Dignitaries and Automotive Journalists honored a wide range of products and technologies at the International Grand Prix for Technical Innovation at Equip Auto in Paris, France today. The awards recognized innovations in the aftermarket and Original Equipment levels of the automotive industry. Products as diverse as the Valeo Silencio wiper blade and the Luk Auto Shift Gearbox were among the honorees. While these products are being released to the European market, they do provide insight into future possibilities for the Canadian and North American markets. The full list of award winners follows.
GARAGE & BODYSHOP EQUIPMENT Gold Trophy–Saitek Invertex-ZS Two years ago Saitek launched the first high-frequency welding set, the Invertex Z1. This year the company will show a development of this machine: the Invertex ZS. This spot welding set, mounted on a travelling carriage to facilitate work on areas of bodywork that are difficult to reach, develops 9,600 amps from a standard 32 amp supply without tripping the circuit-breaker. This inverter-type spot welding machine can be used for welding steel and aluminum alloys and removing dents and bumps from steel and aluminum alloys. The range of automatic frequency variation is from 500Hz to 3,000Hz. A set of arms which takes under 15 seconds to fit converts the X tongs into C tongs.
Silver Trophy–Valeo Reglolux Headlight Inspection A rapid and accurate tool for diagnosing the operating status of headlamps, the objectives of the Valeo Reglolux are: to identify defective or poor quality lighting and the quality of headlamp maintenance for the promotion of safety. It consists of a regloscopic function (up/down and right/left adjustment) and a luxmeter function (to check the photometric intensity). A camera system with image processing provides clear diagnosis. By combining three tools in one, Reglolux exceeds the functionalities of existing equipment. The results can be printed out and the motorist traced.
Bronze Trophy–3 M France Simplified Preparation of Paint The simplified paint preparation system submitted by 3M consists of a graduated spray gun pot with a clamping ring, an adapter for fixing the pot to the spray gun with a quarter turn and flexible disposable pot protectors with lids fitted with a 200 micron filter (125 micron filters are also available). It also includes graduated mixing rules, a bottle of cleaning fluid, a pot protector dispenser and a filter dispenser for dust protection. Mixing takes place directly in the pot protector. This is placed in the graduated pot and saves having to use a mixing pot and conical filter, and then having to transfer the mixed paint into the spray pot. Once mixing is completed, the lid protects the paint from contamination and the painter from solvent vapor. The paint is filtered as it is sprayed. The pot protector is under vacuum to allow spraying in all directions, even in reverse. Leftover paint can be stored in the closed pot protector using a hermetic cap. The use of a disposable pot protector means that cleaning is limited to the spray gun body (and less solvent is used).
AFTERMARKET SERVICE AND ACCESSORIES Gold Trophy–Valeo Silencio Flat Blade Windscreen wiper blades with no metal frame the Silencio flat blade does not have the usual metal "bridge" which both holds the blade and presses it evenly against the windscreen. This rubber blade has its own structure due to the properties of the types of rubber used and the spoiler design of its "backbone". The first replacement range to use this technology, the Silencio flat blade has an obvious aerodynamic and acoustic advantage. The absence of a metal structure considerably reduces turbulence and the resulting noise and vibrations. This performance is enhanced by the uniform distribution of pressure along the blade. The reduced dimensions also improve visibility and therefore safety. The Silencio flat blade uses the wear indicator already offered by Valeo in other ranges. For the aftermarket, an adapter facilitates fitting on the arm.
Silver Trophy-Hella Radio-Controlled Connection System Fitting additional lights or certain electrical accessories often causes a problem with the controls on the dashboard. This has become even more difficult since in the last few years manufacturers have considerably reinforced the sound insulation between the engine compartment and the passenger compartment, making drilling a delicate and undesirable operation. The radio-controlled connection system from Hella sends a radio signal from the remote control placed in the passenger compartment and the headlamps or other lighting equipment or accessory supply relays. Since this is a wireless connection there is no longer any need to drill the dashboard. This radio-controlled connection facilitates mounting, saves installation time, opens up many possible applications and preserves the integrity and aesthetic appearance of the vehicle.
Bronze Trophy–Peugeot Bodywork Maintenance The concept of Peugeot Bodywork Maintenance is an interesting response to customer expectations in the area of rapid repairs to the bodywork and passenger compartment. In short, it means finding answers for all kinds of minor damage (bumps, scratches, bumpers, windscreens etc) that is not covered by insurance, usually because of an excess, loss of no-claims bonus or an unidentified third party. Launched last February, this new service also extends to repairing second-hand cars. It operates according to a concept of rapid repair, with or without an appointment, reasonable prices, job completion within a day and so on. As a partner of Automobiles Peugeot, Pact also offers : a repair kit for fabric or velvet seats. It consists of 52 colors of fibbers and adhesives (liquid, spray and fusible) for repairing burns and snags; a dashboard repair kit composed of 13 paint bases, aerosols and fillers, for repairing fixing holes and snags in leather or vinyl.
ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT NEW TECHNOLOGIES Gold Trophy–Luk ASG / Opel Easytronic The ASG (AutoShift Gearbox) which appeared on the Opel Corsa 1.2 16V in December 2000 offers a choice between manual or automatic gear changing. It has the functionalities of a modern gearbox (drive, detection of uphill/downhill, kickdown and winter mode) but because of its three electric motors the ASG LuK does not need a hydraulic pump. It can thus receive a completely electronic command without a mechanical connection with the gearbox (shift by wire). It reacts immediately to the driver’s requirements and gear changes are extremely rapid. Moreover, it is the first AutoShift Gearbox to allow non-successive changes to gear ratios. The first ASG offered (as an option) on a compact car, it does not require additional external detectors and this also contributes to its competitive price. Another very important technical point is that its weight is less that 4kg greater than that of a manual box (and it is therefore markedly less than the weight of an automatic box).
Silver Trophy–Continental Teves Integrated Braking System Continental Teves has developed a program that reduces braking distances by combining all the interactive technologies concerned with contact with the ground (road, tires, chassis, suspension and braking system). This approach is naturally optimized by the range of activities of the Continental group. Continental AG has provided specific technical support for the program trials. Stopping distances of less than 30 meters have been achieved in trials at 100km/h. The equipment was fitted with concept tires, and electro-hydraulic braking system and an electronically controlled chassis. – The concept tire has a coefficient of adhesion of 1.36 compared with 1.1 for an ordinary tire. It has integral sidewall deformation detectors which enable the braking pressure to be adjusted in accordance with the data transmitted. – The electro-hydraulic braking system (EHB), a precursor of "brake by wire", allows finer regulation and a shorter response time (locking pressure is reached more quickly through the use of a pressure accumulator, an emergency braking detector and optimized regulation software). – The controlled chassis with ESS pneumatic suspension and adjustable shock absorbers optimizes the comfort/safety compromise and the continuing contact between the tire and the road surface. It also lowers the body by 25mm at speeds above 100km/h to compensate for the reduced load on the rear wheels.
Bronze Trophy–Robert Bosch Direct Gasoline Injection System Manufactured and supplied in series production since March 2000 on the Volkswagen Lupo FSI, the gasoline motor control system designed and produced by Bosch consists of high pressure injectors (12MPa), a high-pressure pump, a fuel manifold with a sensor and fuel pressure regulator and a new electronic control unit that includes dual-structure management of the engine functions (MED7). Compared with standard (indirect type) petrol injection systems, the system injects the petrol directly into the combustion chamber. It enables a uniform and stratified combustion mode of working and thus gives a significant reduction (15%) in petrol consumption while at the same time satisfying the Euro IV emission standards.