DETROIT—Auto suppliers are responding to auto makers' needs for better fuel economy, claiming half of this year's Automotive News PACE Awards with innovations that cut weight or make powertrains more efficient.
Seven of the 14 winners of the competition, which recognizes game-changing new products and processes, were honored for efforts that will help their customers meet tougher mileage and emissions rules.
The awards were handed out this week before an audience of about 500 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.
“A new level of efficiency is being achieved with basic science—new materials and electronics,” said J. Ferron, director of judging for the PACE Awards.
Federal-Mogul Corp., for instance, won a PACE Award for a piston-ring coating made of a carbon material with properties of diamond, which cuts friction up to 20 percent.
Also, Valeo won for an efficient generator that uses transistors to eliminate voltage drop. This boosts the efficiency of the generator by 10 percent, improving a typical vehicle's fuel economy by 0.7 mpg.
While innovations that boosted efficiency grabbed most of the awards, the value of style was honored, too. Magna Closures won for an elegant sliding rear window in the 2015 Ford F-150.
Two suppliers, Continental Automotive and Federal-Mogul, won two awards each.
As part of the event, three auto makers were awarded Innovation Partnership Awards for fostering innovations with suppliers: Audi A.G., BMW A.G. and Volvo Car Corp.
Audi was the big winner in this category. An Audi transmission incorporated technology from three PACE finalists: Dana Holding Corp., Continental and FTE automotive.
The awards, now in their 21st year, are sponsored by Automotive News, EY and Transportation Research Center Inc. Independent judges selected the winners from 36 finalists.
The PACE event kicks off the SAE 2015 World Congress.
Here are the 2015 Automotive News PACE Award winners by category.
• BorgWarner TorqTransfer Systems, Auburn Hills, Mich.: Front-wheel-drive electronic limited-slip differential
• Continental Automotive, Auburn Hills, Mich.: Printed circuit board substrate technology for transmission electronics
• Continental Automotive, Auburn Hills, Mich.: Multiapplication unified sensor element
• Denso Corp., Southfield, Mich.: Highly standardized automotive heating, ventilation and air conditioning control unit
• Federal-Mogul Corp., Southfield, Mich.: MicroTorq seal
• FTE automotive, Auburn Hills, Mich.: Hydraulic gear shift actuator module
• GKN Driveline, Redditch, U.K.: Two-speed gearbox for electric vehicle applications
• Magna Closures, Holland, Mich.: Pure View seamless sliding window
• Mahle Engine Systems and Components, Stuttgart: Evotec 2 lightweight piston for gasoline engines
• Nvidia, Ann Arbor, Mich.: Tegra visual computing module
• Osram Opto Semiconductors, Northville, Mich.: Black flat multichip family for mass market
• Sika Automotive, Madison Heights, Mich.: Ultra-high modulus adhesive for mixed material bonding
• Valeo Electrical Systems, Creteil, France: EG efficiency generator.
• Federal-Mogul Corp., Southfield, Mich.: Low-friction DuroGlide piston ring pack
In addition, three auto makers were honored for fostering innovative partnerships with their suppliers:
• Audi A.G. for partially coated multilayer steel transmission separator plates with Dana Holding Corp.; printed circuit board substrate technology for transmission electronics with Continental Automotive; and hydraulic gear shift actuator module with FTE automotive.
• BMW A.G. for ultra-high modulus adhesive for mixed material bonding with Sika Automotive.
• Volvo Car Corp. for RACam integrated radar/vision system with Delphi Automotive.