Many of the formal system engineering procedures and techniques developed in the aerospace industry have convenient informal application to the analysis, evaluation, and qualification of new automotive design. This paper describes such “systemization” from a product engineering viewpoint in the development of a hardtop window project. The project is traced through its several design and development stages; and the advantages of the system engineering approach, as well as some of the problems encountered, are explored. The paper concludes with a discussion of additional controls that would have been required to yield the full information recording/retrieval capability demanded for complete system integration on larger projects.
THE COMPLEXITY OF the present-day automobile is as evident in its door window systems as it is beneath the hood. Current usage of curved glass, repeatably positionable at superhighway speeds in a frameless or hardtop application, has posed new challenges for the designer. Additional emphasis on sealing capability, reduced operator effort, and low noise levels has compounded the design challenge. The designer has met these challenges by producing systems much more sophisticated than those in earlier cars. Optional hardware configurations that can be added or deleted from the system and partial modification of existing systems with during-model-run effectivity points are routine. Also, the cost of both materials and the labor associated with assembly, adjustment, and service are receiving additional emphasis today. All of these factors combine to make the product engineer's task in verification testing of window systems more difficult, and at the same time more important than it was previously.