Fiat Chrysler recently received the Altair Enlighten Award in the Full Vehicle category for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.
The 2017 Pacific is 249 pounds lighter than its predecessor.
Toyota’s carbon-fiber closure panels for the 2017 Prius Prime and Lexus LC500, and Faurecia’s adaptive valve for exhaust systems employed on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado, took the top honors for the Module category.
Swedish metal-forming specialist AP&T won in the Enabling Technology category for its innovative aluminum-forming technology used on several European vehicles.
Software provider Altair and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) announced the winners of the fifth annual Altair Enlighten Awards during the 2017 CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica
The Fiat Chrysler team built the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica from the ground up to achieve a lighter vehicle with improved safety, better NVH performance and superior interior space and comfort.
The body system, which shed 168 pounds, utilized high-strength steels and large amounts of dual-phase and hot-stamped material grades for improved impact protection at reduced weight.
Aluminum and cast magnesium were used for the rear sliding door, liftgate and the instrument panel beam, while the front-end module is a steel-plastic overmold to improve part integration and stiffness.
Simulation methodologies including topology optimization studies were used throughout the vehicle’s development to ensure a material-efficient design.
“The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is our engineering response to the rapidly changing industry climate,” said Phil Jansen, head of product development – FCA North America. “Customers are in need of ever-greater efficiency, but not at the expense of functionality. The Pacifica’s spacious package, delivered with a reduction in mass, allows us to exceed expectations.”
Toyota, Faurecia Win in Module Category
For the Module category, which focuses on vehicle systems, subsystems and components, the international judging panel could not split the winners, opting to award the top prize to both Toyota and Faurecia.
Toyota’s winning entry concerned the side and luggage doors of the 2017 Lexus LC and the liftgate of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, which feature carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) inner panels, combined with aluminum, glass-fiber-reinforced plastic and polypropylene outers for components that are 47 percent lighter than conventional metal structures.
“Toyota is excited to offer closure systems that are optimized to the unique mission of each vehicle,” said J.P. Flaharty, executive program manager at Toyota Motor North America R&D. “With CFRP applied to the Prius Prime liftgate and the Lexus LC side and luggage doors, our customers can recognize the light touch and high-tech appearance of these sophisticated, lightweight door systems. Our entire development team is honored to receive the Altair Enlighten Award in the Module category.”
Faurecia’s winning entry was the adaptive valve, an offset-shaft spring-return butterfly valve located in the intermediate pipe of the exhaust system. Its specific purpose is to address NVH concerns caused by cylinder deactivation by presenting the gas flow with a variable restriction.
The valve requires less package space than traditional systems, and its innovative design reduced the muffler weight of the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado by 26.5 pounds.
“We are honored to receive Altair’s Enlighten Award for the FCM adaptive valve,” said Dave DeGraaf, president of Faurecia Clean Mobility North America. “We are also extremely proud of our adaptive valve team for their hard work on this project. This recognition is a testament to their creativity and dedication.”
AP&T Wins in Enabling Technology Category
AP&T took top honors in the Enabling Technology category, a new award introduced in 2017 to recognize technological advances that enable manufacturers to save weight.
The company’s aluminum-forming technology is the world’s first multipurpose production line for high-strength aluminum sheet metal, enabling flexibility in the forming of high-strength car-body components with complex shapes, leading to weight savings between 30 percent and 50 percent.
“The multipurpose production line we developed enables outstanding flexibility in the forming of high-strength aluminum components (AA6xxx and AA7xxx) as well as an enhancement in freedom of design, making function and part integration possible in new ways,” said Christian Koroschetz, CTO, technology development, at AP&T.
The runner-up for this year’s Full Vehicle award was Honda for the multi-material space frame used to make the 2017 Acura NSX 48.5 pounds lighter.
Constellium claimed the second-place title in the Enabling Technology category for the HSA6 aluminum alloys, which support the development of vehicles that are up to 30 percent lighter than those produced using conventional 6000-series aluminum alloys.
The Altair Enlighten Award honors the greatest achievements in vehicle weight saving each year to inspire interest from policymakers, educators, students and the public, to create further competition for new ideas in the industry and to provide an incentive to share technological advances. A panel comprised of global automotive experts from industry, academia and the engineering media judged the 29 finalists.