• develop and validate new vehicle assembly systems that will assure the ability to integrate new technologies and allow increased productivity

No specific quantitative objectives (e.g., productivity levels, cost, quality) have been defined for specific vehicle systems, subsystems or component developments.

At its Dearborn, Michigan, meeting, the committee was provided with a paper summarizing the progress and status of Goal 1 activities. A consolidated USCAR listing of 256 candidate technologies was compiled and compared with an inventory of government agency projects to identify synergies and to avoid possible redundances. The list was consolidated to 196 technologies with the potential to impact PNGV goals. These 196 technologies were further prioritized into 96 high-priority, near-term, generic manufacturing needs; 47 Goal 3 vehicle enablers; and 53 medium- and low-priority technologies. Technologies in the first category were further reduced to 35 (following reviews with the individual Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors manufacturing organizations) from which the 16 highest priority projects were selected covering the following categories:

  • simulation and modeling

  • systems/software integration

  • agile, flexible manufacturing

  • alternative processes

  • test methodology

  • current process optimization

Funding requirements for the 16 high-priority projects are being identified.

Manufacturing representatives from USCAR have now been assigned to each of the product technology teams (see PNGV Technical Organizational Structure, figure 9-1), and specific manufacturing needs in each area are being assessed. Notable achievements demonstrated by USCAR programs with suppliers include high-volume structural resin-injection-molding composite processes capable of producing an underbody crossmember; a slab and belt cast-aluminum sheet fabricated in automotive alloys with a potential cost of $1/lb; and resolution of forming, joining, and painting issues in a new, high-volume application of aluminum closure panels.

The committee noted that reduced funding levels are threatening the scope of the 16 proposed Goal 1 high-priority activities. Projects with specific direct benefit to vehicle weight and cost reduction, such as aluminum die-casting, high-throughput hole-making, and springback predictability, have not

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