Error 404--Not Found

From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1:

10.4.5 404 Not Found

The server has not found anything matching the Request-URI. No indication is given of whether the condition is temporary or permanent.

If the server does not wish to make this information available to the client, the status code 403 (Forbidden) can be used instead. The 410 (Gone) status code SHOULD be used if the server knows, through some internally configurable mechanism, that an old resource is permanently unavailable and has no forwarding address.

Error 404--Not Found

Error 404--Not Found

From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1:

10.4.5 404 Not Found

The server has not found anything matching the Request-URI. No indication is given of whether the condition is temporary or permanent.

If the server does not wish to make this information available to the client, the status code 403 (Forbidden) can be used instead. The 410 (Gone) status code SHOULD be used if the server knows, through some internally configurable mechanism, that an old resource is permanently unavailable and has no forwarding address.

Tech Briefs

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T-Bird hardtop from Venture


Exploded view of the Ford Thunderbird roof consists of 74 components from several external suppliers.

The Ford Thunderbird arrived as a 1955 model and departed in 1997. The 2002 re-launch brings a modern rendition to the 1955-1957 Thunderbird two-seat roadsters.

"We wouldn't have been able to achieve the styling we wanted without the use of composites," Nancy Gioia, Ford Thunderbird Chief Program Engineer, said at an Automotive Composites Alliance meeting. The Thunderbird uses sheet molding composite (SMC) for hood, deck lid, and front fenders; and a grille-opening reinforcement molded by The Budd Co. Plastics Division; a center high-mounted stop lamp molded by Meridian Automotive Systems; and a removable hardtop molded by Venture Industries.

Delivered to Ford as a ready-to-install module, the two-piece removable hardtop roof is a 55% glass content SMC inner panel bonded to a 26% glass content SMC outer panel. "This is the first removable hardtop made of SMC," said Stephen Kelly, Executive Vice President of the Ford Business Unit for Venture Industries.

At the Grand Rapids, MI, Venture facility, robot-attached nozzles water-jet holes for the side port windows, and an add-on SMC section—bonded to the inner panel—completes the framework. "It's a flange piece that provides the inside pocket of the porthole and serves as a reinforcement," said Kelly.

Venture Industries designed, developed, and produced a removable hardtop roof for the 2002 Ford Thunderbird to meet all criteria within 24 months.

Venture provides the inner and outer roof panel, porthole window support, injection molded thermoplastic package tray, injection molded drip rail, adjustable header, B-pillar cover trims, and interior header trim. Venture also assembles the 70+ parts, including components from several other suppliers.

The hardtop's injection-molded adjustable header plays a vital role during vehicle assembly at Ford's Wixom, MI, plant. "Venture pre-sets the adjustment on the piece to account for the existing body-build variability at that time," said Scott Pickelhaupt, Vice President of Marketing for Venture. Another final assembly consideration deals with the front latches. Since both the soft-top and hardtop use the same front latching system, "floating" corner castings—which become nonfloating at the point of final assembly—were designed.

A partial vehicle buck, designed by Venture based on math data, helped engineers early in the design phase. "That vehicle buck was really important for sealing design and latch design because that represents the vehicle body to roof interface," said Phil Kusky, Vice President of Advanced Composite Marketing and Technologies for Venture.

Hardtops are shipped in sequence by trucks traveling the approximate 190-km (120-mi) route from Grand Rapids to Wixom, MI. To prevent damage during transportation, the fully trimmed/painted hardtop with heated rear glass window and side portholes is stowed in special three-shelf carriers designed by Venture. "This is by far the most robust and complicated rack that we have," said Kelly.

Venture is already working on a second-generation hardtop. Design targets include a more simplified assembly process and a 25% mass reduction. The current fully assembled hardtop has a mass of approximately 41 kg (90 lb).

- Kami Buchholz


Mini Cooper sunroof module from Webasto


Webasto's two-panel sunroof is optional on the Mini Cooper.

As the first all-new Mini vehicle since the brand's inception in 1959, the Mini Cooper has a slightly forward-sloping roof line with "glass walls" disguising load-bearing A-, B-, and C-pillars. The distinctive look of the 3610-mm (142-in) car debuts in 2002 for the U.S. market. The small car's optional tinted sunroof further conveys a panoramic presentation.

Produced by Webasto, two glass panels serve as the glazing for a full roof module. "Most sunroofs—probably 80%—are tilt/slide, which means the glass in the 'open' position goes under the roof. With this outer sliding design, you get a larger opening with the front panel sliding over the rear panel," said Brett Healy, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Strategic Planning for Webasto Roof Systems, Inc.

The large glass panel movement represents a unique design. "The innovation is in the mechanism. The moving glass is attached to a mechanism at all four corners, making the glass panel very robust in the 'open' position. The roof system operates by an electric motor," explained Healy, adding the left and right sides each carry two mechanisms and two attachment points.

The outer sliding roof, which is installed from inside, also features two, mesh-material, manually operated sunshades for the front and rear passengers. "The Mini Cooper is the first application of the bottom-load, double-glass, outer-sliding design," said Healy, adding the system has been an option since the car's initial launch in Europe.

- Kami Buchholz


Witzenmann reduces S Class turbo whine


The S400 turbocharged V8 diesel engine uses a Witzenmann noise-suppression device between the turbocharger and exhaust.

A stainless steel decoupler, uniquely designed for noise reduction, debuts on the 2002 Mercedes-Benz S Class sedan powered by a 4.0-L V8 turbodiesel engine. The S Class with turbodiesel engine is sold in European markets as well as South Africa, Japan, and South America. The approximately 75 mm (3 in) wide by 50 mm (2 in) long decoupler interrupts and damps turbocharger noise and vibration.

"It is expensive to eliminate turbocharger noise at its source by replacing vibrating turbines with higher quality, nonvibrating ones. The second option—redesign the muffler and the exhaust so that they don't generate noise—typically increases the muffler's size and the car's weight," said Kurt Kushner, General Manager of Hydra LLC.

An internal tube, covered in multilayer bellows with three to five corrugations, form the decoupler framework. The crucial, functional element for this application is a knitted 5 mm (0.2 in) thick wire mesh pack—pressed to shape—that covers the bellows. "We used to use mesh pack technology for another function: bellows protection. But the sole reason for the mesh pack being used in this application is for noise reduction. We took existing technology within our portfolio and redeveloped it for another application," said Kushner.

The decoupler, referred to as a Koerper Schall Element (KSE), was designed in Germany as a collaboration between Witzenmann GmbH (Hydra LLC's parent company) and DaimlerChrysler specifically for Mercedes-Benz S Class cars with V8 turbocharged engines. Tests were conducted throughout the development process to achieve the best fit and maximum sound decoupling.

- Kami Buchholz


Tricon wire-bonded circuit for Northstar


The Tricon low power ignition module circuit for GM Premium V8 applications such as the Cadillac DeVille DTS is made using wire bonding to increase reliability and quality.

Wire bonding provides for a new, low-power ignition module circuit and frame for V8 Northstar engine-powered 2002 Cadillac cars. The bonding of small-diameter jumper wires from the assembly's electronic components to the lead frame circuit contact pads creates a robust connection between the module circuit leads and the electronic control chips.

"The connector allows the entire package to be sealed from any environmental problems. The heat-resistant polyester resin allows the module to be directly mounted to the ignition coil assembly on the engine without heat problems. However, the real breakthrough is the wire bonding process, which increases quality, reliability, and durability," said Jeff Terrell, Manager of Product Development, Tricon Industries, Inc.

In addition to increasing quality, reliability, and durability, the wire bonding process provides other advantages. "The wire bonding process minimizes the need for additional connectors, allowing for a smaller overall package," Terrell said.

After the assembly is wire bonded, it is sealed between a heat sink and solenoid module to form the low power ignition control module for the premium V8 engine, noted Terrell. This insert-molded assembly consists of a glass-filled polyester frame with an integral connector housing containing stamped copper alloy circuits with aluminum-inlaid contact pads.

Tricon Industries relies on a number of proprietary, pre- and post-fabrication procedures to prevent surface damage and contamination. "With the sensitive nature of the wire bond process, Tricon takes many extra steps in developing, processing, and maintaining this program. Inventory control becomes an issue when dealing with wire bondable substrates. Tool design and maintenance also are critical components of wire bonding, as is in-process cleanliness. One human fingerprint can contaminate the part, making it unbondable," said Terrell.

The low power ignition module is a unit that monitors various failure modes with the dual overhead cam engine and turns the ignition coils on and off to compensate. For instance, a low power ignition module can retard ignition timing due to early detonation/knocking, can advance the timing to compensate for high engine speed, and can vary timing to aid in cold start.

"This is a fairly recent technology of controlling the ignition, so there is no conventional production method. With the trend of new sensors being established or specified for vehicles, wire bonding will be more prevalent in the industry," said Terrell.

- Kami Buchholz


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Error 404--Not Found

Error 404--Not Found

From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1:

10.4.5 404 Not Found

The server has not found anything matching the Request-URI. No indication is given of whether the condition is temporary or permanent.

If the server does not wish to make this information available to the client, the status code 403 (Forbidden) can be used instead. The 410 (Gone) status code SHOULD be used if the server knows, through some internally configurable mechanism, that an old resource is permanently unavailable and has no forwarding address.