In this issue ...
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging recalled vehicle owners to make arrangements to get repairs. The agency is targeting the two million vehicles General Motors (GM) has recalled for faulty ignition switches. GM reported enough parts are available to fix all of the vehicles covered by its recall and many dealers will make repairs after work and on the weekends.
NHTSA stated that there are nearly one million vehicles with these faulty ignition switches still in the vehicle, creating a danger of the airbags not deploying in the event of a crash. The involved vehicles are all 2003 - 2007 Saturn ION, 2005 - 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006 - 2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2007 - 2010 Pontiac G5, 2006 - 2010 Pontiac Solstice and 2007 - 2010 Saturn Sky.
Vehicles impacted by this recall, or any other recall, can be confirmed by VIN with NHTSA’s free VIN look-up tool on safercar.gov.
Until the affected vehicle is fixed, owners should follow all of the interim safety steps advised by GM and keep in mind that the use of a single key is not a long term solution to the this serious safety problem.
At NHTSA’s direction, GM ramped up its production of replacement ignition switches in order to complete production of replacement parts ahead of its original goal of early November. NHTSA also pushed the automaker to take steps to maximize the number of vehicle owners who bring in their vehicles for repair, including targeted outreach to non-English speakers, maintaining up-to-date information on its website as required by the consent order, and a combination of traditional and social media outreach, financial or other incentives, phone calls, and other approaches. Consequently, GM has repaired nearly 60 percent of the affected vehicle population covered under the recall, but many others remain. Moving forward, NHTSA will continue to push the automaker to keep up the momentum and get the remaining vehicles fixed promptly.
Alcoa, a manufacturer of lightweight metals (www.alcoa.com), has unveiled breakthrough manufacturing technology called Micromill that will manufacture the most advanced aluminum sheet on the market.
Alcoa claimed Micromill will enable the next generation of automotive aluminum products, and equip Alcoa to capture growing demand.
According to the company, the Alcoa-patented Micromill process dramatically changes the microstructure of the metal, allowing the production of an aluminum alloy for automotive applications that has 40 percent greater formability and 30 percent greater strength than the incumbent aluminum used today while meeting stringent automotive surface quality requirements.
Additionally, automotive parts made with Micromill material will be twice as formable and at least 30 percent lighter than parts made from high-strength steel. The Micromill alloy has formability characteristics comparable to mild steels.
“Alcoa Micromill represents a major breakthrough in aluminum materials,” said Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld. “This technology will unlock the next generation of automotive products with strength, formability and surface quality combinations never before possible. It will allow our customers to redefine the boundaries of vehicle design and support the creation of lighter, more fuel efficient, safer and more stylish vehicles for the future.”
Micromill aluminum sheet that is 40 percent more formable is easier to shape into intricate forms, such as the inside panels of automobile doors and external fenders, which today are generally made of steel. The 30 percent increase in material strength will improve dent resistance, enabling the production of automotive sheet that is thinner and even lighter than previous generations. Automakers will also benefit from reduced system cost by streamlining the number of aluminum alloys used in their manufacturing process.
It will also be the fastest, most productive aluminum casting and rolling system in the world. A traditional rolling mill takes around 20 days to turn molten metal into coil; Micromill does it in just 20 minutes.
The Micromill also has a significantly smaller footprint than a traditional rolling mill, at just one quarter the size, and lowers energy use by 50 percent. The Alcoa Micromill technology and the differentiated metal it will produce are covered by more than 130 patents around the world.
According to Ducker Worldwide, North American aluminum automotive sheet content per vehicle is expected to increase eleven fold between 2012 and 2025 as consumers demand cars that are lighter and more fuel efficient. The Micromill continuous casting technology is designed to meet that growing demand for automotive sheet, with the flexibility to serve the industrial and packaging markets as well. The mill can easily shift product mix, and transition to different alloys without ever stopping a cast. Alcoa has secured a strategic development customer, and from its pilot Micromill facility in San Antonio, TX, has also conducted successful customer trials. Those trials have validated the Micromill material’s unique characteristics, surface quality for exterior panels and overall performance. Alcoa is qualifying the material for use in next-generation automotive platforms.
Gallagher has announced that it won The New Zealand Engineering Innovators of the Year award at the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards held in Auckland on November 28, 2014. The award was presented to a Gallagher product development team responsible for designing two world-leading perimeter security technology devices: the K20 Tensioner Link System, and Z10 Tension Sensor.
Senior Product Manager, Craig Malins, said the team was thrilled at winning the award. “There were many people at Gallagher involved in this project along the way. We’re honored to have been selected alongside some of New Zealand’s top engineers, as winners of such a prestigious award.”
“We’re very proud of our people” said Gallagher Group CEO, Sir William Gallagher. “It’s wonderful to receive an award that recognizes how brilliant and innovative our team is.”
The New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards are run by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) and celebrate the finest engineering work undertaken by companies throughout the country.
Gallagher’s winning team comprised four core members of the wider Gallagher product development team: Senior Product Manager, Craig Malins; Technical Engineer, Paul Reid; Senior Electronics Engineer, Keith Gallagher; and Technical Leader, Andrew Bealing.
The Colorado Auto Recyclers association (CAR) will hold its Annual Meeting and Safety Training in January. The meeting will be held on January 24, 2015 at the PPA Event Center in Denver, Colo. The event will feature a training session in the afternoon that will help Colorado auto recycler members fulfill one of the workers’ compensation policy requirements for the year.
A social event is also planned at Unser Racing that evening following the meeting. Go to www.coloradoautorecyclers.com to register or for more information.
January 2015 Deadlines
December 31, 2014: Listings for The Locator Magazine.
January 5, 2015: Display ads for The Locator Magazine.
January 8, 2015: The Locator Magazine goes to press.