By: Matthew Beecham
Matthew Beecham interviews automotive component industry specialists to learn more about changing technologies and new innovations.
As we recover from the recession, Mark Bignell, Automotive Managing Consultant, Jonathan Lee Recruitment explains to Matthew Beecham how a 'perfect storm' led to shortages of automotive engineering skills and what companies can do to improve their situation.
Magna Closures designs, engineers and manufactures a range of vehicle closure modules, systems and components for the automotive industry. In this interview, Matthew Beecham spoke to David O'Connell, Vice President – Global Engineering and R&D, Magna Mirrors & Magna Closures about the company’s SmartLatch, PureView sliding window and how it strikes a balance between providing a door which improves side-crash safety yet reduces overall vehicle weight.
Magna Mirrors is the world’s largest producer of automotive mirror systems and a major supplier of engineered glass systems and door handles. In this interview, Matthew Beecham spoke to David O'Connell, Vice President – Global Engineering and R&D, Magna Mirrors & Magna Closures about the auto-dimming and power-folding mirror markets and the increasing use of cameras on cars.
Johnson Controls' battery operation falls under the auspices of its Power Solutions business, serving both automotive OEMs and aftermarket. In this interview, Matthew Beecham spoke to Craig Rigby, Advanced Market and Technology Strategist, Johnson Controls Power Solutions about the company's technologies for stop-start applications, EVs and PHEVs.
Emissions legislation, weight, packaging, safety and cost are the main factors driving fuel tank innovation. Matthew Beecham talked to Albert Boecker, Product & Advanced Engineering Director, Global Fuel Tank Systems, TI Automotive about the supplier’s fuel system technology and what can be done about ‘fuel slosh’.
Among the major manufacturers pushing back the technical boundaries in the advanced driver assistance (ADAS) arena are TRW and Continental. Matthew Beecham caught up with Rolf Adomat, head of innovation management and ADAS system design at Continental's Chassis & Safety division and Andy Whydell, TRW Electronics’ director of product planning, ADAS to find out more about each supplier’s camera technologies.
Allison, the automatic transmission specialists, is rolling out FuelSense, a fuel-saving solution that automatically adjusts shift schedules, selects neutral and manages vehicle acceleration to maximise transmission fuel economy. Last month, Kenworth became the third OEM to adopt the package. Manlio Alvaro, director of EMEA Marketing, tells just-auto that testing indicates FuelSense has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent when compared to the previous generation of Allison Electronic Controls without these fuel saving feature
Power electronics is being brought into sharp focus as OEMs look to improve the efficiency of electric and hybrid cars. Many of the energy losses in such systems occur in power electronic systems (such as DC-DC converters) which convert the high voltages from the batteries to the correct levels for the various systems in the car. Prodrive are exploring the use of silicon carbide based components which can operate at much higher temperatures and efficiencies. To find out more, Matthew Beecham spoke to Pete Tibbles, Prodrive programme manager – power electronics.
Mentor Graphics is a major supplier of software tools that help engineers design electronic systems and components. Headquartered in Oregon, US, Mentor generates annual revenues of some US$1bn. Its tools are involved in the design of almost every electronic gadget you can think of. To find out about its automotive business, Matthew Beecham spoke to Martin O’Brien, General Manager, Integrated Electrical Systems Division Mentor Graphics.
The automotive industry is now using logistics in a more proactive way to provide the flexibility which is required due to diversifying model ranges. There is also the question of quality, of course. Components that have been acceptable in previous years are being failed by more stringent testing. Matthew Beecham spoke to Brad Brennan, managing director of emergency logistics specialist Evolution Time Critical.
Though today’s new vehicle development programmes are more comprehensive than ever, using exhaustive virtual and ‘real world’ testing, issues can still escape into the market place. just-auto spoke to Mark Findlay of UK engineering consultancy Drive System Design about a new approach to reducing warranty costs.
As automakers increasingly use simulation to supplement their vehicle test programmes, just-auto spoke to Chris Hoyle, technical director of rFpro, a UK company that has modelled the Nordschleife circuit at the Nürburgring, Germany, with unprecedented accuracy.
The IT industry has made much of the benefits of a Cloud infrastructure, offering better security and less complex networks in the workplace. Infotainment specialist Harman with subsidiary Aha claims its use in the car could be equally effective. It is now offering OEMs and service providers a chance to use the Cloud beyond downloading apps, navigation updates or music. Understanding what features are being used by the end customer, finding software bugs, removing unused features, reducing recalls or targeting specific customers with updates and advertising are just some of the ideas that Harman claims it can offer with its new Aha Cloud Platform Analytics and Updates Service. just-auto spoke to Siegfried Schuler, Director Centre of Competence Aha, about the service and find out what OEMs are most interested in.
Continuing just-auto’s series of interviews with tier one manufacturers, Matthew Beecham spoke to Han Hendriks about consumer expectations of car interiors, JCI’s Interior Vision 2025 and their new operating model tailored at innovation management. Han represents JCI’s Interiors business worldwide and is the innovation leader of this business.
Driver-in-the-loop simulation is becoming more widespread among automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, not least because the latest data gathering and modelling methods mean virtual road test routes can be created more quickly and accurately. Dutch company, Cruden, is a leader in the design and manufacture of vehicle simulators for automotive testing as well as the building of road, tyre and vehicle models. just-auto spoke to Nico Kruithof, a computer scientist working at the forefront of developments to make motion simulators an essential part of the vehicle dynamics evaluation programme.
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