Two advanced technology, high-precision machining systems, designed and built by Lamb Technicon, a division of UNOVA Inc. (NYSE:UNA) have helped Chrysler Corp. [NYSE:C] build a cleaner, more fuel-efficient engine for its completely redesigned 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle.
Installed at Chrysler's new Mack Avenue Engine Plant in Detroit, these multi-station systems machine the lightweight aluminum cylinder heads used in the popular vehicle's new 4.7-liter V-8 engine.
``Our systems can hold tolerances to within 10 microns, approximately one-sixth the width of a human hair, throughout a production run that could well exceed 500,000 engines annually,'' said Charles E. Wolfbauer, president, Lamb Technicon Machining Systems. ``Chrysler requires this level of precision and repeatability to ensure every engine sold achieves superior emissions performance, reliability and fuel efficiency.''
The all-new 4.7-litre V8 engine has roughly 10 percent less displacement than the 5.2-litre V-8 from the previous Grand Cherokee, yet it delivers 5 percent more power, 7 percent better fuel economy and 30 percent less emissions. The new engine allows the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee to comply with California's LEV (Low Emission Vehicle) standards, one of the first SUV's sold in North America to do so.
``Engine efficiencies were key goals in the development of these engines,'' said David Van Raaphorst, executive engineer, Chrysler Power Train. ``With the extensive use of alternative materials plus our ability to optimize the airflow by using computer simulations, we have engines that produce more power, use less fuel and burn cleaner than the engines they replace.
``By increasing engine and overall power train stiffness, balancing rotating parts and upgrading the power train mounting system, these are the most refined, quiet and best-sounding Jeep engines we have ever developed.''
The new engine has a cast-iron block and two cast-aluminum cylinder heads with a single overhead camshaft per bank and two valves per cylinder. It is designed to operate 150,000 miles (240,000 km) under normal conditions without part replacement other than normal maintenance items.
The manufacturing systems designed by Lamb Technicon comprise eight separate machining stations for both the right- and left-hand cylinder head. The entire line is engineered for high levels of production and can transform a rough aluminum casting into a high-precision part in less than three minutes, producing 350 heads per hour, or up to one million annually.
Two other UNOVA divisions, Landis Gardner (Waynesboro, Pa.) and Lamb Technicon Assembly and Test (Rockford, Ill.), provided precision grinding systems to finish the new engine's crank and cam shafts and an automated assembly system to insert valve seats and cam shaft caps.
Lamb Technicon Machining Systems is a leading designer, developer, integrator and builder of dedicated and flexible precision manufacturing systems for the global powertrain production industry. Each year the company spends more than $15 million in a combination of customer-, government- and company-sponsored research and development to advance the state-of the-art in manufacturing systems technologies.
UNOVA is a new $1.5 billion industrial technologies company, formed as a spin-off from Western Atlas Inc [NYSE:WAI]. With headquarters in Beverly Hills, Calif., UNOVA specializes in the design and integration of manufacturing systems, primarily for the global automotive industry, and in the design and manufacture of automated data collection and mobile computing systems for industrial, distribution and government markets. The various operations are global leaders in their respective markets.