has three drive modes

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The access door to the charging port at the left front fender and the aero wheels and covers are exterior cues to the 2014 Accord PHEV.
Hybrids are not something new for Honda, but the system in the forthcoming 2014 Accord plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is several giant steps from the type introduced in the 1999 Insight and merely upgraded since. It also includes some very different approaches from the plug-in Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, and Ford Fusion Energi.
The question of appropriate all-electric range for a PHEV is controversial. The Accord rating is 10-15 mi (16-24 km) vs. the Volt at about 35 mi (56 km), Prius at about 12 mi (19 km), and the Fusion Energi's reported 20 mi (32 km). Based on the size of the lithium-ion battery pack, 6.75 kW·h (vs. 5.2 kW·h for the Prius PHEV), the range estimate would seem to be conservative, although the Prius is smaller, lighter, and more aerodynamic than plug-ins and HEVs based on non-dedicated platforms. What apparently has set EV limits for PHEV newcomers is the high cost of lithium-ion batteries and the needs to keep the retail prices at more attractive levels and recharge times short.
Although the Accord PHEV will include a 120-V built-in charger and perform a full recharge in 3 h, a 240-V charge capability will be available and do a full recharge in under 1 h. The electric plug is an SAE J1772 compatible type.
The engine is one of the entries in Honda’s new Earth Dream series. It’s a 2.0-L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder (late intake valve closing) rated at 137 hp (102 kW). Unlike the 2.4-L in the non-hybrid, it doesn’t have direct fuel injection but does use an i-VTEC variable valve timing and lift system. The electric traction motor is rated at 124 kW, but with the engine the combination peak rating is 196 hp (146 kW) and 226 lb·ft (306 N·m).
As a 2014 model, the Accord PHEV will not go on sale until early next year. That Honda chose to lead with a plug-in is interesting, because a less-expensive hybrid-only is scheduled to arrive next summer. The PHEV, shown at a press introduction for the 2013 Accord sedan and coupe, was a pre-production model, and as a result, detailed specifications were not available.
Honda has said the Accord PHEV will top 100 mpg-e (equivalent), including a start with full charge, so the electric range is factored into the EPA window sticker numbers. AEI tested the PHEV on a brief drive with the EV range fully depleted and engine warmed up. So it was running as a pure hybrid and recorded 41.4 mpg on a 10-mi (16-km) drive. Although Honda has not released official hybrid-only figures, a Honda engineer informally told us that he would have expected we would have exceeded 50 mpg. Well, perhaps with a longer run, but that was the limit of the opportunity we were given.
The Honda hybrid power flow is unique, nothing like the acceleration assist-only system the company has used exclusively since the 1999 introduction of the Insight and later on other Honda models. The Accord PHEV has a two-motor design—one starter-generator and one traction motor within what forms an electric CVT (continuously variable transmission).
The system operates in one of three power flow modes: pure EV, hybrid, and direct drive from the engine—through a clutch into a helical gearset in the CVT-E and into the transaxle. A shaft-within-a-hollow-shaft system and an electromagnetic clutch are packaged within the CVT-E housing, Honda engineers said, but a cutaway or exploded version was not available for inspection. The direct drive from the engine is by engaging the electromagnetic clutch located between the engine (with starter-generator) and the traction motor.
An advantage of this system is that, in direct drive, at the cruising speeds that are beyond the hybrid operation, there are no energy conversion losses (from the gasoline engine used to produce electricity to power the traction motor) as in other two-motor hybrids. That is, the engine transfers power through the clutch and the gearset in the CVT-E into the transaxle.
The direct-drive mode from the engine is engaged by locking the clutch at the most efficient combination of road speed and load, so at higher road speeds in particular, the Accord PHEV should deliver better fuel economy than with a conventional hybrid system. The car reportedly will run in EV mode up to about 60 mph (96 km/h). A Honda engineer told AEI that the direct-drive clutch could lock in at as low as 45 mph (72 km/h) depending on load conditions.
There also are "sub-modes,” entered by pressing the control panel EV button. If just pushed quickly, it will switch from EV mode (if available) to hybrid. This would save battery energy for later EV operation or for future electric motor assist under high load. If held briefly, the button engages a power split to use the engine to recharge a range-depleted battery pack. This permits a driver heading for a mountainous area to restore the battery charge for performance assist.
The battery pack contains 100 prismatic-shape cells, supplied by a joint venture between Honda and GS Yuasa, a Japanese battery maker with worldwide distribution. The pack, behind the rear seat and just above the suspension, is cooled by a fan system that uses cabin air.
The underhood electronics center is cooled by a liquid system, with its own radiator in the left front (adjacent to the primary radiator) and an electric pump to maintain circulation. The car has an electronically controlled regenerative hydraulic braking system adapted from the Fit EV, which Honda claims improves regenerative efficiency 5%.
Although the hybrid system and battery pack add weight, the PHEV includes a lot more aluminum than the regular Accord: the front subframe, brake pedal, hood, rear bumper beam, and a specific 17-inch aluminum wheel. Additionally, the interior acoustic materials are a lightweight type, and the spare tire is replaced by a puncture repair kit.
The Accord PHEV is unlikely to match the Cd numbers of a dedicated hybrid like the Prius, but much was done, such as installing underbody covers (powertrain and cabin areas), a rear spoiler, and those specific 17-inch wheels, which come with aero wheel covers.
Although gasoline engine-only Accords sold in the U.S. are made in the company’s Marysville, OH, plant, the PHEV is an exception. It will be produced at a Honda plant in Sayama, Japan.

Hella banking on stop-start surge

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Hella expects sales for the company’s electronics division to exceed those of its lighting division within a year or two.
Hella will have on display at the SAE Convergence 2012 conference in Detroit Oct. 16-17 what it calls a new Enhanced Stop-Start Demonstrator featuring advanced hybrid vehicle technology solutions.
The company says stop-start is one among a new generation of Hella electronic system solutions to help vehicle manufacturers address increasingly rigorous fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas requirements.
The demonstrator constitutes something more than a 3-D simulator, a Hella spokesperson told AEI. It will provide a virtual technology experience and a real-world analysis of innovative electronic products for enhanced stop-start, vehicle coasting, and regenerative braking and creeping. The overall goal is to virtually address the challenges facing OEMs regarding the next steps for electronic solutions in advanced hybrid technologies.
Enhanced stop-start and coasting applications help boost fuel economy by up to 4 mpg, according to Hella. Stop-start technologies are enabled by turning the internal-combustion engine off when power for acceleration is not needed. While the engine is off, it is decoupled from the wheels via a clutch and no longer rotates, thereby reducing drag. The alternator does not deliver electrical power, but the vehicle remains in motion. The entire electrical system or dedicated loads must still be supported.
For a 12-V system, additional power is required to ensure the vehicle has a sustainable supply. Used to connect the energy-storage element to the power system is dc/dc power electronics. Energy storage and electronics can be integrated into a technology known as an “energy storage module.”
Regenerative braking harvests additional energy from the kinetic deceleration of the car by converting the braking energy into electrical energy via the alternator. This available energy can be used to reduce the fuel consumption by up to about 2.5 mpg, according to Hella. Up to 10 kW of alternator power is recommended for achieving this level of efficiency, which covers elevated power peaks during braking.
Corresponding voltage needs to be increased to sustain an appropriate power level. This involves a technology known as a dual low-voltage power system. This system offers a more attractive benefit-to-cost ratio compared to the current high-voltage solutions for hybrids.
In Europe, many OEMs are pursuing a 48-V system for this application. However, in the U.S. a variety of different voltage levels with diverse architectures are either in development or being considered. A high-power alternator can also be used as an electrical motor to power the vehicle at low speeds, during traffic conditions (i.e., creeping), etc., without the use of the engine for power.
Hella has expertise in the development of adaptive and modular solutions for energy management. Its components provide a flexible dc/dc converter platform in combination with a variety of energy-storage technologies, from lead-acid batteries and double-layer capacitors to lithium-ion battery cells.
The company claims it is one of the market leaders in intelligent battery management. Its core competency in electronics is energy storage management and high-powered dc/dc converters for dual low-voltage power systems.
The stop-start demonstrator to be highlighted at Convergence virtually displays all the performance benefits of Hella technologies under different driving scenarios. Each “test ride” will generate an analysis of the company’s latest energy management product benefits based on individual driving behavior.
Martin Fischer, head of Hella’s electronics division in the America’s, said at a press briefing in April that sales for the company’s electronics division will exceed those of its lighting division within a year or two.

Hero MotoCorp Partners With Italian Engines Engineering

India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp has tied up with Italian auto company Engines Engineering to build future products.
Engines Engineering is an end-to-end motorcycle design company with expertise on conception, designing, styling, on line assembly, industrialization and marketing. Engines Engineering would impart the technological information for Hero MotoCorp’s future products.
According to the signals given by the Indian major, the alliance is targeted to be a long termer benefitting both the organizations in the times to come.
Earlier, Hero MotoCorp has also partnered with US based Erik Buell Racing which would help the company to build better higher end motorcycles in India.
Honda is slowly graduating from more of a marketer of Hero Honda badged products to a full-fledged auto stalwart. Partnerships with these renowned players is a definite step in the right direction.
However, it remains to be seen how would the mass crowd accept this change!

Yamaha India Forecast and Plans for Future

The launch of Ray – Yamaha’s first scooter for India has given the company a promising future and the Japanese giant plans to take the company forward in the years to come. India has always been a potential market for Yamaha and the sub–continent has never ditched the company’s growth at any point of time.Yamaha expects the year 2014 to be very promising in terms of its development for the reason that it plans to sell 1 Million units by then. In order to attain this figure, Yamaha plans to roll out more models and at the same time increase its production capacity.
During the launch of Yamaha’s first scooter Ray, Hiroyuki Yanagi, President & CEO, Yamaha Motor Company Ltd, said, “For Global Yamaha Motor group, India Yamaha Motor holds great importance as a strategic production and sales base.”
Yamaha also has future plans of converting India into its export hub to other markets in Asia and outside as well. “By 2018, our total production capacity in India will reach 2.8 million units. At that point, India will play an extremely important role among Yamaha group, not just in supplying to the Indian market but also in exporting to other markets. We will aggressively transfer technology to accelerate the two-wheeler industry,” he said.
The setting up of the new plant in Chennai is in fact a well planned layout to attain the above mentioned figures in terms of its sales volumes. This plant will be commissioned by 2014 and will aid the company in boosting the production and ramping up volumes. “We are planning to expand our sales to two million units in 2016 and 2.8 million units in 2018,” he then added. Currently, IYM (India Yamaha Motors) operates from its state – of – the – art manufacturing facilities located at Surajpur in Uttar Pradesh & Faridabad in Haryana and produces motorcycles both for domestic & export markets as well.
The Ray, according to the company would help Yamaha gain a whooping 20 per cent market share specifically in the scooter segment, but in the year 2016. Though the sales volume for bikes has seen a dip in the last month or two, the scooter segment has expressed consistent growth.
At the launch event of the Ray, Mr. Hiroyuki Suzuki, CEO & MD, India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd. said, “I am positive that we can get a strong presence soon in the Indian scooter market.  Our dealers in India are dedicated to improving their facilities and services for the scooter sales.  We have expanded our dealer network and specially improved customer care quality for female customers by appointing more female staffs at customer contact points and introducing female customer care programs.”
“Secondly, we made an announcement to build a new factory in Chennai. We are planning to start this new factory from 2014 January. With this production capacity expansion, we are targeting to achieve 1 million units sales in 2014. We will expand our total production capacity further in the long term. We are planning to expand our sales to 2 million units in 2016 and 2.8 million units in 2018”, he added.
There’s yet another special feature about the Ray that deserves to be mentioned here. We all are pretty much aware that the Ray is targeted mainly on women and the working class to be even more specific. For the first time in India, Yamaha has designed an exclusive assembly line for the Ray that will be run by women as part of the production team. Well, we should really call it ‘Women manufacturing for women.’ That’s something really nice to hear and to think about as well. The company has also developed a riding training program for female customers. The riding training program is named as Yamaha Female Riding Training program and will be implemented across India.
The Indian motorcycle market has a current annual demand of approximately 13 million units (Yamaha Motor survey, 2011 results) and, with factors like continuous strong consumer spending and population growth, this demand is expected to surpass China’s within 2012 to make India the world’s largest motorcycle market.
Within this market, the scooter category, which accounted for about 11% of total demand at approximately 900,000 units in 2006, has grown rapidly over the last five years to reach about 18% of total demand at roughly 2.4 million units in 2011.
Will Yamaha manage to rock the scooter market? What are the models that the company is planning to launch in the years to come? Any chances of bringing a 250cc bike into the market? Well, even we do not have instant answers; let’s wait for the time to answer. Well, Yamaha to answer!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Upcoming 806cc Superbike: Kawasaki Z800

Kawasaki has confirmed that they will launch Z800 in the European market. The new Z800 will have 806cc engine with fresh design and styling. It is expected that the company will showcase this motorcycle at EICMA 2012 in Milan during 15th November to 18th November, 2012.  Here are the latest official images of Z800.

 Upcoming Superbike in 2013: Z800

Z800 Kawasaki
Z800 superbike

Z800 Specifications and Price

Not much details about the price and exact specifications of Z800 are available right now, we will update this space as soon as we get more information on it.

TVS Motors to Unveil New Products Every Quarter Beginning with Phoenix

Country’s fourth largest two wheeler company, TVS Motors is all set to launch its 125cc motorcycle Phoenix.  We do not have an official date, however it is expected to launch on 28th September.
TVS 2012 Plan for India
At the 20th AGM (Annual General Meeting), Venu Srinivsan, Chairman of TVS Motors Company announced that the company will launch several new two wheeler models to consolidate its position in the Indian market. The company will launch a new product every quarter for the next 15 months. The first launch would be the 125cc motorcycle Phoenix which is expected to hit roads by the end of this month. He also added that the company will focus on reducing cost by simplifying platforms. The company will bring down two or three platforms from multiple platforms.
TVS Phoenix will compete with existing 125cc motorcycle likes Bajaj Discover 125 and Honda CB Shine

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Safety first at S-E-A

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A recreational off-highway vehicle roll-over setup is being utilized as part of contract testing with leading manufacturers as well as part of an ongoing effort to support a regulatory investigation into this product market.
Vehicle safety and crash worthiness tests are vital to regulatory bodies around the world and subsequently the automotive and commercial vehicle industries. New vehicle designs and restraints are continually under development, and each new commercial product needs to be evaluated with respect to standards, regulations, or claimed occurrences.
After decades of scientific endeavor, transportation safety testing has evolved to become an indispensable component in the occupant protection process. Despite these years of evolution, all safety tests and specifically roll-over testing have inherent issues that diminish its practicality and usefulness.
Most methods of roll-over testing result in a destroyed or severely disabled vehicle. This type of destructive evaluation can get extremely expensive, especially when multiple runs are required. Any additional equipment attached to a test vehicle (cameras, Anthropomorphic Test Devices, etc.) is also at risk of needing repair or replacement upon completion of a single run. Outriggers are sometimes affixed to the sides of a vehicle to prevent a complete roll-over, but these types of tests rarely show the full picture.
Time is also a limiting factor. Many hours are devoted to preparing a vehicle to be tested, cleaning up the resulting mess, and readying the next run. Most roll-over tests are performed outdoors so hours of daylight and risk of inclement weather substantially decrease the number of tests that can be executed in one day.
Finally, any fair scientific experiment must be repeatable. Repeatability, even with provided specific input parameters, is unlikely under the current methods of evaluation. Human factors, road conditions, and slight differences between vehicles are all variables that can be responsible for needlessly shifting data points.
A void exists for a facility that can evaluate occupant restraint performance in a roll-over event in a quick, accurate, repeatable, and controllable manner without causing damage to the vehicles being tested. S-E-A’s Vehicle Dynamics Group and Biomechanics Group have created a device to fill this need.
The S-E-A Roll Simulator is an indoor facility that enables the precise control of both linear and rotational motion along a fixed linear track. Vehicles, occupant compartments, or other commercial products can be mounted in almost any orientation on the Roll Simulator test platform.
Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATD) are then instrumented with sensors throughout their bodies and are placed within the occupant or operator’s space and secured with the occupant restraints being evaluated. An acceleration profile is prescribed—derived through accident reconstruction, computer simulation, or autonomous vehicle testing—and then executed through in-house developed software and control systems.
Simultaneously, the desired roll motion can be entered and executed through a parallel software and control system, also developed by S-E-A. Documenting the entire test are a combination of high-speed video cameras, a motion capture system, vehicle and test platform onboard sensors, and ATD sensors.
An impact attenuation surface preserves the vehicle being evaluated as well as the ATD, thus allowing the operators to continue using the same equipment during subsequent runs. This also limits the variability and time between tests.
Typical methods of vehicle roll-over testing generally permit only a few runs on any given day and, more often than not, necessitate the use of multiple vehicles. The S-E-A Roll Simulator can perform and evaluate many times that number of tests given the same span of time.
Through a careful and dedicated design process, S-E-A’s engineers were able to establish a unique delivery system that can be used for a multitude of vehicles and a variety of simulated events not currently able to be performed with control, accuracy, and repeatability. Two current Roll Simulator setups demonstrate the utility and robustness of this system.
A recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV) roll-over setup is being utilized as part of contract testing with leading manufacturers as well as part of an ongoing effort to support a regulatory investigation into this product market. The ROV roll-over system simulates both untripped and tripped real-world 90° rollovers using the actual ROVs on the Roll Simulator. Multiple days of parametric tests have been completed, collecting data to allow evaluation of occupant kinematics with respect to current as well as alternative occupant restraint designs.
Another setup involves a low roll angle application for common material handling equipment with protocols being developed with a leading material handling equipment manufacturer. This setup provides the initial roll dynamics for such equipment and allows the researchers to evaluate operator responses and operator compartment design in a safe, repeatable, and scientifically valid manner.
S-E-A is currently using the capabilities of the Roll Simulator to evaluate occupant response and protection in a variety of products for development, regulatory compliance, and litigative matters. They will continue to utilize the Roll Simulator for ROV testing while adding additional test protocols to this setup based on real-world events and full scale testing. Development is an ongoing process as S-E-A identifies the material handling equipment low roll angle test protocols along with new test setups.
Looking toward the future, some of the additional setups their engineers are currently evaluating include passenger vehicle minor impacts, passenger vehicle bumper impact performance, lawn equipment roll-overs, agricultural equipment roll-overs, and construction equipment roll-overs.
The use of this technology to evaluate occupant protection and occupant restraint performance is part of an ongoing effort to mitigate the risk to S-E-A’s clients. The Roll Simulator’s availability to S-E-A investigators and scientific experts supports efforts to reveal the cause and enhances the current capabilities both at S-E-A and industry-wide.
This article was written for SAE Off-Highway Engineering by Doug Morr, Senior Project Engineer, S-E-A

Case gets rough with its forklifts

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The new Case 586H and 588H rough terrain forklifts offer enhanced fuel economy and productivity along with "industry-leading" lift speed and dependable, high-performance lift capacities.
Case Construction Equipment's new 586H and 588H forklifts are powered by Tier 4 Interim diesels that use cooled exhaust gas recirculation (CEGR) technology and a diesel particulate filter. Both forklikfts use turbocharged engines rated at 78 net hp (58 kW) that deliver a minimum 5% increase in fuel efficiency and faster response times than previous models, while meeting current emissions standards.
Designed to operate in a variety of terrains, the forklifts feature optional four-wheel drive, standard differential lock, 60° of mast tilt, and optional load control to safeguard loads at travels speeds up to 24 mph (39 km/h). For operations in confined areas, both models feature a narrow, zero-tail swing design as well as an industry standard ITA Class 3 carriage and forks, allowing a wide range of aftermarket attachments.
With a standard 15-ft mast, the 586H forklift has a minimum operating weight of 13,228 lb (6000 kg), lift capacity of 6000 lb (2722 kg), and lift speed of 107 ft/min (0.55 m/sec). The 588H features a minimum operating weight of 15,639 lb (7094 kg), lift capacity of 8000 lb (3628 kg), and lift speed of 106 ft/min (0.54 m/sec). Both models are available with 22-ft (6.7-m) masts.
H Series forklifts offer many of the same powertrain components that are standard on the company’s industry-leading N Series loader/backhoes, including the engines and axles. Unlike the loader/backhoes, the H Series forklifts feature hydraulically actuated, wet disc brakes that do not include a power-assist capability.
“Brakes on the H Series machines provide greater operator control in the applications where rough terrain forklifts are used,” said Katie Pullen, Case Brand Marketing Manager. “Customers that operated prototype units of the new H Series forklifts told us the traditional brakes gave them a better feel for inching forward while lifting and placing loads, compared with the performance of power-assist brakes.”
The forklifts are equipped with what Case describes as a deluxe suspension seat and a spacious operating platform, keeping operators comfortable and productive on the job. Controls are easy to use, helping both experienced and novice operators move more materials.
Tapered rear hood and wide-channel dual-mast cylinders result in improved visibility for the operator. The narrow operating console increases front visibility.
Case claims the H Series forklifts help contractors maximize uptime by simplifying daily maintenance. No-tool swing-out access doors, vertical spin-on filters, and grouped, ground-level service checks streamline engine access and routine maintenance.
The outboard wet disc brake design on the forklifts enables technicians to service the brakes by removing only the outer components that are easy to access, such as the tires and rims, eliminating the need to drop the axles. This arrangement drastically decreases the time required to service the brakes. Also, the larger brake surface helps extend brake life and reduce the frequency of brake repairs.
The roller mast design, by minimizing the possibility of debris accumulation, ensures smoother lifting, longer component life, and reduced maintenance costs.

Composite structures pose EMI challenges

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Bombardier Core Electromagnetic Engineering has conducted a lightning indirect effect measurements campaign on different cylindrical barrels simulating all-metal and all-composite fuselages. Coaxial line return method on composite barrel setup (shown) for lightning indirect effects.
In the past 10 years, the all-composite commercial aircraft has become a reality, and the need for the aircraft designer to consider electromagnetic threats has also grown. Aircraft systems are now designed with miniaturized electronic components, which make them more sensitive to electromagnetic interference (EMI).
Composite materials—polymer matrix composites (PMCs)—are characterized by their low conductivity that greatly reduces the shielding effectiveness of the aircraft structure and consequently the protection of systems against HIRF (high intensity radiated fields), and mainly against lightning indirect effects. Due to the low conductivity, lightning current—which is focused in the low frequency spectrum—will not decay through the composite skin material as quickly as it does in all-metal skin. Aircraft skin is not thick enough, compared to the skin effect for this low frequency spectrum, to reduce substantially the current through a composite structure. Therefore, the diffusion effect of lightning current in composite aircraft structures will be substantially higher than all-metal aircraft, so there will be the developed voltages in systems.
On all-metal aircraft, systems are bonded on the aircraft structure that provides a ground plane. On a composite aircraft, this can only be achieved through a grounding network. The grounding network impedance is mainly driven by its inductance on composite aircraft but also by its resistance, while with an all-metal aircraft the ground plane can be considered purely resistive.
As a consequence, the mutual inductance between the grounding network and the cable shield for a cable with 360° shield termination, or the mutual inductance between the grounding network with the pigtails in addition to the mutual inductance between the grounding network and the core of the cable for a cable with shield terminated with pigtails, will completely change the coupling mechanism of the current induced by the electromagnetic threat on the shield with the core of the cable and lead to a higher induced voltage at the system level in composite aircraft vs. all-metal aircraft, mainly for common mode systems. On a metallic aircraft, the same level of threat coupling to the cable shield will induce a lower voltage at the system level.
Current standards for equipment qualification (RTCA DO 160 or equivalent) still require testing systems for their qualification on a metallic bench test. Unfortunately, those ones are only resistive and will underestimate the induced voltage at the system input level and will not lead to the same test results as when using a grounding network on a composite structure. Consequently, there is an urgent need to improve the qualification standard requirement for them to match with the new reality of composite aircraft.
In the scope of a composite demonstrator project, Bombardier Core Electromagnetic Engineering has conducted a lightning indirect effect measurements campaign on different cylindrical barrels simulating all-metal and all-composite fuselages. The coaxial line return concept used for those tests at an Electronics Test Center (ETC) laboratory (an MPB Technologies company) in Ontario, Canada, develops an equal current density at all points around the barrel circumference since the magnetic field lines produced by the current propagating through the cylinder are made of concentric circles distributed all along the cylindrical barrel.
WF1 and WF5A current waveforms were generated on the different barrels, with the goal being to assess the excitation of different cables within those different barrels for the same current amplitude representative of the same lightning current waveform and to measure the induced voltages at the load level in dummy boxes that simulate equipment.
An aluminum barrel and a composite barrel were submitted to 4.68 KAmps WF5A. A 2-m coaxial cable interconnecting dummy boxes with 50 ohms load was excited with a maximum current of 9.4 A peak to peak in the composite barrel, while in the aluminum barrel the same coaxial was excited with only 384 mA pp. The results showed that the current induced on the coaxial cable in those two equivalent environments that differ by the skin structure is 24.5 times more in the composite structure than in the aluminum one.
The composite aircraft skin will not be thick enough, mainly in the frequency lower spectrum, to attenuate the lightning-induced current through the structure in the same magnitude as an all-metal aircraft. Due to structural skin electrical characteristics—thickness, conductivity, and permeability—lightning current will take some time to enter the structure by diffusion and develop voltages through systems.
With the same thickness for the two comparative structures, the penetration time constant for the aluminum barrel is greater than the one for the composite one. The effect is that the lightning current will stay on the aluminum structure longer and dissipate; this will also allow for a high dissipation of heat. The composite barrel lightning current will stay only for a short time on top of the structure and will not dissipate too much. Consequently, the current developed inside the composite barrel will be higher, and adequate remedies will be required to protect systems.
Following the excitation of the coaxial cable running close to a metallic ground plane inside an aluminum barrel, and the same test on a composite barrel with the same coaxial cable running at the same height above a Signal Return Network (or a Grounding Network) that was installed on the composite structure, the induced voltage was measured at the load level. That induced voltage measured at the 50-ohm load level in the interconnected dummy boxes was found to be 142 mV pp in the metallic barrel and 290 mV pp in the composite one. This result shows that the common mode system appears to be two times more susceptible inside the composite barrel compared to the aluminum barrel.
Moreover, the results highlight that for the same cable interconnecting the same common mode system, the induced voltages at the load level are not proportional to the threat inside a composite barrel compared to an aluminum barrel. In fact, 24 times more current measured on the coaxial cable in the composite barrel (compared to the current observed on the same cable in the aluminum barrel) for the same external threat does not equate to 24 times induced voltage but only two times more in the scope of this test. The explanation is through the coupling mechanism between the grounding network and the coaxial cable.
Currently, RTCA DO-160 and equivalent test standards provide guidance to test and qualify systems for any aircraft (metal or composite) with a metallic ground plane. Following these tests and analysis, it clearly appears that the use of metallic ground plane should not be recommended for the qualification of composite aircraft systems, mainly common mode ones. In fact, testing systems for composite aircraft with metallic ground plane may underestimate the induced voltage at the system input level and cannot meet the required composite aircraft system qualification threat.
More information on this technical paper can be found at
This article is based on SAE technical paper 2011-01-2513 by Dr. Fidèle Moupfouma, Chief Aircraft Electromagnetic Hazards Protection Engineer, Bombardier Aerospace Core Engineering