10 YEARS AGO — 2003
High-end interiors, low-end costs: Engineers at Johnson Controls Inc., Milwaukee, say they can devise luxurious automotive interiors that don’t break the bank. The secret: CrafTec partial moldbehind (PMB) and partial foaminplace (PFIP) systems that reduce multiple fabricating and assembly steps to a single operation.

PMB uses an advanced injectionmolding process that integrates cover materials with the panels themselves. This is an improvement over traditional methods where plain plastic panels are molded and fabrics assembled separately. The PMB process puts softness where people will feel it — for example, where a person’s hand and elbow touch the door panel.

Developers say PFIP produces a plush softness similar to the feel of highend luxury vehicles. The cover skin joins to the main substrate, eliminating using a separate one while cutting costs and weight. Several automakers will feature CrafTec PMB door panels in their 2005 modelyear vehicles.

30 YEARS AGO — 1983
Big-gear cutter: Largest machine ever designed and built in the U.S. for cutting spiral bevel and hypoid gears is the claim made by Gleason Machine Div. for its new No. 675 Hypoid Generator. It’s one of two installed at Brad Foote Gear Works Inc.’s Cicero, Ill., facility, and it will cut gears having diameters up to 100 in. The two 17fthigh, 50ton machines required seven trucks each for shipment.

50 YEARS AGO — 1963
A new stress-predicting technique offers advantages in the design of products requiring high strength and light weight, according to its developer, Boeing Co. Plastic models of parts are coated with birefringents, which possess doublerefraction properties. Under polarized light, these coatings reveal stress patterns as loads are placed on the parts. The technique was used by Boeing in developing landing gear for the 737 jet airliner.

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