This isn't your father's pick-up truck. Instead, it's a concept truck intended to show the military just how tough a commercial truck can be as part of the U.S. Army's Commercially Based Tactical Truck (COMBATT) program. Based on Ford's F-350 Super Duty crew cab, this truck is structurally modified to handle gross vehicle weights of 12,700 lbs. Other modifications include enhanced axle differentials, an upgraded suspension, electronically-controlled shock absorbers, supplemental air springs, a central tire inflation system, and 37-inch tires with a run-flat system. The truck features an on-board computer with systems for GPS navigation, night vision, and collision warning, as well as an upgraded electrical system providing 12-, 24-, and 110-V power. To meet Army specifications, the truck must be able to ford 30-inch deep water and operate in temperatures from -50 to 120F. Unveiled at the SAE Congress in March, Ford's concept truck is joined in the COMBATT program by vehicles from Dodge and AM General.
Design collaboration now includes the entire value chain. From suppliers to customers, purchasing to outside experts, the collaborative design team includes internal and external groups. The design process now stretches across the globe in multiple software formats.
A new high-pressure injection-molding technology produces near-net shape parts with 2-inch-thick walls from high-performance materials like PEEK, PAI, and carbon-filled polymers. Parts show no voids, sinks, or porosity, have more consistent mechanical properties, and are stronger.
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