1997-02-24

Reduction of Vehicle Leadtime by Body Engineering 970578

Automotive Body Engineering has been one of the most important disciplines in automotive engineering during the past 100 years. A brief historical review will take place highlighting the major automotive trends which have challenged the expertise of the body engineer, including the major contributions of the body engineering profession that brought comfort, convenience and safety to the modern automobile. Finally, the current challenges to body engineering will be discussed. These include the need to drastically reduce program leadtime and control both engineering and product costs.
The two areas in which the above stated challenges can be met are as follows: First, the technologies and materials being applied to new vehicle bodies will be discussed. Highlighted, will be the effect upon cost and leadtime reduction. Secondly, the component design process will no longer start with a clean sheet for a new design. Rather, the designer will start with a proven design, and “morph” the product design to meet the new requirements. Thirdly, the new working relationships between OEM's, first and second tier suppliers will also be presented combined with a discussion of “how not to have a negative effect in communications and leadtime”. Methods will be shown as to how the “grey box” and “black box” program suppliers can work smartly and efficiently to execute programs in a timely manner.

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