Join SLM Solutions and Cumberland Additive for an in-depth look into the importance of safety with metal additive laser powder bed fusion machines. Cumberland Additive has been operating a fleet of Metal and Polymer 3D printers for more than 10 years. It’s no secret that fine metal powders can be dangerous, CA’s Nick Bass will provide an inside look on their safety process, as well as explore important safety mechanisms in laser powder bed fusion equipment. With robust safety controls in place, you can be confident that your facility is prepared and protected from metal powder exposure or ignition.
Clemson, South Carolina – Working on self-driving vehicles is exciting for many reasons. Rarely do you get an opportunity to help change the way we move. While the Ford team is excited about the chance we have to shape the future of mobility, we also feel a responsibility to help foster this excitement with the next generation of engineers.
Working with students doesn’t just help prepare them for a successful career in the automotive industry — it also keeps Ford at the forefront of cutting-edge research and creative thinking. We regularly collaborate with universities across the country to foster the growth of students and advance research in a variety of areas, from self-driving algorithm development to the study of new manufacturing materials.
For the past few years, Ford has been working with students in Clemson University’s Deep Orange automotive program. Now in its 12th year, Deep Orange is a two-year Masters program that teaches by doing — it assembles students into teams and challenges them to design and build a fully functioning concept car. Working collaboratively with each other, faculty and industry veterans like those of us at Ford, students get a first-hand look at how a car goes from concept to reality.
Sponsored by Ford, Deep Orange 10 tasked students with designing a functioning self-driving vehicle prototype — one that turned out to be the first ever built at Clemson. It wasn’t enough to simply develop a car that could drive itself (though as anyone in the field could tell you, that’s not very simple at all!) Students also had to design and create an innovative user experience, which led them to consider how ride comfort, voice and gesture control and other elements could improve trips for potential customers.
Throughout the course, my Ford colleagues and I met with students on a regular basis to conduct design reviews and hold brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas. Students got an understanding of the entire vehicle design cycle, plus critical experience in how to think through problems when what you’re building with your hands doesn’t quite match up to what you envisioned in a virtual design environment. Here are a few highlights ahead of the vehicle’s upcoming reveal.
Playing with space
The Clemson team had a lot of room to get creative with their interior design concepts, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Envisioned as a personal-use vehicle, the interior was designed to feel like a living room on wheels, with seats facing each other and sliding, swing-out doors that open when entering and exiting. An interior projection screen would also display information like navigation or music choices.
Students may have honed in on the customer experience for their concept, but they still had to develop and build a vehicle that could drive itself, which is no easy task. Using a golf cart as one of their prototypes, the team tested the capabilities of their parking software — even getting the vehicle to detect and maneuver properly in parallel parking situations.
Later vehicle builds also tested various self-driving technologies the students developed.
Pointing in the right direction
To make parking decisions even easier, the Clemson team came up with the novel idea of letting riders give voice- and gesture-based commands. A passenger could point and say to park on the left side of the vehicle, for example, and the car would go ahead and find a place to park on that side. It’s not only a clever idea, but in the COVID-19 era would also reduce the need for more touch-based interfaces.
Monitoring for comfort
A key element of the interior experience involves passenger comfort, and the students wanted to include ways for the self-driving vehicle to adjust its behavior if people inside were getting motion sickness. The team proposed monitoring how people were feeling using smart shirts and motion sickness assessments, and incorporated the ability for the vehicle to adjust its speed if riders felt uncomfortable.
It was inspiring to see how Deep Orange gives students a comprehensive view of what it takes to conceive of, design and build a real self-driving vehicle. Congratulations to all the students who made Deep Orange 10 successful! While we look forward to helping the Clemson team reveal the final prototype soon, we are even more excited about the huge impact these graduates are bound to have on the future.
James Forbes is customer interaction and experience development manager at Ford Motor Co.
In May, NewAge Industries, the parent company of AdvantaPure, bought two of three units in a building within seven miles of its headquarters. NewAge recently purchased the remaining unit and now owns the entire seven-acre property consisting of over 90,000ft2 of future production, warehouse, and office space.
“This acquisition completes one plan and puts another in motion,” notes Ken Baker, CEO. “Our search for the right property landed us this convenient location, just fifteen minutes from our headquarters. Now that we own the entire building, the next steps begin.”
Investing in the building, which was purchased with cash, will allow NewAge to increase manufacturing capacity for its AdvantaPure high purity line of products. The facility will house additional tubing extrusion equipment and mold presses in a design planned to maximize workflows and optimize efficiencies.
NewAge recently started Phase 1 of renovations and is preparing areas for cleanroom manufacturing and offices for production and quality department personnel. The company will use the facility as an additional site for the manufacture of AdvantaSil silicone tubing and braid reinforced hose, weldable and sealable AdvantaFlex thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) tubing, and Single-Use molded tubing assemblies.
Demand for tubing, reinforced hose, and molded assemblies has increased considerably in recent months, with many of the products being used in COVID-19 applications such as virus detection test kits, laboratory work on antibodies, ventilators and vaccine development. NewAge Industries-AdvantaPure has hired new team members to keep pace with growth and continues to fill open positions.
“The new property will increase our manufacturing capacity a great deal,” Baker notes. “We expect to eventually produce two-to-three times the amount of platinum-cured silicone and TPE tubing we’re currently making at our headquarters.
“It’s important that we’re preparing for this now, because COVID-19 and all of its repercussions won’t be going away any time soon. We understand security of supply and the critical nature of the products we’re providing to our customers.”
Renovations will continue through 2020 and into next year. Extrusion equipment and injection molding presses, many of which are already purchased and on site, will be set up in stages as areas of the building are prepared. NewAge Industries-AdvantaPure anticipates testing and validation of manufacturing equipment and environments to occur in 2021. The facility will be ISO 9001:2015 certified.
Cleveland, Ohio – General Motors doubled down on electric drive with $2.2 billion in plant spending announcements to support electric vehicles (EVs) and debuted the $113,000 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1, what the automaker is calling an electric super truck due out late next year.
“We are committed to investing in the U.S., our employees and our communities,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “These investments underscore the success of our vehicles today, and our vision of an all-electric future.”
In the last 19 months, GM has committed to invest more than $4.5 billion at three U.S. manufacturing sites to prepare those facilities for EV-related vehicle production. In January, GM announced it was investing $2.2 billion at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, now known as Factory ZERO, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center. That plant will build the Hummer and the Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle.
The first edition of the GMC Hummer revives the name of GM’s former giant SUV line, derived from military vehicles. Those gas guzzlers went away during the Great Recession, but the name will live on in zero-emissions form. The truck coming out next year boasts the performance levels needed to justify its six-figure price tag: 1,000hp, 11,500 lb-ft of torque, 4-wheel steering that will allow diagonal drive mode,35” wheels, and a 350-mile range.
“The GMC Hummer EV is revolutionary, defying what the industry thinks of as a pickup truck,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC. “The Edition 1’s tailored off-road content will make HUMMER EV’s unprecedented capability and zero-emissions a very special proposition for customers.”
While the truck will start with a lofty price tag, GM has plans to lower pricing in future years with a $100,000 version in late 2022, and $90,000 model in early 2023, and an $80,000 version by early 2024. Those future editions will have fewer features than the Edition 1 model.
Along with the upgrades to Factory Zero to build the pickup, GM is spending heavily elsewhere to support its EV goals. Plans include:
- $2 billion in Spring Hill (Tennessee) Manufacturing to build fully electric vehicles including the luxury Cadillac Lyriq; paint, body shops major expansions, comprehensive upgrades to general assembly area – machines, conveyors, controls, tooling
- $100 million in Lansing Delta Township (Michigan) Assembly to produce next-generation GMC Acadia (moving from Spring Hill to make room for the Cadillac EV)
- $32 million in Flint Assembly for future production of heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups
- $17 million in Romulus, Michigan, propulsion plant to enhance automation and increase capacity of 10-speed truck transmissions
- $3.5 million in Orion (Michigan) Assembly; $750,000 in Brownstown Charter Township, Michigan; additional production of Cruise AV test vehicle at Orion Assembly
GM’s Spring Hill plant will continue to make Cadillac XT5 and XT6 crossovers.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and Today's eMobility and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 19 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.
The power module for VoltAero’s Cassio production aircraft is now undergoing flight testing on the Cassio 1 testbed, marking another major step in the company’s development of a series production hybrid-electric airplane family for regional transportation that will accommodate four to 10 seats, with flight ranges of up to 1,200km. and cruise speeds of 200kts.
Cassio 1 made its maiden flight equipped with the power module Oct. 11, 2020, from VoltAero’s Royan-Médis Airport home base in southwest France, followed by two additional in-flight evaluations during the following two days.
The proprietary power module installed in an aft-fuselage pusher position combines three 60kW high-performance electric motors arranged in a triangular barrel configuration ahead of a 370hp internal combustion engine.
This power module configuration prefigures the full-up powertrain for VoltAero’s largest production Cassio aircraft version – the 10-seat Cassio 600 – with a total hybrid-electric power of 600kW (800hp), enabling 200kts cruise (360km/hr) – which is fast for an aircraft in its category.
“The startup of power module flight testing represents a true milestone for hybrid-electric aviation, and it keeps us on track toward our goal of having initial Cassio production aircraft entering service during late 2022 or early 2023,” explained VoltAero’s CEO and Chief Technology Officer Jean Botti.
In regular operation, the power module’s electric motors will be used for low-noise takeoffs and landings, with the internal combustion engine serving as a range extender and for recharging the Cassio’s batteries while aloft. With VoltAero’s patented series/parallel hybrid design, the power module can operate in modes from full electric to full hybrid, depending on the customer mission profile and range requirement.
Additionally, as the electric motors and internal combustion engine are linked to a common shaft that drives a five-blade pusher propeller, the ability for each to operate independently provides a high level of propulsion safety – with one source acting as a backup in case of a problem or failure of the other.
VoltAero Technical Director and test pilot Didier Esteyne, who was at the controls of Cassio 1 for the flight tests, said he was impressed by the power module’s operation.
“I felt very comfortable with its performance from the first takeoff,” Esteyne explained. “The power module provides a real propulsive kick, and I look forward to opening the aircraft’s flight envelope.”
By installing and flight testing the power module on Cassio 1, VoltAero is gaining significant expertise that will be applied directly to its family of production Cassio aircraft. This includes integration of the entire battery power management system, the configuration of a new glass cockpit with optimized ergonomics for operation of the hybrid-electric power module, and the use of company-developed battery packs with their cooling systems.
In addition to the power module on Cassio 1, the testbed aircraft is equipped with two wing-mounted ENGINeUS 45 electric motors, which were supplied by Safran Electrical & Power and are installed in the forward-facing puller position. Prior to the maiden flight with VoltAero’s addition of the aft-mounted pusher power module, Cassio 1 had logged 14 hours and 25 flights aloft with these 45kW (70kW maximum) electric motors in a full range of operating conditions.
In its latest configuration, the Cassio 1 testbed aircraft will be presented publicly for the first time during a VoltAero flight demonstration and program update event on Oct. 21, 2020, to be streamed live via the VoltAero.aero website.