With 3,500 companies employing more than 40,000 people, the United Kingdom’s Motorsport Valley is a massive financial engine that generates $12 billion per year for the UK’s economy. The high-tech hub pushes the capabilities of manufacturing technology, especially 5-axis machining strategies needed to create complex titanium parts.
Racing parts include intricate components such as pipe inlets and outlets for pumps and compressors, impellers, blisk-rings, turbine blades, gears, and intake and exhaust engine tubes that require machining strongly undercut geometries. Titanium is an ideal material for many race parts because of its high strength and low weight; however, these properties can make it challenging to machine.
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programming for 5-axis machining should include strategies for steep-wall cavity, concave-, and curved-surface machining, and surface finish optimization. To keep pace with the shifting racing industry, CAM software must evolve at a similar rate.
Open Mind’s hyperMill CAM software enables 5-axis strategies for fast, easy-to-use programming, resulting in reduced cycle times and high-quality surface finishes. The following UK Motorsports Valley case studies describe how the software supports the racing industry.
Two influential figures from the 1980s automotive world died a week apart in late June and early July. Former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca was the better-known figure in automotive circles, but H. Ross Perot left his mark on Detroit as well.
Both men challenged the status quo of an auto industry undergoing massive change. Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, and Mitsubishi were expanding rapidly, challenging a market that had been dominated by Detroit’s Big Three.
Iacocca was a product of the glory days that were disappearing. As the executive in charge of the Ford Mustang in 1964, he shepherded an automotive unicorn – a vehicle so radically good and different that it established a whole new class. General Motors would follow with the Chevy Camaro, and Dodge would enter the fray with the Charger, but the Mustang ruled the pony car market.
Iacocca is better remembered for his career’s second act – the one that came after Henry Ford II fired him in 1978 for personality conflicts. As president and CEO of Chrysler, Iacocca lobbied Congress for a 1979 bailout, using loan guarantees to restructure debt and convince creditors, suppliers, workers, and executives to take pay cuts (taking a $1-a-year salary himself).
As the automaker recovered, Iacocca bought American Motors from Renault, bringing Jeep into the Chrysler family. And, he launched another unicorn – the 1983 minivan created a market Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) still dominates.
During his tenure, Iacocca showed how an American car company could react to a changing global market. The company’s tenure after his departure wasn’t as successful – merging with Daimler, being sold to a private equity company, seeking a second federal bailout, and being sold to Fiat for nothing but the promise of keeping jobs in the U.S.
Ross Perot’s impact on Detroit was more adversarial. In 1984, he sold his computer company Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) to GM for $2.6 billion, becoming GM’s largest shareholder as the company sought to reinvent itself in the face of competition from Japan. Like Iacocca with Henry Ford II, Perot butted heads with then GM-CEO Roger Smith. GM wanted EDS’ expertise in managing the automaker’s global operations, and Perot thought he was getting a financial windfall and the ability to continue to steer the company he founded. But control issues led to public bickering and eventually lawsuits.
Frustrated by GM’s bureaucratic structure and autocratic chief executive, Perot once declared, “We’ve got to nuke the GM system.” Eventually, GM bought Perot’s shares, allowing him to create a new computer company and use his wealth for two failed independent presidential campaigns. Though his attempts at politics were the fodder for late-night comedians, history has been kinder to his criticism of GM’s 1980s management. The company’s slow-moving systems, coupled with an executive core that didn’t take criticism well, survived several more decades, and were painfully clear during the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy, federal bailout, and restructuring.
Auto sales slip in H1 2019 as Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus leave market
Automakers sold 8.4 million cars in the U.S. during the first half of 2019, a 2.4% decrease from 2018. Cars continued their rapid decline while trucks, crossovers, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) performed better.
The bulk of the decline came from two vehicles – the Ford Focus, which ended production last year, and the Chevy Cruze, which ended production in April. Those two vehicles represented more than half of the annual decline in industry sales. Without them, 2019’s first half would have been down only 1.3%. The year-over-year declines could accelerate in the second half of the year as General Motors and Ford plan to cancel the Chevy Impala, Ford Fusion, and other cars, but some of those closures are not expected until 2020.
Even without two medium-volume vehicles (the Cruze was once the best-selling compact in the country before settling in at No. 3, and the Focus was typically No. 5 in the market) the compact market fell with the class-leading Honda Civic down 4% and No. 2 Toyota Corolla down more than 5%. Overall, the compact market fell nearly 19% in the year’s first half.
Offsetting those declines were big gains for trucks. Ford sold more than 30,000 Ranger compact pickups in the year’s first half without significantly lowering F-150 sales (down less than 1%). When Ford cancelled its popular small truck a decade ago, executives feared that the less-expensive vehicle was taking sales away from the larger truck. Additionally, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA’s) Ram truck division was up 28%. GM’s Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra lines fell during the half, but the company is in the midst of launching new versions of those vehicles, so plants have not yet hit full production capacity. https://www.ford.com; https://www.gm.com; https://www.fcagroup.com; https://www.honda.com
Ford’s car-cut strategy: A progress report
Departments - Infographic
More than a year after Ford announced plans to cut the Focus, Fiesta, and Fusion cars in favor of trucks and SUVs, initial results look positive.
A high-pressure pump and additional spraying bars provide solvent-based cleaning at 10 bar to 16 bar pressures. The spray pressure is adjusted via a high-pressure pump controlled by variable-frequency drive (VFD). Pressure, spray duration, spraying mode (simultaneous or alternating), and product movement can be defined in a part-specific cleaning program and stored in the machine controller.
Throughout the process, the spray jet dislodges contaminants from the part surface, the high fluid exchange rate flushes away dislodged foreign matter, and injection flood washing is performed with more intense turbulences, improving cleaning.
For cleaning processes requiring only external spraying and/or no high-pressure application, the central spray bar can be removed.