Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Leaked pictures of the New 2014 Range Rover Sport

These are the two official pictures of the New 2014 Range Rover Sport that appeared on a German-language blog Autofilou 

Are these really the First Official Photos of the New 2014 Range Rover Sport?

Mercedes' 2014 CLA is the new low-Cd king

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How the Cd value of the Mercedes-Benz CLA was trimmed.
In the complex and demanding world of production-vehicle aerodynamics, breaking through the 0.25 Cd (coefficient of drag) level might be compared to the challenge once faced by aircraft designers struggling to make the supersonic breakthrough.
But whereas Chuck Yeager rocketed past Mach 1.0 in 1947, with several jet fighter types following suit soon after, the down-to-earth “0.25” barrier has taken rather longer to breach convincingly. Since 1995, the club of production vehicles that have attained 0.25 Cd or better has been small indeed. They include the GM EV-1 (0.195 Cd), the 1999 Honda Insight, 2001 Audi A2, and 2010 Toyota Prius (all 0.25 Cd), and the 2013 Tesla Model S (0.24 Cd).
But now Mercedes-Benz has achieved a 0.22 Cd (Cd x A, 0.49 m²) with the base version of its new CLA four-door, five-seat coupe. The 1.6-L CLA180 BlueEfficiency Edition incorporates narrower tires (width of 195 mm/7.7 in) on 15-in wheels with aerodynamic covers, and lower ride height. Mercedes rather boldly claims it as the most aerodynamic (production) car in the world, immediately after Volkswagen declared much the same for its extraordinarily advanced, unconventional hybrid XL1 (see The difference, however, is that Mercedes’ claim concerns a car that is on sale and will be built in relatively high volume, while the XL1 has yet to be given a price tag and will be built initially at two per week. 

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Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Edition 1. Based on the A-Class platform and powertrain, the new CLA four-door coupe is slightly longer, providing an added aerodynamic bonus.
Both cars, though, are fine design and aerodynamic engineering achievements. In fact, Mercedes’ BlueEfficiency version of the B-Class is already claiming a 0.24 Cd, but the leap to 0.22 is a signal advance. For a regular version of the CLA, the figure is still a very impressive 0.23 Cd (Cd x A, 0.51 m2). Until only a few years ago, the general feeling among the automotive design and engineering fraternity was that below 0.25 Cd, vehicles were likely to look “odd” and probably lack multi-role capability. But an amalgam of the application of advanced CFD and extraordinary attention to the finer points of design detail herald a new dynamic. 

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The underlying picture of drag reduction on the Mercedes-Benz CLA.
 Does this mean still lower figures from practical, conventional vehicles? Norbert Fecker, who headed the aerodynamics program for the CLA, said: “We have to try. It is all about working in details—lots and lots of details!”
But it is likely to take a huge effort. Fecker says the program to drive down the CLA’s Cd figure was more intense than for any previous Mercedes, with engineers and aerodynamicists developing the car very closely with designers. 

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Designers and engineers worked very closely together to analyze every detail of the new Mercedes-Benz CLA for optimum aerodynamic efficiency.

 “All details of the car’s design were considered,” he said. “To get the Cd value down we looked at saving thousandths—0.001, 0.002, or 0.003—which combined to make a big difference.”
It was not just the application of one component or solution but continuous refinements such as a slightly higher trunk lid, a change of offset (from the concept car) between rear deck and shoulders.
Designer Mark Fetherston said of the teamwork between designers, aerodynamicists, and engineers: “We worked together on every single exterior aspect of the car. We did a quarter-scale clay and then a full scale that went straight into the wind tunnel. Work there also included changes to the rear spoiler and the position of the wheels in their arches. In terms of form, taking it to the wind tunnel was not a difficult job, and we did not lose our original design.” 

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A high trunk deck and semi-Kamm-type tail helped Mercedes-Benz achieve a best 0.22 Cd figure for the new CLA.
Fetherston made the point that some aerodynamic tweaks that work for one design may not for another. “It is about individual consideration, and then integration into the whole design,” he said.
Although the CLA is the latest version of the new-generation hatchback A-Class and has the same platform and powertrains, it shares no body panels with its sibling, with the exception of its panoramic roof. The angle between the hood and the low-shouldered A-pillars also is the same.
Mercedes’ aeroacoustic wind tunnel at Sindelfingen, Stuttgart, has a 265-km/h (165-mph) capability both with regard to airflow (it has a 9-m/29.5-ft fan) and to its multi-belt system for a car’s road wheels to simulate real-world, on-road conditions.
Design refinements proven in the tunnel included adjustable radiator shutters and rear lamp lens fins. The raised trunk lid creates a partial Kamm-type tail. A diffuser is fitted below the rear bumper, and the car’s underbody is enclosed, including the middle section of the rear axle. The muffler also received aerodynamic attention.
The A- and B-Class vehicles already use serrated spoilers on front and rear wheelarches to reduce linear turbulence, deflect airflow from the wheels, and stabilize shear layer. The CLA gets something similar but with further detailed refinements.
Fecker explained that a coupe-type bodyshell provides an optimum shape for a practical car because it allows the rear quarters to taper more markedly. A little extra length (30 cm/11.8 in) over the A-Class hatch also helped.
The ecological result of sharply focused aerodynamic work is demonstrated clearly, said Fecker, with an improvement of Cd by a factor of 0.04 cutting fuel consumption of a car cruising on an autobahn at 130 km/h (81 mph) by 0.5 L/100 km, which equates to approximately 13 g/km of CO2.
“Engineers would need to find a weight saving of 35 kg in the chassis structure to manage a similar drop in CO2 emissions,” according to Mercedes.
The production CLA follows on the reveal of the Concept Style Coupe at the Beijing Motor Show in 2012, and also has strong design cue links to the larger, highly individualistic CLS four-door coupe, unveiled 10 years ago before entering production in 2004. The second-generation CLS was launched as a MY2011 model.
The CLA is being offered with a range of diesel and gasoline engines; the high-performance CLA 45 AMG is the range topper. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive 4MATIC will be available, the AMG having it as standard.
The CLA is available with two suspension setups—comfort and sport—the latter allowing the car to sit 20 mm (0.8 in) lower at the front and 15 mm (0.6 in) lower at the rear.
The new car is being built at Mercedes’ new facility at KecskemĂ©t, Hungary. Production started in January.

Porsche, Shelby show their high-performance approaches

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The Porsche GT-3 exterior includes lipped spoilers for increased downforce. 

Porsche and Shelby approach ultra-high performance engineering from seemingly opposite directions, and at the 2013 New York International Auto Show each introduced 50th anniversary examples. For Porsche, it was the 50th for the iconic 911, and the showing of its fifth generation GT-3 variant. Shelby marked its 50th year at the NYIAS with an up-to-1200 hp (895 kW) edition of the Shelby GT500 Mustang-derivative called the Shelby 1000. Both are race cars that can be street-legal.
"Conventional wisdom" is that Porsche is all about sophistication and Shelby all about "American muscle." Perhaps to an extent, but the Porsche isn't a weakling and the new Shelby reflects considerably engineering expertise. 

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Porsche GT-3 interior shows floor shift of modified dual clutch PDK transmission. When pulled back, paddle shifters forward of wheel shift PDK into neutral.

New boxer engine for GT-3

The GT-3, which goes on sale in November, has an all-new 3.8-L horizontally opposed "boxer" six-cylinder engine rated at "just" 475 hp (354 kW), but curb mass is only 3153 lb (1430 kg). The previous generation was rated at 435 hp (324 kW), although an available RS version delivered 450 hp (336 kW). The new GT-3 is based on the 911 Carrera, with an aluminum chassis and an aluminum-and-steel body but with specific front and rear parts not focused on "styling" cues. The GT-3 is built on a 96.7-in (2456-mm) wheelbase and is 178.9 in (4544 mm) long.
Its coefficient of drag is an unimpressive-sounding 0.33 and actually is higher than the previous generation GT-3's 0.32. That doesn't seem like progress, but a light car with all that power needs a lot of downforce, and Porsche engineering had to make choices for needed balance.
The new model, which incorporates front and rear spoilers, develops 260 lb (118 kg) of downforce at 300 km/h (186 mph), a 15% increase.  And the proof of the design is its performance. The car goes 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) in 3.3 s vs. the previous 4.0 s. Top speed is 195 mph (314 km/h), achieved in this version in 7th gear (a 0.84:1 overdrive ratio) of the newly adopted PDK dual clutch transmission; that compares with 194 mph (312 kph) in 6th for the previous GT-3's manual.
The GT-3 is about more than acceleration and top speed; Porsche engineers focused on the driving experience. It has, for example, four-wheel steering and a unique algorithm for full-throttle burnouts. And it's certainly a high-revving experience: 9000 rpm redline vs. 8400 rpm on the previous GT-3.
The 3.8-L engine uses Porsche's new direct-injection design. The fuel system is fed by two high-pressure pumps with peak pressure of 2900 psi (20 MPa)—vs. one pump for the standard 911. Injectors are a six-hole design for increased flow and finer fuel atomization vs. the previous swirl type.
The new 3.8-L engine internal parts are lighter than in the previous, long-used "Metzger" design, saving 25 kg (55 lb) in overall engine weight; this is noteworthy because the Metzger already had forged titanium rods and forged aluminum pistons. The valvetrain uses rocker arms and hydraulic lifters—vs. direct-acting buckets—because rockers have lower moving masses for high engine rpm and provide large contact areas with the cam lobes. The dry-sump system's oil pump is an on-demand type and has seven oil pickup points, an increase of two. Compression ratio is 12.9:1 vs. 12.0:1 for the Metzger.

Electrorheological mounts

GT-3 engine mounts are filled with liquid and ferrous metallic powder, and they are electrorheologically regulated by an electronic module based on inputs from handling-related sensors, so they're soft in everyday driving. During performance driving, the module energizes electromagnetic fields in the mounts, causing the powder particles to agglomerate, "thickening" the liquid and stiffening the mounts.
The 911's PDK is specifically modified for the new GT-3. If the driver pulls back on both short-travel shift paddles, the gearbox shifts into neutral. New software reduces manual shift speeds to under 100 ms, so if the driver floors the gas pedal and releases the paddles, the car produces a smoky burnout. The rear axle is a fully variable locking type, but under extreme conditions the GT-3 can add selective use of wheel brakes for better stability control.
The rear suspension has an electromechanical actuator at each wheel, each with a range of up to 1.5 degrees. At speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h), rear wheels steer opposite to the fronts. Over 50 mph (80 km/h), they move from straight ahead to steer in the same direction as the fronts, improving high speed stability.

Shelby 5.4-L V8 bored out to 5.8-L 

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Under hood look at Shelby 1000 supercharged engine.
The Shelby 1000, based on the Ford-built Shelby GT500, provides maximum-power bragging rights, with Bugatti Veyron rivaling numbers at a fraction of the $1.3 million price for that VW Group supercar. It has a version of the Ford supercharged modular V8, enlarged for 2013 from 5.4 to 5.8 L by a bore increase from 90.2 to 93.5 mm (3.55 to 3.68 in)—made possible because the engine has Ford-patented sprayed-in liners. As supplied by Ford, the Mustang variant is rated at 662 hp (494 kW) and has a claimed top speed of over 200 mph (322 km/h).
Ford's SVT group put considerable engineering time into the GT500, of course. However, Shelby American's Gary Patterson, Vice President of Operations, describes the GT500 as "the starting point" for the 1000, which can be considered the continuous improvement version of the 850-hp (634-kW) Shelby-built predecessor.
Engine output ranges from 950-1000 hp (708-746 kW) on premium pump gasoline and is 50-state emissions compliant. Remove the catalytic converters, raise supercharger boost pressure from 19 psi (131 kPa) to 23 psi (159 kPa), and use racing fuel, and the track version output climbs to 1200 hp (895 kW), Patterson said.
Aftermarket performance parts
The 1000 incorporates many parts produced to Shelby specs by leading American performance aftermarket companies.
The Shelby-spec supercharger is a 4.0-L unit—Kenne Bell and Whipple are Shelby supercharger suppliers—with a three-row intercooler. Most engine internal parts also are Shelby-spec, including the camshafts, rods, pistons and rings, bearings, oil pump, valve springs and titanium retainers, and balance shaft assembly. Shelby ports the cylinder heads and specs the main bearing studs, head bolts, water pump and heavy-duty cooling package, twin clutch, and flywheel. There is no grille as such, so the opening supplies increased cooling airflow.
The fuel system is a Shelby 1000 package including the injectors.
The Ford-supplied transmission is a heavy-duty Tremec 6060 six-speed linked to an MGW short-throw shifter. The driveshaft is a Shelby aluminum design.
The GT500 has been strengthened to handle the additional power. Suspension is a Shelby upgrade, including a billet aluminum Watts link in the rear. The unit body is welded to ladder-type longitudinal frame rails (front and rear sections on each side). Brakes include Wilwood forged aluminum calipers (six-piston fronts, four-piston rears). The exhaust system is from Borla, both the headers and cat-back exhaust. 

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Shelby 1000 has grille opening but no grille for maximum airflow.

Subaru introduces a different kind of hybrid

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Hybrid version of Subaru XV Crosstrek has specific badging and is available in Plasma Green Pearl exterior paint.
Subaru may now have ties to Toyota, but when it came to its first hybrid—introduced at the 2013 New York International Auto Show—it showed its usual independent streak. The gasoline-electric hybrid system, built into the XV Crosstrek, is definitely a bit different; although taking a cue from Toyota, it uses a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack (NiMH) rather than lithium-ion. The vehicle will go on sale in November.
The configuration is unique and the system capacity is modest, but it does provide a full range of hybrid operating functions, including some electric vehicle (EV) operation, idle stop-start, acceleration assist, and regenerative braking. The conventional XV Crosstrek is U.S. EPA-rated at 25/33/28 city/highway/combined mpg. The hybrid would improve the combined number by about 11%, Subaru said, delivering 28/34/31 mpg.

Motor built into CVT

The key operating components of the hybrid system are a 10-kW electric motor built into the back of a modified version of Subaru's Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), a belt alternator-starter (BAS) assembly on the right front of the 2.0-L four-cylinder Boxer engine, and active grille shutters.
The 0.6-kWh, 100-V NiMH pack is in a reworked rear cargo area, using space formerly occupied by the spare tire, which is replaced by a small inflator kit. Loss of cargo area capacity is minimal. With rear seatbacks up, the drop is from 22.3 to 21.5 ft³ (630 to 610 L); with the rear seatbacks folded down, the drop is from 51.9 to 50.2 ft³ (1470 to 1420 L).
Total mass of the system is just 209 lb (95 kg), including the Sanyo-supplied battery pack—itself 25 kg (55 lb)—and all other specific parts, and the chassis changes to support the additional componentry.
The motor is in the back of the CVT, and ahead of the power transfer clutch of the AWD system, so engaging the clutch with the engine off permits the motor to move the car in a brief EV mode. It can go up to about 1 mi (1.6 km) at a speed of up to about 25 mph (40 km/h), a Subaru engineer said, although road grade and throttle application (which would have to be very light) set the precise EV limits in any individual situation. Once the XV Crosstrek is rolling, in a normal driving situation the BAS will restart the engine. This mode and hardware also support the idle stop-start system. Much of the hybrid function is for acceleration assist and regenerative braking.
The 2.0-L Boxer is the same as in the non-hybrid and is rated at 148 hp (110 kW). The base transmission is a five-speed manual that will not be available in a hybrid version.

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Underhood look at 2.0-L Boxer engine in the XV Crosstrek hybrid shows insulating panel covering belt-driven alternator starter system and A/C compressor.

Cost decision on A/C:

Unlike many hybrids, the XV Crosstrek will not include any provision for idle-stop air-conditioning such as with an electric compressor. It was a cost decision from standpoints of both the compressor itself and the size of the battery pack, which would have to be considerably larger, a Subaru engineer said.
An underhood look shows a conventional belt drive for the compressor. The blower motor will continue to operate with the engine in an idle-stop. However, during an idle-stop in high ambient temperatures—30-35°C (86-95°F)—either the engine will restart or remain running to provide A/C cooling, based on an algorithm. In normal operation, the HVAC electronics calculate cooling load, using humidity and temperature sensing, to operate the A/C while reducing engine power draw.
Several XV Crosstrek changes were developed for the hybrid, including a new gauge cluster and keyless start. Some chassis structural modifications were made to support the battery pack and other components, and more sound insulation was installed. Because of the changes in vehicle mass—300 lb (136 kg) heavier—and its distribution, ride and handling was retuned to compensate. Ground clearance for the XV Crosstrek hybrid is the same 8.7 in (220 mm) and the all-terrain functionality is maintained, Subaru said.
The exterior changes are just enough to differentiate the hybrid, including "Hybrid" badges on the front doors and tailgate and new aero-type aluminum wheels. A specific green exterior color is offered.

2014 Cadillac CTS stretches into D-segment

The 2014 CTS heralds Cadillac's new design language. Its left-front fender intake feeds the turbocharger. EU models will use pyrotechnic hoods for pedestrian protection. Roof-to-bodyside joints are laser welded for a precise and clean finish.
While the 2013 Cadillac ATS showed the potential of General Motors’ new lightweight Alpha rear-drive/AWD platform for creating strong, mass-efficient passenger cars, the 2014 CTS sedan proves Alpha has plenty of ‘stretch’ for larger, more powerful iterations. When the all-new Alpha-based CTS begins production this fall, Cadillac finally will have two new products aligned directly against the sport-sedan benchmarks, BMW’s 3 Series and 5 Series.

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“The previous generation CTS was a ‘tweener’—larger than the 3 Series but smaller than the Five. We were stuck between them,” admitted Dave Leone, GM Executive Chief Engineer―Luxury and Rear-Drive Vehicles. “Now we’ve got the [compact] ATS and [midsize] CTS sized right versus the competitors, and both are the lightest-weight sedans in their segments.”
In moving CTS to the Alpha architecture, the development team lengthened the wheelbase by 1.2 in (31 mm) and added 5 in (127 mm) to the car’s overall length (see table). The roof line and cowl are about an inch (25 mm) lower than those of the outgoing model, which enabled Design Director Mark Adams’ exterior team to “shrink-wrap the vehicle around its mechanicals.” He said the overall “lower, longer, and leaner” form heralds Cadillac’s new design language.
GM's first aluminum doors
In rear-drive configuration, the new CTS sedan equipped with the turbocharged 2.0-L four-cylinder (new for the nameplate) and six-speed automatic, has a mass of about 200 lb (90 kg) less than the BMW 528i, and about 7% less than the previous CTS, according to Leone.
CTS features the first aluminum doors ever on a GM production vehicle in addition to the many lightweight chassis and suspension components carried over from ATS—including cast-magnesium engine mounts, high-pressure die-cast aluminum front strut towers, aluminum crush cans on the frame-rail ends, and aluminum front cradle, suspension links, bumper beam, and hood.
The fully aluminum front and rear door structures save about 17 lb (7.5 kg) per closure—66 lb (30 kg) total—versus a set of comparable steel doors. Leone told AEI that his “every gram every day” mass-reduction mantra that kept the ATS engineering team sweating over their FEA models was carried over into the CTS program.

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The body structure also features tailor roll-formed B-pillars that measure 1.4 mm (0.06 in) at their ends, increasing to 1.9 mm (0.08 in) in the center. The design removes unnecessary mass and puts strength where it’s needed most. The pillar structure includes more than 200 spot welds for added stiffness.
The CTS also uses an isolation-mounted fabricated steel cradle similar to that of ATS to support the car’s five-link rear suspension and drive axle. At 54 lb (25 kg), it is 15 lb (7 kg) lighter than the previous CTS’s rear cradle. And being steel, it’s also not overly light as to add unwanted mass in the rear of the vehicle while damping noise more effectively than an aluminum cradle.
The car shares the ATS’s nearly 50/50 front/rear weight balance despite its longer length and overhangs, Leone said. The lighter, longer unibody is approximately 40% stiffer overall than the incumbent CTS and achieves the best torsional stiffness in the luxury D segment, he claimed.
CTS gets premium NVH abatement
The double-ball-joint McPherson strut front suspension and rack-mounted ZF electric variable-assist power steering gear essentially carry over from ATS, with the suspension link geometry and wheel offsets changed for duty on the larger, heavier CTS. The Magnetic Ride Control suspension with real-time damping control pioneered by Delphi and now supplied by Beijing West Industries (BWI) is standard or available with every engine and transmission combination.
GM’s new 3.6-L Twin-Turbo V6 heads the CTS’s engine offerings in the new V-Sport model. For more on the SAE-certified V6 rated at 420 hp (313 kW) and 430 lb·ft (583 N·m), go to The CTS also is available with a naturally aspirated 3.6-L V6 rated at an estimated 321 hp (239 kW) and the aforementioned 2.0-L turbo four-cylinder rated at an estimated 272 hp (203 kW); neither engine was SAE certified at the time of publication.
The V6s are paired with a new Aisin-sourced TL-80SN eight-speed automatic (see with paddle-shift capability for rear-drive models or a GM six-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. The 2.0-L model uses the six-speed transmission. CTS is GM’s first application of an electrically actuated limited-slip rear differential.
CTS passengers will enjoy a placid cabin, Leone promises, that benefits from significant NVH analysis and tuning. Technologies include:
• A custom dash panel featuring strategic applications of laminated steel. This provides sound deadening in key areas rather than on the entire dash, reducing the weight compared to a fully laminated or fully damped panel;
• A double-wall acoustical barrier created by sandwiching the front-of-dash panel between two damping mats. The passenger-side mat is covered with a cast foam and molded barrier that fits tightly over the panel’s contours. The engine-side mat is a 30 mm (1.2 in) thick formed-fiberglass component;
• CTS-specific acoustic material in the transmission tunnel, under the vehicle, in the rear package shelf and other areas;
• Lightweight polypropylene absorption insulation in the trunk trim, under the rear deck, and throughout the interior that enables greater acoustic performance with less mass. It is more than 50% lighter, with greater sound-absorption qualities, than conventional acoustic insulation;
• A GM-first application of vibration damping foam. Similar to the "memory" foam found in premium bedding, it is used on the top layer of the CTS sedan’s front seats to absorb resonance from the lower portion of the vehicle;
• Acoustic-laminated windshield and front side-door glass are standard, with laminated rear-side doors available;
• Engine compartment side curtains made of a sound-absorbing, non-woven polyurethane material that close out the wheel well area down to the chassis to block noise; and
• Active noise cancellation using the Bose audio system that reduces interior noise levels by up to 20 dB under certain conditions.

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Integrated Vehicle Health Management: The light behind the fog

Pioneers working in the field define IVHM as the “unified capability of a system of systems to assess the current or future state of the member system health, and integrate that picture of system health within a framework of available resources and operational demand.”
In technology-based industries, it is common to see a pattern that starts with the manufacturing and sale of a tangible product, and that gradually evolves from focusing on the product itself to deriving value from its performance. In other words, the service provided by the product, also referred to here as “asset,” turns out to be more valuable to the customer in the long run. 
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As manufactured products mature, what consumers look for tends to be more a matter of style (in most cases) and reliability (in virtually all cases).
The commercial aviation industry is no different. In fact, a modern rationale for Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) comes from the transformation that a number of OEMs are going through. That is, the segue from simply selling a product—one-time upfront revenue realization, and spare parts’ sales when needed—to providing a service that is much more sophisticated.
Services are now sold in which steady monthly income can be derived in return for the effective maintenance of the asset. The end result is what customers (operators and passengers alike) want: planes that fly reliably.
To guarantee that level of availability, a new set of highly technical capabilities is being developed as the underpinning technology to this transformation. And the idea of shedding light on foggy situations does apply: scheduled maintenance (known event) is less costly than unscheduled maintenance (unknown, foggy event). 
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Knowledge is power

In the past, OEMs and suppliers had very little say on how an airplane was used or maintained, with that responsibility falling mostly on the shoulders of the operators. Parts were shipped according to the requirements and timing of the aircraft owner.
Today, operators—i.e., airlines—are moving away from such tasks, concentrating their attention on profitably running the business of flying. OEMs and suppliers, on the other hand, are taking over the business of guaranteeing that the planes are ready and able to fly as expected.
That’s the new contract: availability, reliability, deep asset knowledge, and readiness. The cost of ownership is thus kept on budget, maximizing the potential for bigger margins.
Make no mistake: the impetus for the IVHM value proposition on the OEM side is a commercial one. It follows the desire to increase or maintain revenue by moving into maintenance, or to compete in a market that is being eroded by low-cost component suppliers.
Those working in this new field define IVHM as the “unified capability of a system of systems to assess the current or future state of the member system health, and integrate that picture of system health within a framework of available resources and operational demand.” (SAE IVHM Steering Group, 2011).
If only passive fault management and diagnosis needed to be addressed, the “I” in IVHM would not be necessary, nor would it be needed to take this capability to the level it can go. But, if the integrative process of bringing together data, reasoning, and good decision making is of interest, the challenge is much bigger.
It surpasses the need for next-gen sensors and overall smart computing, which are conditions sine qua non, going deeply into who, how, and when to deal with the information these sensors supply. In non-collaborative environments, this in itself requires a fundamental corporate culture change. Silos will not work here, as information is a key resource that will support problem resolution. If not shared, the resolution simply might not happen.
The technology of IVHM enables the collection of information on an object’s condition, performance, and location. It also facilitates the transmission of this information, often from hostile environments (e.g., inside a jet engine).
In the end though, it is how maintainers use this information that will really make a difference. Although there are quite sophisticated tools both for diagnostics and prognostics, what will fundamentally matter are the business drivers that the data will be used to support.

Maintaining technologies 

IVHM offers options to be considered by organizations that can be achieved through the monitoring of the health of an asset. Decisions can then be made based on the information that is collected.
Primarily, such decisions will enable the maintainer to better schedule maintenance based on actual performance and condition of an asset (the airplane itself, or any of its parts) rather than when a component fails or when regular maintenance cycle is performed. Any event that leads to a plane malfunction in between these two parameters can be flagged and addressed by consistently applying IVHM.
For passengers flying from NY to London (or anywhere else for that matter), this will be basically an invisible, behind-the-scenes situation. The good news is that airplanes will depart and arrive when they are supposed to with no untoward interruptions.
From the perspective of the operator, the result is having more planes in the air with a lot fewer unknowns on the ground (i.e., margin improvement and higher levels of customer satisfaction).
The technologies foundational to IVHM can be considered disruptive, as a technical innovation can immediately produce a new unexpected service offering with its subsequent effect on the market.
In a service-driven business, customers tend to expect more service each year. With the competition from third parties knocking at the door, this becomes, undoubtedly, a much more dynamic business than the product business.
Recent Airbus figures, from Aerotech 2011, predicted a 4.8% growth per year in civil aerospace for the next 20 years. It is also predicted that some 4500 aircraft will be replaced in the same amount of time.
According to the Flightpath 2050, a European report on the region’s vision for aviation global leadership, the goals ahead are significant:
• Getting 90% of travelers, door to door, anywhere in Europe in less than four hours
• Achieving less than one accident per 10 M flights
• Having air-traffic management infrastructure in place to handle 25 M flights/year
With these targets in mind, it will not be acceptable for a plane to be delayed at the gate for a “cause unknown.” The situation will demand the unequivocal location of a faulty LRU (Line Replaceable Unit), so it can be dealt with, getting the aircraft back on the runway.
It will also require a movement from accurate diagnosis of a fault, with fault forwarding so that the aircraft can be repaired on the ground, to prognostics where the necessary repair is known for some time in advance, and maintenance booked when convenient.
The industry is in the midst of the dawn of a new technological paradigm in commercial aviation. In the next decade or so, the technology behind IVHM will be both an enabler of new processes and a disruption to old ones, with its value affecting safety, operations, and the financial aspects of the business.
The rewards will be available to those who understand this change in the overall landscape and appreciate the magnitude of the challenges facing the industry. The time is now, as this enormous transformation will need disciplined stewardship of new risks taken.

The 8D Problem-Solving Process

Solving Major Problems in a Disciplined Way (Also known as Global 8D Problem-Solving)
When your company runs into a major problem, you need to address it quickly. However, you also need to deal with it thoroughly and ensure that it doesn't recur - and this can take a lot of effort and elapsed time.

The 8D Problem-Solving Process helps you do both of these seemingly-contradictory things, in a professional and controlled way.

In this article, we'll look at the 8D Problem-Solving Process, and we'll discuss how you can use it to help your team solve major problems.
8D Problem-Solving Process
Solve problems quickly and effectively.
© iStockphoto/3dsguru

Origins of the Tool:

The Ford Motor Company developed the 8D (8 Disciplines) Problem-Solving Process, and published it in their 1987 manual, "Team Oriented Problem Solving (TOPS)." In the mid-90s, Ford added an additional discipline, D0: Plan. The process is now Ford's global standard, and is called Global 8D.

Ford created the 8D Process to help teams deal with quality control and safety issues; develop customized, permanent solutions to problems; and prevent problems from recurring. Although the 8D Process was initially applied in the manufacturing, engineering, and aerospace industries, it's useful and relevant in any industry.

The eight disciplines are shown in figure 1, below:

Figure 1: The 8D Problem-Solving Process

The 8D Process works best in teams tasked with solving a complex problem with identifiable symptoms. However, you can also use this process on an individual level, as well.

Applying the Tool

To use the 8D Process, address each of the disciplines listed below in order. Take care not to skip steps, even when time is limited; the process is only effective when you follow every step.

Discipline 0: Plan

Before you begin to assemble a team to address the problem, you need to plan your approach. This means thinking about who will be on the team, what your time frame is, and what resources you'll need to address the problem at hand.

Discipline 1: Build the Team

You should aim to put together a team that has the skills needed to solve the problem, and that has time and energy to commit to the problem-solving process.

Keep in mind that a diverse team is more likely to find a creative solution than a team of people with the same outlook (although if outlooks are too diverse, people can spend so much time disagreeing that nothing gets done.)

Create a team charter that outlines the team's goal and identifies each person's role. Then, do what you can to build trust and get everyone involved in the process that's about to happen.

If your team is made up of professionals who haven't worked together before, consider beginning with team-building activities to ensure that everyone is comfortable working with one another.

Discipline 2: Describe the Problem

Once your team has settled in, describe the problem in detail. Specify the who, what, when, where, why, how, and how many; and use techniques like CATWOE and the Problem-Definition Process to ensure that you're focusing on the right problem.

Start by doing a Risk Analysis - if the problem is causing serious risks, for example, to people's health or life, then you need to take appropriate action. (This may include stopping people using a product or process until the problem is resolved.)

If the problem is with a process, use a Flow Chart, Swim Lane Diagram, or Storyboard to map each step out; these tools will help your team members understand how the process works, and, later on, think about how they can best fix it.

Discovering the root cause of the problem comes later in the process, so don't spend time on this here. Right now, your goal is to look at what's going wrong, and to make sure that your team understands the full extent of the problem.

Discipline 3: Implement a Temporary Fix

Once your team understands the problem, come up with a temporary fix. This is particularly important if the problem is affecting customers, reducing product quality, or slowing down work processes.

Harness the knowledge of everyone on the team. To ensure that each person's ideas are heard, consider using brainstorming techniques such as Round Robin Brainstorming or Crawford's Slip Writing Method, alongside more traditional team problem-solving discussions.

Once the group has identified possible temporary fixes, address issues such as cost, implementation time, and relevancy. The short-term solution should be quick, easy to implement, and worth the effort.

Discipline 4: Identify and Eliminate the Root Cause

Once your temporary fix is in place, it's time to discover the root cause of the problem.
Conduct a Cause and Effect Analysis to identify the likely causes of the problem. This tool is useful because it helps you uncover many possible causes, and it can highlight other problems that you might not have been aware of. Next, apply Root Cause Analysis to find the root causes of the problems you've identified.

Once you identify the source of the problem, develop several permanent solutions to it.
If your team members are having trouble coming up with viable permanent solutions, use the Straw Man Concept to generate prototype solutions that you can then discuss, tear apart, and rebuild into stronger solutions.

Discipline 5: Verify the Solution

Once your team agrees on a permanent solution, make sure that you test it thoroughly before you fully implement it, in the next step.

Last, conduct a Blind Spot Analysis to confirm that you and your team haven't overlooked a key factor, or made an incorrect assumption about this solution.

Discipline 6: Implement a Permanent Solution

Once your team reaches consensus on the solution, roll your fix out. Monitor this new solution closely for an appropriate period of time to make sure that it's working correctly, and ensure that there are no unexpected side effects.

Discipline 7: Prevent the Problem From Recurring

When you're sure that the permanent solution has solved the problem, gather your team together again to identify how you'll prevent the problem from recurring in the future.

You might need to update your organization's standards, policies, procedures, or training manual to reflect the new fix. You'll likely also need to train others on the new process or standard. Finally, you'll need to consider whether to change your management practices or procedures to prevent recurrence.

Discipline 8: Celebrate Team Success

The last step in the process is to celebrate and reward your team's success. Say "thank you" to everyone involved, and be specific about how each person's hard work has made a difference. If appropriate, plan a party or celebration to communicate your appreciation.

Before the team disbands, conduct a Post-Implementation Review to analyze whether your solution is working as you thought, and to improve the way that you solve problems in the future.

Key Points

In the late 1980s, Ford Motor Company developed the 8D (8 Disciplines) Problem-Solving Process to help manufacturing and engineering teams diagnose, treat, and eliminate quality problems. However, teams in any industry can use this problem-solving process.

The eight disciplines are:
  1. Plan.
  2. Build the Team.
  3. Describe the Problem.
  4. Implement a Temporary Fix.
  5. Identify and Eliminate the Root Cause.
  6. Verify the Solution.
  7. Implement a Permanent Solution.
  8. Prevent the Problem From Recurring.
  9. Celebrate Team Success.
The 8D Problem-Solving Process is best used with a team solving complex problems; however, individuals can also use it to solve problems on their own.

Courtesy:  Mind Tools