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Friday
Jul292016

Race-Bred Turbos

Owen Developments’ new GBT turbocharger is a clean-sheet design with an external wastegate and near symmetrical scroll with zero bolt penetration that enhances the circulation of exhaust gasses to the turbine. It is designed for fast road, track day, drifting and motorsport use for vehicles producing from 250 to 850 horsepower.

According to company director Lee Owen, “Over the years we have been required to manufacture and modify more and more components for performance and racing turbocharger applications. So we found ourselves at the point where we decided to take the next logical step up, manufacturing our own range of performance/motorsport turbochargers.”

In addition to conventional turbo oil line compatibility, the GBT incorporates an in-line filter in the turbo housing. This serviceable mesh unit can trap debris as small as 150 microns, and provides an extra layer of protection. The unit also features an HTA billet compressor wheel, billet heat shield, motorsport spec. ball bearing unit, conical compressor nut and anodized billet adaptor rings. Each turbo is rebuildable to help the customer save money. “A damaged compressor or turbine wheel can be repaired by our technicians without the customer being required to purchase a new turbo or core assembly,” says Owen.

The GBT family of turbos supersedes the company’s M-Spec portfolio, and is classified using the “OD-GBT” prefix. An OD-GBT-5471 has a 54-mm diameter turbine inlet, 71-mm compressor outlet, and is suitable for applications up to 480 horsepower. OD was recently selected as the sole turbo supplier of the FIA’s F2 race series, and appointed sole turbo supplier for the British Touring Car Championship through 2021. It has similar arrangements with the BMW Mini Challenge, Indy Light series and the Chinese Touring Car Championship. — CAS

Friday
Jul152016

Robots are Our Friends…

Ford has produced a surprisingly fun and witty look at how it and partner Kuka are integrating collaborative robots, or “co-bots”, into the production process. The first use of the technology is at Ford’s Cologne, Germany, assembly plant lifting the damper units for the Fiesta, and holding them in place. A human worker then presses a button on the assembly to complete the installation.

This begs the question of when Ford and Kuka will be so certain of the co-bot’s throughput that human intervention is no longer needed. However, Ngali Bongongo, a production worker at Ford’s Cologne plant says, “Working overhead with heavy air-powered tools is a tough job that requires strength, stamina, and accuracy. The robot is a real help.”

Similar technology is currently in use in the pharmaceutical and electronics industries, but the one-meter tall unit used in Cologne covers two work stations, and is part of Ford’s look into Industry 4.0, the so-called fourth industrial revolution where automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies are combined. — CAS


Friday
Jul152016

An Encore for AFL LED Lighting?

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Big news. GM is adding Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) and full LED front lighting to the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka. “The what?,” you say. The Mokka. Or as we call it in the U.S., the Buick Encore small crossover.

This is great news, especially in light of the recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study that showed just how pathetic new car headlights can be. That’s great, except the IIHS study showed that more advanced headlight systems weren’t always better, and lab-based government tests allow a huge variation in on-road illumination levels and glare. Then there’s this quote from Steffen Pietzonka, Hella’s global marketing chief for automotive lighting at a recent tech symposium: “U.S. lighting regulations are basically unchanged from the 1960s. European studies are not automatically accepted, and the work has to be re-done in the U.S. before it’s shared with the regulators. [In the U.S.] there’s no close relationship between technology and regulation.”

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Friday
Jul152016

Affordable Two-Factor Authentication for Your Car

It used to be that you had to worry about thieves doing a “smash-and-grab” on your car, using a “slim jim” to unlock it, or otherwise mechanically defeating the security systems. Not any more. Electronic break-ins are becoming commonplace. Despite the use of rolling codes and other deterrents, thieves are finding a way around the obstacles put in their path. Especially as passive entry and ignition systems become more commonplace.

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Friday
Jul152016

Vehicle Recognition Tech Comes to Car Advertising

John Wanamaker, founder of the Wanamaker Department Store chain and an early proponent of advertising, once said, “I know that half of my advertising budget is wasted, but I’m not sure which half.” If Wanamaker was alive today, he might not be so downcast. Especially if he happened to be running the ad campaign for Renault’s new Mégane in West London.

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