Supplier Spotlight

Video Exclusives

Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class


The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.

Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor


Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.

Click here/on image to watch video

In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 


Ford starts work on virtual assembly lines

Ford is developing a complete virtual factory to simulate the full assembly line production process.

The US headquartered car maker says such a development will enable the company to improve quality and cut costs in real world manufacturing facilities by creating and analyzing computer simulations of vehicle and engine production procedures.

“We have already started work on our virtual factory project, so that we won't have to go to the real assembly line to conduct tests or research possible plant upgrades,” said José Terrades, simulations engineer, Ford of Spain.

“Virtual factories will enable Ford to preview and optimize the assembly of future models at any of our plants, anywhere in the world. With the advanced simulations and virtual environments we already have at our disposal, we believe this is something Ford can achieve in the very near future.”

Thousands of components – including engine subsystems – are assembled to manufacture a vehicle. Terrades says that computer simulation of the assembly process enables the vehicle build procedure to be tested before investing in the resources required for a real-world production line. In 1997 Ford was the first car maker to use computer simulations to plan vehicle assembly at facilities worldwide. As a result, computer simulation is now integrated into Ford’s development processes.

“The final assembly process simulations we use today allow us to do much more than simply plan our build sequences,” said Nick Newman, implementation manager, Ford of Germany. “We can piece together complete cars in a virtual environment and assess the construction down to the finest detail, and we plan to implement this even more widely in the future.”

Ford uses sophisticated camera technology to scan and digitize its real-world manufacturing facilities to create ultra-realistic 3D virtual assembly environments. The company’s Valencia plant, in Spain, is taking the lead in developing virtual factory environments, which could enable remote evaluations to be conducted from around the globe.

Special projectors and polarizing, motion-sensing glasses are used to create interactive 3D virtual reality manufacturing scenarios.

The actions required by real-life assembly line operators are simulated inside these environments to help Ford ergonomic experts eliminate strenuous postures and optimize individual aspects of the assembly process.

Ford’s ergonomics experts in Cologne, Germany, use the computer simulations to scrutinize the fitment process for even the smallest components, and to determine what is required to make the task as straightforward as possible for the assembly-line operator.

Ford’s virtual employee “Jack” can simulate the actions of both male and female assembly line workers to test and evaluate processes in fine detail, right down to the movement of the operator’s fingers within an enclosed space. “Jack’s” advanced software evaluates the demands on the real-world operator and uncovers 80% of ergonomics issues at the simulation stage.

Ford is also increasing its use of “augmented reality” vehicles. These 3D vehicle simulations combine engineering data and scanned imagery of physical prototypes to enable efficient evaluation of component integration.

Ford uses computer simulations to conduct full “virtual build events” for new vehicle programs. Specialists collect digital engineering data on every component and load it into a virtual build environment, before simulating the entire assembly process from start to finish.

The company says that all these activities can reduce the need to create physical prototypes of vehicles or production tooling for evaluation.

At Ford’s Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) facility in Cologne, for example, interactive 3D interior environments of Ford development vehicles allow for evaluation of many aspects including visibility, instrument reach, ergonomics and roominess before building a physical prototype.

“CAVE brings emotion into the development process,” said Joerg Querengaesser, driving environment and virtual reality supervisor, Ford of Germany. “We no longer have to view vehicles only through their technical dimensions. Now we can take a seat inside and experience the virtual vehicle.”


9 August 2012


Your email address:

Read Latest Issue
International Engine of the Year Awards
Read Latest Issue

Web Exclusive Articles

Hyundai 2019 Veloster N: The Knowledge
Designed specifically for the US market and officially unveiled at the 2018 Detroit auto show this month, Hyundai’s 2.0-liter turbocharged Veloster N has been developed to deliver driveability rather than outright performance statistics.
Read Now

Renault Trucks reveals how mixed reality can improve engine quality control
Renault Trucks, in collaboration with Immersion, is evaluating the potential of mixed reality to deliver a new, faster and more reliable quality control process at its Lyon engine manufacturing site.
Read Now

BAIC Motor on the industry’s fuel economy performance ambitions
BAIC has teamed up with Siemens to implement vehicle energy management and model-based systems engineering as the Chinese OEM works towards optimal fuel efficiency
Read Now

Read Latest Issue

Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the engine technology industry. Want to see your company included? Contact for more details.

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the engine technology community? We'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to

Submit Your Recruitment Ad

Recruitment AdTo send us your recruitment advertising or to receive information on placing a banner please email