Innovative Automotive Solutions

Windows Embedded Automotive has spent more than 15 years enabling vehicle-based infotainment systems that let drivers control their car stereos, mobile phones and other devices with voice commands. Consumers have since come to expect that they can access and share information — even while they’re driving. They have traded the legacy driving aids of the AM radio and road atlas for entertainment, navigation and communication services.

The in-car infotainment systems are now one of the top selling points and are helping the automotive industry create what it calls the “connected car.” Depending on the system they’ve selected, drivers can listen to text messages, connect to social media, receive driving directions and more, all without taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel. The connected car is one more example of what Windows Embedded calls intelligent systems.

Windows Embedded Automotive 7 includes state of the art hands free phone control including address book and calendar download with secure simple pairing.

New in Windows Embedded Automotive 7 is SMS Reply by voice. Drivers can reply to text messages using voice controls where the system matches the drivers reply to stored messages like “Running late” or “See you in 10 minutes.”

Support for media devices like iPod and Zune, a cornerstone of past Windows Embedded Automotive platforms, have been upgrade and improved including iPhone/iPod Touch Firmware 3.x support, Bluetooth 2.1 and the latest DLNA.

Additionally Microsoft provides regular device updates to car makers so that the platform always works with the latest devices keeping your solution relevant for years.

What’s New For Microsoft Auto Customers?

Those familiar with Microsoft Auto can enjoy the new tools that the Windows Automotive development environment (the Automotive Adaptation Kit [AAK]) brings to Windows Embedded Automotive 7:

  • Next-generation Automotive System Tools

The AST tools support the stable integration of advanced, high-performance systems. They include improved test modules and easy-to-use product engineering guidelines to help simplify the development process and increase reliability.

  • A wider selection of middleware components

These include Windows Internet Explorer and Windows Media technology, required for the development of an automotive multimedia system.

  • Significantly improved middleware

Updated Bluetooth profiles, enhanced media and phone modules and application cores all to make sure that Windows Embedded Automotive continues to be the preferred and leading in-car infotainment platform.

  • Microsoft Tellme speech technology engines and Silverlight for Windows Embedded

Ford Motor Company also used Windows Embedded Automotive to power the award-winning Ford SYNC, SYNC with MyFord Touch and SYNC AppLink.

Multilanguage functionality in Ford SYNC was unveiled with the all-new Focus available now in China. With the introduction of the Focus, SYNC will feature Mandarin as its interfacing language, recognizing wide-ranging accents from 13 provinces, while also responding to English commands. Spoken by more than 1.2 billion people, the Mandarin language has subtleties that necessitated extensive research to allow for the differences in the pronunciation of the same word.

Ford’s Expansion In China

China is known as the center of all nations, and it makes an ideal location for Ford to devote efforts to its largest expansion in a half-century.

“These are incredibly exciting times for Ford in Asia,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. “So far, Ford’s investments in China and across Asia represent its largest and most rapid global expansion in 50 years.

Automakers from across the globe are establishing roots in China to take advantage of this growing market as witnessed by all the major car companies exhibiting at the most recent Beijing auto show. And Ford is taking steps to ensure it offers something the automaker likes to call a “ connected car experience ” to the Chinese consumer with an expanded and fresh lineup of new vehicles.

Achieving Cleanliness Reliably And Efficiently

Component cleanliness is a quality criterion in the motor vehicle industry. Requirements are becoming stricter and stricter with each vehicle generation – with simultaneously increasing cost pressure. And thus for the automotive industry and its suppliers it’s becoming more and more important to exploit optimisation potential in the area of parts cleaning.

Global emphasis is being placed upon reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, as well as increasing safety and comfort within the vehicle manufacturing industry. Downsized engines are in demand which run more efficiently with high power output, as are components that are capable of withstanding extreme loads and are distinguished by tight tolerances. However, this is only possible with high precision components – and this is associated with increased sensitivity to contamination. If they end up in the wrong place, even particles with sizes down to 500, 200 or even just 100 µm can cause damage and failure in the field. This is why, in the meantime, the automotive industry has started defining particle size distributions for certain parts in functional modules such as the power train, steering and brakes, for example no more than 1,000 particles between 100 and 200 µm, 500 particles between 200 and 400 µm etc. In order to fulfil and document these requirements, large investments in industrial parts cleaning technology are required in some cases. For example, based on calculations, the outlays required for cleaning technology which fulfils a specified requirement of “no particles larger than 1,000 µm” are two to three times higher than for systems in which cleaned parts are contaminated with larger particles.

Minimising Contamination

The issue of potential for economic optimisation in the parts cleaning process is pursued despite, or perhaps precisely due to the large investment sums involved in some cases. One approach is component design, because the geometry of the workpiece and the individual steps of the manufacturing process, for example turning, milling and assembly, as well as cleanability, are determined during the design stage. The latter usually plays no role at all, for which revenge is taken during the subsequent production process: The parts have corners, edges or drill holes from which particles and processing residues can only be removed with considerable effort, or not at all.

Due to the fact that material is removed during the course of chip-forming machining processes, contamination can never be entirely avoided. The quality of cooling lubricants and machining fluids influences the quantity of chips, burrs and particles on the workpieces. Suitable purification/filtration prevents previously washed away contamination from being returned to the component once again.

A special rinsing step with the tool in the machining centre – perhaps even with more finely purified fluid from a separate tank – can also make a contribution to reducing the number of chips. At first glance, this represents an additional expense. But it pays for itself later on in the manufacturing process thanks to shorter cleaning times and/or a longer bath service life, as well as better component quality. And residues which are removed after machining by means of mechanical pre-cleaning based on vibration, shaking, spinning or vacuum blasting the surfaces of the part do not place any unnecessary load on the cleaning agent.

In the case of multi-stage machining processes in metal forming and machining applications, intermediate cleaning steps prevent the accumulation of contamination, as well as any mixing or drying out of media on the workpieces.

Ideally Laid Out Cleaning Processes

Modern cleaning systems are capable of fulfilling even very high demands for component cleanliness – assuming the cleaning process has been ideally matched to the contamination to be removed, part geometry, the utilised material and the cleanliness specification to be complied with.

The limit value of “smaller than 1,000 µm” for components in engines and gearboxes can only be adhered to with a cleaning process which has been laid out specifically for the respective part. The current state-of-the-art makes use of a multi-stage procedure to this end. The workpieces are thus usually subjected to mechanical cleaning during the first step, which removes some of the adhering machining fluid. The second step involves immersion flooding: Water is injected into the cleaning chamber below the surface of the bath at a pressure of 10 to 15 bar. The resulting whirlpool effect rinses chips and contamination out of hollow spaces such as threaded blind holes. Water jet systems which are aimed at openings in the component, and lances which advance into holes, allow for optimised results within short periods of time. This applies as well to subsequent high-pressure cleaning or deburring. Rinsing is followed by a drying process.

Numerous engine and gearbox variants, as well as ever shorter product life cycles, necessitate a great deal of flexibility – even for individual part cleaning. This is accomplished by automated cleaning solutions with robots, which are integrated into the production line. Thanks to options provided for easy reprogramming, these assure levels of flexibility which are comparable to those offered by machining centres.

Large numbers of vehicle parts are cleaned in batch processes as individually positioned items or bulk goods. Single and multi-chamber systems which can be integrated into the production line are available for these cleaning tasks as well. A modular design with various interlinking options assures adaptability to specific requirements, as well as expandability in accordance with actual needs.

In addition to the utilised process technology and the medium, the container also has a great deal of influence on the results and the economic efficiency of the cleaning process. There are two primary questions in this respect: Are the parts in the container readily accessible from all sides for the medium and the washing mechanism? Is it possible to position the part within the container such that critical areas can be treated in a targeted fashion?

An additional requirement for efficient cleaning processes is the removal of loosened contamination from the cleaning bath so that it isn’t redeposited on the parts. In order to assure continuous particle removal, gentle but constant bath motion is necessary on the one hand, and effective filtration which is matched to the actual particle size is required on the other hand.

All About Automotives Body Weight Reduction

The trend of light weight vehicles took peak during the starting of 20th century with 17.4 million unit’s sale in US annually and sustained at 16 million units through 2007. Though the 2008 debt financing affected the motor vehicle bubble, the investments in research & development of automotives didn’t hinder at the same rate. While the annual U.S. light vehicle sales reached their lowest point in 2009 and started increasing since then. The majority value of the global automotive industry is parts sector, but the importance of light weight vehicles globally gave a penetrating angle for the investors to do investments in the new materials and technologies like light weight & bio-based automotive materials in plastics & metals that are almost replacing  the whole body structures in automotive front-end modules at an accelerated rate.
All these industry efforts are to acquire the untapped market in developed and developing counties that is eagerly waiting for the light weight vehicles because of the high emphasis on growing oil prices and greenhouse gasses concerns. So, these light weight vehicles are going to give more mileage with the same amount of energy compared to regular vehicles. However, the challenge lies at pricing of the end product because of the high costs associated with the development and implementation of these advanced materials and production technologies.

Technological Dimensions Of The Automotive Industry In Producing Light Weight Components

The industry is considering the large scope of potential in novel materials applications focusing on light alloys, thermoplastics, carbon or other fiber-reinforced polymers, composites, advanced steels and tailored honeycombs, foams, multifunctional materials into the body parts, chassis and heavier interior systems that includes optimization of structural layouts, numerical simulation, multi-functional design, testing, manufacturing processes. The standardization issues are considered on the innovative structural layouts that could let new electric vehicles to easily adapt the materials involved in the assembling process in order to improve safety by enhanced energy absorbing capability. Hence, this leads to a better deal with asymmetric crash conditions for the compatibility of size and weight proportion of the vehicle.
Investment in research by the Oak Ridge National Labs and U.S. Department of Energy produced a low cost carbon fiber using lignin as part of an initiative to produce multiple value added streams from biological feedstock and lightweight components for vehicles. While ThyssenKrupp’s has come up with many chassis solutions & concepts that use the potential of high and ultrahigh strength steels for optimization of chassis structure which helps to reduce weight of the vehicle. These concepts are also announced as cost effective and used hot-rolled complex phase steel with yield strength of 680 megapascals that remarkably stronger than the steels used in the chassis designs till now. So, the players in the industry are equipping themselves with the competitive edge to sustain in the coming up competition.

Industry Facts

  • » The global lightweight materials consumption for transportation equipment in 2006 was 42.8 million tons/$80.5 billion that has increased above 9% i.e. 68.5 million tons/$106.4 billion by 2011.
  • » The above metal quantity largest percentage accounts high strength steel and followed by aluminium & plastics.
  • » The passenger cars and light trucks among motor vehicles are the largest end user segment made of lightweight materials.

 

Materials Role In Light Weight Materials For Automotives

Steel: Among the metals and composites, steel is the most adorable component that has been playing an important role in the automotives manufacturing process. It is the major interest area for steel industry and component suppliers who are investing heavily in its innovation. The inherent capability of steel to absorb impact energy in a crash situation led the material to be often a first choice for the automotive designers. While the components in a body in white structure should undergo tests that proves the metal be able to absorb or transmit impact energy in a crash situation to decide about the suitability of the materials for automotive application.

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe set up modernized mills to produce high tensile steels for lightweight automotive construction, starting material for tin-plate, plus steels for oil and gas pipelines, and electrical steel. While, Chrysler and many foreign carmakers depends on zinc-iron coatings, which can be made by electro galvanizing or by producing galvaneal, which is an inline annealed galvanized steel, on hot dip lines.