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Bosch wins top mobility prize

Winners are grinners: Bosch Australia engineer Mark Anderson (left) accepts the top gong at this year's Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia from the Victorian government's manager of automotive, Chris Wong.

Engineers vote automatic emergency braking the best new development

General News logo3 Nov 2014

ROBERT Bosch Australia has grabbed the top local engineering award with a system that detects obstructions behind SUVs and automatically applies the brakes to avoid a collision.

Bosch won the outright award after topping the automotive section in the professional engineering category at the Mobility Engineering Excellence Awards presented by the Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia last week.

In a move that reflects the society’s push to widen its membership base, two new categories were added to the professional section this year – heavy vehicles and manufacturing.

The winner in the heavy vehicle section was AutoTest Products for its AutoMonitor system, which keeps tabs on the health of vital systems on a truck while it is operating.

First prize in the manufacturing section went to VPAC and the AutoCRC for a user-friendly software system that helps plastics engineers design the optimum mould for injection moulding operations.

Bosch Australia engineer Mark Anderson said the automatic emergency braking system was now being offered to clients throughout the world.

“Presentations are being made globally within Bosch, both in Europe and America, and in Australia,” he said after receiving the award.

The system uses a pair of Bosch radars as well as ultrasonic sensing, all from the Bosch parts shelf.

“The radars are also used for cross-traffic and blind-spot warning, so there is some additional functionality within the existing hardware, together with the ultrasonic park sensors.”

Mr Anderson said the team at Bosch considered including a camera in the system, but it proved impractical in the available timeframe.

“In terms of the timing for implementation and using existing hardware that was available with ECUs (engine control units) that could support the system, the radars provided the best opportunity. Certainly, we will see in the future that cameras can support this type of work as well.”

The engineers at Bosch are just completing the verification and validation phase of the project.

The Bosch team includes Jason Gillespie, Mark Oldman and Michael Power. Mr Anderson said former Bosch engineeers James Mewing and Alan Koncar also made significant contributions.

The team was assisted by student Cameron Parsons and the project was partially funded by the federal government’s Automotive New Markets Program.

The AutoMonitor for heavy vehicles combines four systems into one compact dashboard design, according to AutoTest Products engineer Muhammad Alamgir.

It incorporates a digital tachograph, a rollover warning system, a vehicle health monitor and a global positioning satellite (GPA) tracking system, all of which are plugged into the controller area network (CAN bus).

Mr Alamgir said the vehicle health monitor uses sensors to keep an eye on the brakes, suspension damping ratio and the engine.

He said the system reduces the risk of collision and rollover, lengthens the vehicle’s lifespan and lifts fleet productivity.

First prize in the manufacturing section went to VPAC Innovations, part of the Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing, and the AutoCRC.

The vMould software allows producers of plastic injection moulded parts to optimise the design of the moulds to be used – which can be expensive – before any metal is cut.

Award recipient Jarrod Sinclair said that when new moulds go into production, they generally need some modification and tweaking before they operate smoothly and efficiently.

The problem is the pathways within the mould have to be short enough so that the molten plastic does not set before it has reached the far end of the mould.

The software helps engineers locate the best place or places for the injection ports and also where the mould split line should be. It takes into account the characteristics of the particular plastic being used and meshes that with the part to be produced, when it is in digitised computer-aided-design form.

“The software helps make the engineers a lot more productive,” Mr Sinclair said. “At no point were we trying to replace them.

“We wanted to create the possibility for them to make all the decisions. All we wanted to do was create the ability for them to get the possible solutions very quickly and then they could take the decisions to go to the next step.”

The top student prize went to Tyler Plowright for his study on the aerodynamics of coal trains in the Hunter Valley.

“There are 150 locomotives operating in the Hunter Valley and they use an average of 700,000 litres of diesel a year. That’s a lot of fuel and if you can save one per cent, that would be a lot of money,” Mr Plowright said.

Working with Pacific National, Mr Plowright said he realised early on that the most drag came from the wagons – up to 1.5km of them – not the locomotives.

He said the team tried shrouds between the wagons, and that made a significant difference, but they were costly and cumbersome.

“We also tried vortex generators between the wagons to try and bridge that gap without have a physical structure.”

These set up spinning masses of air that prevent larger masses getting between the wagons.

“The roll-down test that we completed was promising but we are still looking to do more tests.

“The train that we did install it on is still running and is still collecting data, but the percentage change is quite small compared to the percentage variation in fuel consumption between runs.

“We can have exactly the same conditions and still get quite a lot of variation. A lot of that is down to the drivers.”

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