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Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to know if the car radiator fails

First, make sure it’s coolant that’s leaking, not another fluid. (Coolant is often referred to as antifreeze, but technically coolant is a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water.) You can easily check the coolant level in your see-through overflow tank. If it’s empty or low, the next step should be to check the coolant level in the radiator, but that should be done only when the engine is cool.

Once you know you’re losing coolant, the radiator is a good place to start. Some radiator leaks will be easy to spot — such as a puddle underneath the radiator — but others not so much. It’s best to check the radiator from every angle, not just from above, and pay particular attention to seams and the bottom. Corrosion inside the radiator or holes from road debris also can cause leaks.

Antifreeze comes in different colors — green, yellow and pinkish-red, for example — feels like slimy water and usually has a sweet smell. If you can’t see coolant dripping or seeping, look for rust, tracks or stains on the radiator. Those are telltale signs of where it has leaked.

If the radiator appears to be OK, the cooling system offers several possibilities for leaks, including the hoses from the radiator to the engine, the radiator cap, water pump, engine block, thermostat, overflow tank, heat exchanger (a small radiator that circulates hot coolant into the dashboard for cabin heating) and others. A blown gasket between the cylinder head and engine block is another possibility, allowing coolant inside the combustion chambers — a problem that must be addressed immediately by a mechanic.

If you can’t find a leak, have it checked by a professional. Coolant has a way of escaping only under pressure when the car is running — possibly in the form of steam, which may not leave a trace.


Check and fill the tires

Tips for checking and filling your tires

Tire manufacturers suggest checking tires when they’re cold for the most accurate reading. Outside temperatures can cause tire pressure to vary by as much as 1 psi per 10 degrees; higher temperatures mean higher psi readings. “Tires are black; what does black do? Attract heat,” Rastetter said, noting the importance of finding a shady place to check and fill all four tires.

Temperature plays a huge part in tire psi, Rastetter said, adding that the most crucial time of year to check pressure is in fall and winter when days are shorter and average temperatures plummet.

Check your tires in the morning before going anywhere, because as soon as you get behind the wheel for an extended amount of time, psi will rise. Rastetter said that if you’ve been on the road a long time and notice higher psi in your tires, don’t let the air out, as the increase in pressure has built up due to the warm, constantly-in-motion ti

1. Pull your car onto a level surface in the shade.
2. Remove dust caps from the tires’ valve stems.
3. Using your tire gauge, firmly press the tip of the gauge straight on to the tire’s valve stem for a brief moment.
4. The tire gauge should provide a psi reading; if the number seems unrealistically low or high — for example, 85 psi or 1 psi – you will need to repeat the previous step, ensuring that the tire gauge’s tip is properly making contact with the valve stem.
5. If the tire gauge’s recorded reading is higher than the manufacturer-recommended rating, press the gauge tip on the valve stem until you hear air leak out. Check the tire pressure again.
6. If the reading is lower than recommended, fill the tire with air by firmly pressing the air-hose tip onto the valve stem. You will hear air quietly enter the tire. If you hear air leaking or spraying out, you need to double-check that the connection between the air hose and the tire’s valve stem is secure.
7. When you think you’ve added or let out enough air, check the pressure a few times with the gauge.
8. Replace the valve dust caps. Rastetter emphasized the importance of keeping dust caps on during winter driving because if water gets into the valve stem and freezes inside the tire, it could cause a flat.

While you’re at it, check your spare tire’s pressure. You don’t want to have a flat tire and then find out your replacement is flat, too.


The automotive industry

The automotive industry has recovered from the 2008 recession, and is regaining its former strength. There are many factors to show that it is still gaining momentum, for example, General Motors has recently stated they have had their highest global sales ever this year. One industry forecast predicts global automobile production will exceed 61 million, a 7 percent growth from the previous year. Interestingly, GM sold more cars will be sold in China than the US.

Large investments have been made by automakers, this been noticed in many areas. These investments include opening new plants and refurbishing older facilities. The auto industry has long been on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology. However, industry investments don’t just include investment in high technology such as robotics, but also, literally the nuts and bolts of the auto industry. A general increase in manufacturing around the automotive sector has been noticed as well. This includes such staples as steel production, plastics and the key metal forming component. Secondary markets, such as the tier II metal forming industry have picked up over the last several years. Metal stamping, roll forming and carbide die production have increased. In the area of tool and die the auto industry has long since taken advantage of metal forming technologies such as tungsten carbide dies. Tungsten carbide is three times as hard as steel and is used to form many parts such as axles, tubing and a wide variety of other components

Basically, manufactures continue to invest in their supply chains as well as design and technology. The tier II metal forming industry suppliers relationships were severely strained after the 2008 recession. When the recession hit the industry put greater demands on their suppliers for cheaper parts. Even worse, several key automotive companies were unable to payoff large debts they incurred to the vast array of suppliers forcing many suppliers to close their doors. However, these supply chains have been strengthened in recent years, to the benefit of the industry. It would be great if we could say that the tier II and tier III suppliers have been guaranteed a profitable place in manufacturing but unfortunately it is all still on a case by case bases. Supply and demand still rules the day after all.  Overall demand for all of these products is still questionable but the industry remains hopeful. After all, there is a lot riding on it, everything from rubber to steel and the processes to make these raw materials into a commodity, things like tool and die, robotics and of course the labor force, all depend on it.

Will the auto maker’s realize the short sided mistake of trying to eke out every penny from their supply chain or will they construct mutually beneficial relationships. It is better to depend on a pool of competitive suppliers than it is to starve suppliers or attempt to bring it all “in house”. For example, GM or Toyota isn’t going to advance tool and die as quickly as the whole tool and die industry, they need to rely on the tool and die suppliers to advance their own craft and focus on designing and manufacturing better cars and trucks. Perhaps only Ford Motors only realized this, and it allowed them to weather-the-storm. How about controlling their long term obligations to their work force while rewarding talent and hard work by their employees?  Platform-based manufacturing is a growing concept that is gaining popularity in Detroit as well as their competitors in Europe and Asia. The industry is trying to create a common vehicle designs that can be modified to replace the multitude of vehicle models all over the world. This gives automakers the opportunity to standardize manufacturing procedures and parts, increase the size of their facilities, and be able to respond more quickly changes in demand from the consumers in the global market. In the end, the whole process of rolling out models from plants across many countries and supply chains gets simplified, assuming your systems can support these transitions.

There is good news for up and coming manufactures, they will not need to reinvent the wheel. The earlier companies had to make up their own manufacturing processes.  Now they can just copy the flexible manufacturing style of major auto companies. New manufactures can avoid the large expense and lengthy process of development cycles that early adopters have had to proceed through. Modern “next generation” manufacturing execution systems offer new levels of flexibility and agility in production, so the smaller car makers can emulate this type of production strategy without the multi-billion dollar investment it took to come up with these techniques in the first place.

Automatic transmission systems.

Modern Transmission Control Units are designed to meet high precision digital intelligence in order to find out engine’s ideal operating point, the control unit posses high-tech computer enabling complex operation of various kinds of automatic transmission systems.  The processing speed of a modern transmission unit is incredibly faster than the computers used in the lunar mission.

Conventional Automatic: A conventional automatic transmission uses various programs stored in the control unit to shift the gears. Most of cars are equipped with a switch strategically placed on the steering helping the drivers to shift gears avoiding errors and adds precision transmission power. Most common conventional transmission is designed with 6 gears though some ultra-efficient versions are designed with 9 gears.

Automated Manual Transmission: An Automated Manual Transmission, abbreviated as AMT, is a combination of manual and automatic transmission. It offers the best of comfort and convenience of an automatic with an individual control of manual transmission. The clutch opens during the idling condition and utilizes the energy generated when it’s closed. This transmission drastically reduces carbon emissions and saves fuel in the process.

Dual Clutch Automated Transmission: This type of transmission comprises two separate transmissions. One is used for even gear shift and other one for odd gear shift. Both clutches shift back and forth between the transmissions within a fraction of second, allowing precision gear shift. The complex coordination in a dual clutch transmission is possible due to sophisticated transmission control system by a powerful processing.

Continuously Variable Transmission: Abbreviated as CVT, used without any shifting points that completely eliminates shifting response delays. As result, allowing the driver to accelerate accurately without any interruptions as the driving force is available all the times. The vehicle does not even shift back and forth between fixed shifting points, a feature most essential during steep inclines. CVT is widespread in Asia and North American markets.

e-Clutch: An e-Clutch provides the comfort of any automated to a manual transmission in a cost effective way.  Drivers can shift into gear one by just stepping into gas pedal, the e-Clutch automates the clutch but not the transmission. The clutch pedal produces an electrical signal and sends it to the actuator, which decouples the clutch. This affordable transmission acts as an alternative to a fully automated transmission essentially useful for the drivers of compact cars who find themselves in a stop and go traffic within the urban spheres.

Coasting: The e-Clutch manual transmission can also benefit fuel efficient coasting functions, which is only possible with automatic transmissions. Coasting expands on the well-known start-stop function and enables additional fuel savings of up to ten percent. When this function is used, the engine not only switches off at traffic lights, but also while the vehicle is moving

Miniature sensors that regulate automobile

Miniature sensors that regulate automobile performance are designed in a very particular way to operate properly while housed directly on moving automobile tires. They need to have the sensitivity to pick up measurements while in motion and the durability to withstand the elements.

Tire pressure is the unsung hero of automobile performance. When inflated to the proper pressure, tires are the exact shape that the designers intended. As air pressure decreases, the tires need more energy to move. Drivers can easily forget to maintain their tire pressure in the day-to-day routine of moving from one place to another. Punctures can take place and go completely unnoticed. That is why having an onboard sensor that alerts the driver when it’s time to add more air makes all the difference. Creating these sensors requires careful consideration of all the fine details, and simulation provides the tools for finding just the right design.

Tire Pressure Sensors Shape Driving Experience

Schrader Electronics manufactures 45 million sensors annually and provides sensors to leading automotive companies including GM, Ford, and Mercedes. For a sensor to survive road conditions throughout the life of a vehicle, reliability and durability are key. Consideration is given to shock, vibration, pressure, humidity, temperature, and various dynamic forces when designing for the necessary functions, geometry, and materials. Christabel Evans, an engineer with the Schrader Electronics mechanical design team, has been using finite element analysis (FEA) and multiphysics simulation to build successful, efficient tire sensors for all kinds of vehicles.

Designing Better Sensors with FEA

Schrader Electronics has been creating sensors for almost 20 years, but Christabel Evans and her colleagues wanted a more efficient approach for product design and testing. They simulated their designs using FEA and iterated the process—this allowed them to minimize experimental cost and to evaluate design performance during development. Schrader Electronics found that the existing FEA software options were expensive if they wanted to deploy it to their entire team. They turned to using the Structural Mechanics Module and the CAD Import Module of COMSOL Multiphysics®. They started with a series of tests, comparing standardized samples with simulations to validate the software and build confidence in the results.

Improving Sensitivity and Durability with Better Simulation

the researchers began incorporating more natural parameters into their simulations, from dynamic loads such as centrifugal force, to environmental stresses such as temperature change, to static factors such as pressure and crush load. The Hi-Speed Snap-In TPMS consists of a transmitter made up of a circuit housed in an enclosure and attached to a valve stem with a cap. The valve stem connects to the tire rim and allows air to pass through. On the Hi-Speed TPMS, the valve geometry includes a rib that helps retain the assembly in the rim hole.

The researchers at Schrader were able to learn COMSOL Multiphysics software much faster than similar simulation packages, and deployment through the organization was easier because of flexible licensing options. According to Evans, “COMSOL is user-friendly and it is fast to learn—the engineers picked it up right away.”

At the moment, Schrader plans to spend most of their focus on design and growth, with some emphasis on failure analysis, but they hope to improve their development-focused approach with the aid of simulation tools. They are working hard to improve driver comfort, environmental impact, and road safety with each new design.