Legislation pushes fastener limits
Newton, MA--A pilot suddenly loses control of his plane and crashes, killing hundreds of people. The cause is traced back to the main rudder power-control unit and, among other parts, a defective internal bolt on one of the unit's bearings.
Fastener failure in critical applications such as this fictional one and concern over the safety of the general public prompted Congress to draft the Fastener Quality Act (FQA) in 1990. The intent of the law was to reduce the risk of product malfunction by prohibiting substandard fasteners from being sold in the U.S. Some members of the fastener industry say the Act, signed into law in November 1996, may actually have harmful effects. They warn of ineffective technology, higher costs, and longer lead times for manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.
Currently, the FQA requires all fasteners to be inspected, tested, and certified to its specific regulations prior to sale. In addition, any organization involved in testing fasteners manufactured according to a consensus standard (such as SAE, ASTM, and ISO) must be accredited by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-recognized accrediting body.
The law cites NIST's own National Voluntary Accreditation Program (NVLAP) as the first accrediting body. Among the outside organizations applying to NIST for approval as accrediting bodies are the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA; Gaithersburg, MD) and the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) of the Society of Automotive Engineers' (SAE) Warrendale, PA-based Performance Review Institute (PRI).
Both organizations see the FQA as a positive step toward assuring product quality. "The law will lead to a much more controlled industry where issues such as bogus parts and illegal fasteners entering the country will get a much higher level of scrutiny," says Arshad Hafeez, NADCAP program director at PRI. "In the long term, an organized and managed fastener industry will benefit the public at large."
Many fastener companies are already lining up for accreditation, although no accrediting bodies have officially been recognized as of press time. Peter Unger, president of A2LA, says the organization has received well over 200 applications. That's out of 450 labs NIST estimates will need to receive accreditation.
But applying for accreditation does not necessarily mean these companies agree with the Act. In fact, many members of the fastener industry see the FQA as a serious setback. Charlie Wilson, technical director of the Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI; Cleveland, OH), believes the law will disrupt technological development in the industry. The problem: The Act does not reflect the progress the fastener industry has made in the 10 years since the FQA began its way through Congress.
The law was based on a final inspection system for quality that is now obsolete for most mass producers of parts. Over the years, companies have come to understand that if they control the manufacturing process, they don't need to spend time and money on final inspection. "Process control means you make the part the same way every time," says Bruce Meade, manager of corporate metallurgical services at fastener manufacturer Camcar/Textron, Rockford, IL. "As long as the process is being controlled, the product that comes out of the machine at the end should be of good quality, and inspecting it is really less of an issue."
Under the FQA, companies that have invested heavily in trying to achieve that objective would find themselves forced to step back technologically in time. "We have very serious concerns that if the FQA is put into place it could end up strangling our industry and pushing us back 10 years in terms of quality assurance," says Wilson. "It will put everyone in a lose-lose situation."
Wilson cites the progress that has been made in reducing part defects. Ten years ago, 10,000 to 20,000 non-conformances existed for every million parts produced. Thanks to modern process-control technology, he says, that level has decreased considerably, in some cases below 100 parts per million.
Time and money. "The Act is going to be a significant change in the way we do business, and we'll see dramatic increases in costs associated with it," cautions Camcar's Meade.
Now, a customer can authorize shipment of a lot that has not been completely tested, expecting that it will pass based on previous performance. The FQA would forbid release of such a lot, regardless of customer request. The result: longer lead times. The biggest concern is with corrosion-resistance testing, such as salt spray, which could require as many as 500 or 1,000 hours in a test chamber.
"The FQA will cause lead times to increase significantly," says Meade, "but not just from new testing requirements." It's not uncommon for blueprints to arrive with insufficient information, he ex-plains. "We already take great pains to make sure we have all the information we need, but with a federal law hanging over our heads, getting a verbal approval from a customer will no longer be enough. Those situations will now require written confirmation of changes."
And detail is going to become even more critical, he says. With prints in a foreign language, for example, it won't be enough for someone in the office to translate the information. "We'll have to get an English version from the customer, or a valid technical translation from an outside company. All of which will add to the time factor," Meade notes.
Another problem: The law will apply to all lots, whether 50,000 final pieces or 10 fasteners created as prototypes. Safety concerns for the general public do not come into play for prototypes not destined for an end product, yet manufacturers would still be required to produce every fastener as though it were covered by this law. "This means our ability to turn around samples and prototypes in a timely fashion will be affected as well," says Meade.
High stakes. In addition to longer lead times and costs incurred through increased testing, the law brings with it a range of other expenses say opponents: potential fees for workshop attendance to fully understand the law, payment for changes in paperwork to comply with FQA regulations, internal expenses associated with preparing for accreditation, fees paid to the accrediting body, plus a $925 payment to be on NIST's list of accredited laboratories.
"There is already a perception that the law will be very very expensive, and there is some merit to that," admits PRI's Hafeez. "But if people look at it in the long term,say five years from now, they'll see this was a good investment."
But the FQA itself may actually prevent some companies from realizing its benefits in five years. For example, smaller fastener manufacturers that cannot afford the expenses related to complying with the law could be forced to shut down, says Camcar's Meade. Intentional non-compliance could garner individuals a $250,000 fine, $500,000 for corporations. Both would also be subject to five-year jail terms.
Building efforts. Fastener manufacturers aren't the only ones opposed to the current law. At a NIST meeting held in February, automotive and aircraft companies and other major consumers of fasteners testified that it was imperative to make changes to the FQA. Auto industry representatives estimated the law could potentially add $15 to $22 to the cost of fasteners for each automobile.
Regulation amendments that would recognize and allow for the use of process controls have been proposed, and NIST is expected to make a final decision on what it deems acceptable by early fall. The deadline for full compliance with the current FQA is May 27, 1997, but an extension is expected to May 1998 to enable a sufficient number of laboratories to be accredited for testing.
For now, the fastener industry waits. There are no certainties, says Bruce Meade, except, perhaps, for this: "The law is going to affect us dramatically, our customers, our suppliers, and just about everybody who's associated with fasteners."
Updates on line
For a more in-depth review of the Fastener Quality Act, check out the NIST web site. Information can be accessed at http://www.nist.gov/FQA
You can find FQA updates and answers to commonly asked questions at Camcar/Textron's web site. Go to http://www.camcar.textron.com and look under the "What's new" section.
The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation also provides updates, along with information on how to attain accreditation. Visit its web site at http://www.a2la.org
Plastic radiator moves closer to market
Detroit--A licensing agreement between DuPont and Toronto-based Cesaroni Technology will bring developmental heat exchangers and contoured radiators made of thermoplastic resin one step closer to reality. The agreement allows Cesaroni to make, use, and sell the nylon-based heat exchangers in the marine and military markets.
"Using a thermoplastic resin instead of metal for heat exchangers and radiators offers designers tremendous packaging flexibility, while providing corrosion resistance, weight savings, impact resistance, and recyclability," says Bruce Babcock, DuPont nylon heat exchanger business manager.
The heat exchanger uses no fins, but relies on a large, wetted surface area for convective heat transfer to cool engine fluids. A modified nylon 66 resin is used to construct the flexible exchangers.
Design News booth showcases hot new products, trends
Chicago--In March, engineers from around the world gathered to view the latest in engineering technology at the National Design Engineering Show housed at McCormick Place. Design News celebrated NDES by showcasing a collection of the most interesting technologies to appear in the magazine during the months prior to the exhibition.
Visitors to the booth tried their hand at the pinball game "Attack From Mars." De-signed in AutoCAD, chor-eographed via software, and CPU-driven, this game em-ploys dot-matrix displays, MIDI-generated sound, anda crazy mix of electromechanical toys to capture its players. Proof that today's games rely on much more than traditional electromechanical parts, At-tack from Mars features more than 1,000 components.
Try to envision an opaque material that, at the flick of an electric switch, turns transparent. 3M Corp.'s "Privacy Film" did just that in the Design News booth. Not a polarizing film or LED-based design, this new product pro-mises to revolutionize applications such as bus windows, automotive sunroofs, and vi-sors for training firemen and pilots.
Also making an appearance at the booth: Numonics Corp.'s Interactive FlipChart (IFC). Though it looks like a standard paper flip chart, the unit connects to a user's computer via a serial cable. A cordless digitizing marking pen sends information from the paper to the computer, immediately capturing data for later use. The novel device won the magazine's Best Product of the Year award.
SensAble Technologies was on hand with haptic devices that add the sense of feel to CAD. If a flower vase appears on your computer screen in 3-D, for example, the devices would let you feel the curvature of the vase's surface, both on the inside and out.
The more daring NDES attendees stopped by Design News' booth for a ride on Max-Flight's virtual roller coaster. Passengers sel-ected a sequence of nine track sections featuring im-possible physics. A virtual track for a visual frame of reference and 360-degree roll and pitch motion made the ride a little too realistic for some.
Indy driver database established
Warren, MI--Engineers at GM's Delphi Interiors, Human Factors Ergonomics Group, working with the GM Motorsport Group, re-cently developed a database comprising measurements of Indianapolis racecar drivers. The measurements establish the dimensions of the typical Indy driver.
To develop the database, engineers made anthropometric measures of about 40 Indy drivers using a manually operated FaroArm® articulated measurement arm with seven degrees of freedom. "You touch the probe wherever you want to take a data point, and the software will construct the geometric features from the data," explains FARO Technologies Inc. Applications Engineer Dan Perreault. Operating one switch on the probe establishes a data point, another switch tells the arm's controller that data collection is complete.
In this application, "if you're measuring a human being, you'll typically set up a coordinate system on the person," explains Perreault. "Maybe you'll take a point on each side of the pelvis and then on the head, and that sets up a reference system, and all the measurements will be relative to that system."
Users can save measurements to IGES, ASCII, or other file formats. The portable device provides an accuracy of ±0.007 inch for single-point repeatability and ±0.012 inch for linear displacement. Usable "out of the box," the FaroArm comes with a software utility package that handles basic data collection along with probe offsets and similar information. Different models of the FaroArm range in price from $14,000 to about $75,000, according to Perreault, depending on the size, reach, and accuracy the user demands. The company offers a series of arms providing 6, 8, 10, and 12 feet of spherical working volume.
Data gathered by Delphi Interiors human-factors engineers included 12 basic body measurements, plus any unique physical attributes of the drivers. Engineers then determined the maximum, minimum, and median of each measurement. Results indicate that the typical Indy driver is slightly smaller than the average person.
Data profiles developed at Delphi Interiors will help engineers enhance driver comfort in Indy racecars by designing better seats. Also, more effective placement of body restraints within racecars, made possible by referring to database information, should make racing vehicles safer.
Material locks in lock's strength
Crete, IL--When designing its new series of composite padlocks for safety lock-out applications, American Lock Co. needed a material that could stand the test of time. It found that material in a long-glass-reinforced polypropylene composite.
"We chose Verton® MFX composite because it provides twice the strength of other plastics currently available for the industry," says Philip Settecase, American Lock's vice president of sales and marketing. "It's a nonconductive material, and one that's lighter in weight and less costly than metal." LNP Engineering Plastics, Exton, PA, supplied the composite for this application.
Padlocks made from the Verton composite have the same color options and imprinting capabilities as American's established line of solid-body aluminum locks. One key feature, says Settecase, "is the custom engraving on the front and back sides of the lock. Anodized aluminum inserts--permanently affixed at the point of manufacture--can be laser engraved with an employee's name, ID number, or logo."
Composite components use grows in automotive arena
Detroit--A total of 106 new Sheet Molding Composite (SMC) components are debuting on passenger cars and trucks during the 1997 model year. That's the latest finding from the SMC Automotive Alliance (SMCAA), a trade group that monitors industry trends.
The group reports that over one-quarter of the 438 SMC components currently on vehicles are new this model year, representing a 43% increase in components announced in 1996. The breakdown reads like this: 37 new parts on cars; 13 new parts on light trucks, vans, and utility vehicles; and 56 new applications on heavy trucks.
"Although body panels like hoods, decklids, and fenders represent about 85% of the SMC applications currently on cars and trucks, there are 38 new SMC structural components in 1997--more than triple the number in 1993," reports Jim Grzelak, SMCAA chairman.
The restyled Jeep Wrangler roof uses the first pigmented SMC, which eliminates the need to paint the roof's interior. "That significantly cuts costs and eliminates manufacturing operations," Grzelak adds.
GM's first production electric car debuts with all of its major body panels made from low-density SMC, a very lightweight material with a specific gravity of 1.3--compared with 1.9 for conventional SMC and 7.8 for steel. In addition, about 30% of the aluminum-intensive Plymouth Prowler's exterior panels are SMC. This includes the rear quarter panels, front fender, front quarter extensions, windshield surround, rear valance panel, and fuel fill door.
In heavy trucks, Kenworth's newly introduced T-2000 Class-8 has about 1,000 lbs of SMC, representing the largest single use of the material. Parts include: hood, cab door assembly, aero- and mid-roofs, bumper, storage doors, firewall assembly, side deflectors, and A and D pillars.
"SMC's design flexibility and light weight helped Kenworth create a very aerodynamic truck with a dramatic hood slope that improves the driver's forward visibility," Grzelak explains. "Drag coefficient was improved by 69%, and fuel economy was enhanced by 3%."
New SMC structural components include: a fascia support for the Buick Regal and Olds Cutlass Supreme; grille opening reinforcements on the Ford Windstar minivan; and valve covers on the 5.4l engine on the Ford F-Series light trucks.
Design News banquet rewards engineering achievement
Chicago--For the 10th consecutive year, Design News bestowed its Engineering Achievement Awards on the best and brightest engineers during National Manufacturing Week. The event, which featured a black-tie banquet at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, was a highlight of the National Design Engineering Show last March.
Paramount among the award recipients was Bernard Dagarin, the chief engineer for the Jupiter atmosphere probe that the Galileo spacecraft deployed in 1995. Dagarin was voted Engineer ofthe Year by the readers of Design News. The Hughes engineer successfully guided the project through disasters and setbacks, including the elimination of the SpaceShuttle as a launch vehiclein the wake of the Challenger disaster, requiring significant revisions in design.
Many participants in and observers of the Galileo program said Dagarin's leadership maintained the resolve of a staff nearly demoralized by the delays incurred by the redesign effort. Scientists regard the data acquired by the Jupiter probe as essential to unlocking the secrets of the solar system.
As Engineer of the Year, Dagarin designated the University of Alabama, Huntsville to receive a $20,000 donation provided by the Torrington Co., primary sponsor of the award since its inception.
According to Torrington's marketing communication manager, Milanne DiElsi, the company's involvement with the Engineering Achievement Awards is an integral part of its year-round support for advanced engineering, research, and education around the country. "This program enables us to join other industry leaders in carrying an im-portant message of support to students and young engineers," Di-Elsi says.
Exploration of inner space--the ocean depths--is the vocation of Graham Hawkes. His work developing revolutionary submersibles for science, industry, the military, and the under-ocean-going-public earned Hawkes the Special Achievement Award.
An aviation enthusiast growing up, Hawkes brought a barnstormer's spirit to the Special Boat Section of the Royal Navy out of college. His attempts to stir up the backwater state of small underwater craft met with resistance, so he struck out on his own. Today, more than 70% of all manned submersibles are Hawkes' designs.
NTN Bearing Corp., sponsor of the Special Achievement Award, donated $15,000 to Florida Atlantic University on Hawkes' behalf. A supplementary award went to Brunel University in the UK.
Ken Dabrowski, Ford's vice president for quality and process leadership, received the Engineering Quality Award for his work in getting people to out-of-the-way places. Dabrowski supervised the development of the toughest, best engineered vehicles in the world. His pursuit of quality has helped make best-sellers of the F-150 and Ranger pickups, and the Explorer sport utility.
Schneeberger Inc. will present a $15,000 grant to the University of Detroit-Mercy in Dabrowski's name.
Also honored was David Parish, engineer and president of Omnitech Robotics Inc., for his standardized kits that convert vehicles for remote control. Parish went to Bosnia to oversee the installation of his robotics systems into U.S. Army mine-clearing tanks as part of Operation Joint Endeavor. His technology protects the lives of soldiers working to protect the lives of others, and so Parish received the Excellence in Computer-Aided Design Award.
Microsoft, sponsor of the award, presented a $5,000 prize to Parish, and donated $5,000 to the University of Colorado, Boulder in his name.
The achievements of many other engineers were recognized as well. And Design News presented awards for the best products of the year, as determined by a panel of experts.
System ups engine power
Warren, MI--Borg-Warner Automotive Air/Fluid System Corp. and Solvay Automotive Inc. have unveiled an air-intake system that helps improve torque and fuel efficiency for Chrysler's new 3.2 and 3.5l aluminum V-6 engines. The secret: a a fusible-core injection-molding method and an advanced long-runner/short-runner valve system that creates a manifold with improved air flow.
Solvay Automotive provides the fusible-core injection-molded manifold. The lost-core process involves molding a part around a metal core, which is then melted away, leaving a manifold with a smooth inner wall. This, in turn, lowers friction and increases air-flow efficiency.
Borg-Warner assembles the throttle body assembly, manifold tuning valve, and short-runner valve system to the manifold. The manifold tuning valve broadens the mid-range torque band. The short-runner valve system increases high-speed power. Integration of the short-runner valve results in an "active" manifold. The final air-intake system ships to Chrysler's Trenton, MI, engine facility.
Single chip records and plays back human speech
San Jose, CA--ChipCorderTM series chips from Information Storage Devices (ISD) provide personal-electronics designers with record functions and realistic-speech playback on a single 3V chip. The key feature is direct analog storage of voice and audio signals into the on-chip memory without intervening analog-to-digital converters. Analog input and output allows direct interfacing to a speaker and microphone, obviating digital-signal-processing circuitry for encoding and decoding. The nonvolatile memory eliminates using battery power for memory retention.
The chip records from one to four minutes of speech, depending on the sampling rate. The best sound quality is with audio input sampling at the highest rate, 8 kHz.
Joe Jarrett, applications manager for ISD, notes that the ChipCorder offers more storage per cell than digital binary chips. "Digitally you'd need eight cells per sample, but we're storing a sample in a single cell with lossless 8:1 compression," he says. "We take the sample, then write its voltage level to the cell. This gives the equivalent of 8-bit accuracy in a single cell for 256 cell levels."
More sampling time allows for more features. Ability to implement both answering-machine and voice-memo functions on a single chip led Motorola engineers to use the ChipCorder in its StarTAC 8600 cellular phone, which has four minutes of record time.
In addition to cost and being a single-chip solution, the extensive analog storage for human-voice-like output was a deciding factor in selection of the ChipCorder for the latest Model 1580 radar-laser detector from Whistler (Chelmsford, MA). "It's a neat little chip that does real audio recording," says Senior Development Engineer Craig Autio. The detector receives intelligent-highway-transmitter warning and advisory signals, which are decoded as one of 64 safety messages. The ChipCorder speaks the message to the driver in a female voice.
Because the ChipCorder sports a four-pin serial interface, it is easier to integrate and occupies less circuit-board real estate than parallel-addressed chips with more pins. Three of the pins are for voice recording and the user interface connected to the system microcontroller. The last pin is available for other control functions.
Panel integrates car controls
Pittsburgh--After the warm reception given to the integrated control panel (ICP) for the 1996 Ford Taurus, the automaker wanted a similarly sculptured part for its 1997 Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer. The solution: insert-mold decoration using film technology from Serigraph Inc., molding and assembly technology from Key Plastics Inc., and a polycarbonate film from Bayer Corp.'s Polymers Div.
The new ICP incorporates the controls for the radio/cassette, HVAC system, rear defroster, and clock into a single oval-shaped bezel that embodies four colors, different textures, and a low-gloss look.
"Insert-mold decoration gives manufacturers flexibility in design and colors, as well as a durable product," says Jan Livingston, group leader for in-mold decorating research and development at Serigraph, West Bend, WI. "There's no post-mold decorating, so labor costs can be reduced. You also tend to get a lower rejection rate compared to techniques that often have registration problems."
The manufacturing process starts at Serigraph, where Bayer's Makrofol® DE 1-1 polycarbonate film is screen printed with a proprietary elastic ink system. The film, a special graphic-quality extrusion grade, offers tight gauge control and excellent mechanical and thermal properties.
Once screen printed, the film is thermoformed to get an intimate fit to the molding cavity. Serigraph then die-cuts the printed film and sends it to Key Plastics, Novi, MI, where an automated system inserts the film into the mold, aligning the film with the part's 24 openings. A polycarbonate resin is shot behind the film, which bonds to the surface of the material and forms an integral part. The finished ICP measures 11×7 inches and has a thickness up to 3/4 inch.
"We've gotten a very good bond of the film to the plastic with no adhesion loss," reports Doug Carmer, Key's product engineering manager.
Society cites plastics design winners
..Two applications--both of which use engineering resins from BASF Plastics--have received 1997 design awards from the Society of Plastics Engineers. The SPE's 1997 Industrial Plastics Product Design Award was given to W/C Technologies Corp., Troy, MI, for its PF/2 Energized Flush toilet system, which uses Ultradur B thermoplastic polyester. And Kimball Office Furniture, Jasper, IN, took home the Consumer Plastics Product Design Award for its office chair, which uses Ultramid nylon.
At the society's Annual Technical Conference in Toronto, Canada, SPE President Jay L. Gardiner presented the awards during a luncheon on April 29 at the Toronto Convention Center. The SPE says the criteria judges used in selecting the winners were design integrity and innovation, environmental benefits, value to the marketplace, appearance, and manufacturability.
BASF provided both award winners with close technical support throughout the development of the products. Assistance included: structural analysis work in designing the molded parts, flow analysis to optimize the physical properties, processing assistance during molding trials, and product modification to optimize material properties and appearance.
Plastic hangers improve skate's performance
Lincoln Park, NJ--By placing its wheels in a "V" pattern, the designers of this professional roller hockey skate enable wearers to perform quick, hockey-style braking and 40 to 50% tighter turns than they could make on standard in-line skates. Furthermore, the design gives the TST-2000 better stability than a conventional skate, according to Michael Delia, senior vice president of V-Formation Inc., the skate's manufacturer. Patents are pending.
Rugged hangers molded from DuPont Zytel® 80G33L nylon resin support the skate's wheels. Attached to a metal sole plate, each hanger supports an axle that holds a wheel tilted at 16 degrees from the vertical. Alternating hangers face in opposite directions, setting the wheels at opposing angles in the form of a "V".
"The V configuration provides two centers of gravity," explains Delia. Two of the skate's four wheels always remain perpendicular to the ground during turns for greater control and maneuverability.
DuPont engineers helped V-Formation select Zytel 80G33L, a glass-reinforced formulation, and optimize the hanger design to withstand impact loads, vibration, and stresses caused by braking and turning.
"The original prototype had three sides that didn't hold up well to stress or impact loads," says Bill Marks, a design specialist at DuPont Engineering Polymers. "We helped V-Formation develop a four-sided design that can withstand higher stress." The new design also includes an integral molded recess that shields the wheel axle against ground contact during sharp turns.
V-Formation's tests show that when molded in Zytel 80G33L the design resists impact forces as high as 2,000 lbs. The material also provides good energy absorption to dampen vibrations, improve stability, and reduce fatigue. Introduced to the commercial market last winter, TST-2000 skates come with double-stitched leather boots and retail for $350.
Transducer grabs wheel data
Farmington Hills, MI--Developed to measure road load force and torque on a wheel, the six-component Model 32051 force/torque transducer from RS Technologies, Inc. measures three forces and three moments on an auto or truck wheel. It captures longitudinal, lateral and vertical forces, along with turn-over moment, wheel torque, and turning moment.
At the heart of the system is a six-axis strain gage transducer element. David Miller, manager of sales and marketing at RS Technologies, describes it as a proprietary version of a strut-type design. Users mount the sensor between a driving hub and tire. When excited, it produces an analog output signal. In the RS Technologies' system, an analog data recorder captures transducer output. A relay-activated shunt calibration circuit allows system checkout before use. Nonlinearity and hysteresis of the Model 32051 are ±0.5%, and it can operate at temperatures from -25C to 150C.
Engineers employ an integral angle position encoder to provide speed and position monitoring for ABS/traction-control studies and differential performance analysis. The angle position encoder generates up to 2,880 pulses for resolution to 1/8 degree.
Electric supercar uses closed-loop cooling
Hethel, Norfolk, England--A prototype all-electric Lotus Elise, powered by two internal, oil-cooled, brushless dc motors, weighs just 875 kg. Simulations predict a 30 to 70 mph time of five seconds for the vehicle and a range of 120 miles.
Made by Zytek Automotive Ltd., the motors are mounted on lightweight aluminum single-ratio Zytek gearboxes. Each weighs 13 kg, and the two together produce a total of 200 bhp (brake horsepower), or 150 kW. A closed-loop, pressurized cooling system for the motors employs a conventional transformer oil that flows through slots in the stator laminations, and over the windings. This approach re-moves heat produced in the stator windings by I2R losses. Zytek claims the motor is the first production EV motor to use this technique to cool critical components.
Power for the motors comes from a 300V nickel cadmium battery pack. Engineers selected nickel cadmium technology to ensure steady voltage throughout most of the discharge cycle. Recharge to 95% of capacity will require 60 minutes. An electronic control system made by Zytek coordinates all power-related functions and provides both regenerative braking and traction control.
Vehicle running gear, bodywork, and the extruded and bonded aluminum chassis are retained from the standard Elise. In the future, passen-ger compartment heating will be provided using heat from the motor cooling oil, which is cooled by the standard Elise radiator.
Engineers canonize a new saint
by John Lewis Northeast Technical Editor
Santa Barbara, CA--In Leslie Charteris's first book about the Saint, Simon Templar drove a long and beautiful car known as the Hirondel. In the 1960s, Roger Moore chose Volvo's P1800, making it one of Templar's most renowned cars. This year, the latest Saint flick stars Val Kilmer and puts the modern day gentleman thief behind the wheel of another Volvo--the C70.
Available in North America in late 1997, the C70 will cost about $43,000. It offers fun-to-drive performance and a new look for Volvo: This time Volvo kept the toy, and threw away the box! The upright and assertive grill, with the traditional diagonal band, remains in tact. But it merges smoothly into a bonnet characterized by a "V" extending from the grill to the windscreen pillars.
Unlike the smooth straight sides of the S70 sedan and V70 wagon, the coupe's corners turn in. Sloping body lines cheat perspective, making the full length apparent only from side-center view. The C70 appears shorter than the 850--the platform for all above-mentioned vehicles--but is actually 2 inches longer.
A hint of cab-forward design places the window's base closer to the front and further refines this car's departure from traditional Volvo styling. Another bold statement in form is the way the sharply sculpted sides extend over the wheels and sweep inward near the doors.
A turbocharged (with intercooler) transverse 5-cylinder, in-line, all-aluminum engine propels the C70 from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. Although a four-speed automatic transmission is available, the full synchromesh five-speed gearbox really lets you play in the broad torque range.
The front suspension employs spring struts with integrated shock absorbers and forged aluminum lower wishbones that maintain stability under heavy braking. A delta-link rear suspension with twin steering links gives some rear-wheel steering compliance when cornering and helps counteract oversteer.
..Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 104.7 inches
Max. length 185.8 inches
Max. width 72.0 inches
Max. height 55.1 inches
Ground clearance 5.6 inches
Drag coefficient 0.29
Track front/rear 59.8 inches
Turning circle 39 feet
Curb weight 3325-3410 lbs
Gross weight 4140-4190 lbs
Weight distribution f/r 61/39%
Cargo capacity 13.1 ft3
Fuel tank volume 70 liters
0-60 6.9 sec
Max. speed 155 mph