Prestigious Engineering Award Presented to Ford Australia at 2015 SAE-A Mobility Engineering Excellence Awards

Ford Australia was recognised for Engineering Excellence at the prestigious Society of Automotive Engineers-Australasia (SAE-A) 2015 Awards for Mobility Engineering Excellence at a formal dinner in Melbourne on 19 November where a series of other awards were also announced.

“The SAE-A Mobility Excellence Awards recognise the highest levels of Australasia’s engineering talent. Once again this is evidenced in the high calibre of the 2015 entries across all categories of Professional Automotive, Heavy Commercial, Trailer/Caravan and Rail plus the categories of Young Engineer, Post Graduate and Undergraduate,” said SAE-A Executive Director, Natalie Roberts. “As we head towards the post automotive manufacturing period in this country, Australian engineering excellence across the broad spectrum of manufacturing becomes even more important. We congratulate the winners across all categories and acknowledge their contribution to excellence in their respective fields,” said Natalie.

The judging panel, including some of Australia’s most eminent engineers and academics, considered a range of high quality submissions for the various categories from industry sectors including Automotive, Heavy Commercial, Rail, Manufacturing and Engineering Students, covering a broad range of disciplines.

The presentation of the most prestigious Platinum award, for the overall winner of the professional awards category was made to Ford Australia for its ‘Predicting Crosswind Characteristics of Road Vehicles’ development. This innovative simulation approach development enables engineers to accurately predict a vehicle’s response to crosswinds by coupling modelling approaches and development within the Aerodynamics and Vehicle Dynamics Engineering Group. The development has applications for the company globally as the approach will enable the early detection of crosswind stability issues and reduce the need for further testing.

Gold Awards in the Professional Category were presented to the winners in the four categories of Rail, Trailer/Caravan, Heavy Commercial and Automotive.

In the Rail category the Gold Award went to Bombardier for the redesign of the Melbourne E-Class Tram Cab making Melbourne trams safer for pedestrians and other road users.

The Trailer/Caravan Gold Award was presented to AL-KO for its development of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) technology for caravans with electric brakes making towing vehicles safer on our roads.

Heavy Commercial Vehicle Gold Award was presented to IntelliGas for the development of a system using High density Compressed Natural Gas as an alternative fuel for heavy vehicle applications.

The Automotive Gold Award was presented to Ford Australia for the development of Predicting Crosswind Characteristics of Road Vehicles.

The Gold Award for the Young Engineer Category was presented to Adnan Masinovic for the advanced ‘Tram and Track Condition Monitoring System’ in Bombardier’s Melbourne E-Class Tram.

The Post Graduate Gold Award was presented to Bradley Orr for his ‘Car Exhaust Heat Recovery System Utilising TEG’s and Heat Pipes’.

The Undergraduate Category Gold Award went to Liam Peters for his ‘Evaluation of Turbulence Models for Vehicle Aerodynamics’ using computational fluid dynamics.

About the SAE-A

The SAE-A is a non-profit organisation that works to serve the needs of its members and promote mobility and related technologies to governments, industry and the community in general.

SAE-A is the world’s third oldest mobility society and was founded in 1927 to address the need for further education for all facets surrounding mobility engineering industries in the Asia Pacific region.

The vision of the SAE-A is to advance the mobility engineering professions in Australasia through promoting the transfer of technical knowledge and skills, encouraging research and development in the private, education and government sectors and involving our members in the development and maintenance of Australasian and global technical standards.

Professional Awards

This section of the SAE-A Awards program is for entries from individuals or companies for engineering concepts, products, processes, material, service or study developed in any area of the Australasian transport, mobility engineering industry or academia.

Overall Winner

Ford Australia – Predicting Crosswind Characteristics of Road Vehicles

An innovative simulation approach has been developed by Ford Australia that enables its engineers to accurately predict a vehicle’s response to crosswinds coupling with modelling approaches developed with the Aerodynamics and Vehicle Dynamics Engineering group.

The methodology is designed to meet the challenges of global trends for improved fuel economy and performance that has given rise to lighter, low-drag configurations that are more prone to crosswinds. The coupled analytical process employs a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach to predict the aerodynamic characteristics of the vehicle and uses the results from this simulation as force input onto a vehicle dynamics model to characterise the vehicle response as it drives through a crosswind.  The innovative approach has resulted in a suite of benefits and it is planned to roll out the program to Ford’s commercial and business design groups across the globe. 

Judges’ comments:

The highest levels of engineering application and methodology were recognised by the judging panel in awarding this submission the overall winner. The benefit of this development has the potential for impact on vehicle design globally to the advantage of the motorist as it relates to the world trend to improve vehicle performance and fuel economy.

Gold Award - Automotive Category

Ford Australia – Predicting Crosswind Characteristics of Road Vehicles

Gold Award – Rail Category

Bombardier - Melbourne E-Class Tram Cab Design

Melbourne’s trams operate in mixed traffic shared with cars, cyclists and pedestrians creating a variety of safety challenges. Of concern was always pedestrian-tram interactions and the most recent order for 20 new trams from the Public Transport Victoria was the catalyst for a cab redesign to improve driver’s sightlines, providing better visibility particularly when departing from stops were there are high numbers of pedestrians.

The redesigned cab has improved vision through the windscreen from 58º to 77º, side window vision from 22º to 34º and reduced blind spot due to the A-pillar from 26º to 7º.

These improvements were achieved through innovative design features including repositioning the A-pillar and optimising its shape; lowering the equipment console; applying tinting to the glass panel in the sliding door at the rear of the cab; fitting light clusters behind the windscreen and along the A-pillar and reducing the curve of the windscreen.

The innovative design has been shared throughout Bombardier’s Australian and international light rail design teams.

Judges’ Comments:

The method and application to improve an existing design demonstrated a high level of engineering excellence. It applied the latest technology and methodology in a practical way that has provided an outcome to the advantage of all stakeholders.

Gold Award – Trailer/Caravan Category

AL-KO - Electronic Stability Control Technology for Caravans

In a world first innovation AL-KO announced revolutionary Electronic Stability Control brake technology for caravans with electric brakes. The AL-KO ESC automatically responds to the driving behaviour of the caravan by monitoring any dangerous sideways movements and takes preventative action immediately applying the caravan’s electric brakes to maintain stability for both the caravan and the towing vehicle.

The AL-KO ESC is an Australian innovation, designed, developed and manufactured in Dandenong South, Australia for Australian conditions. The AL-KO development has a worldwide patent and is expected to have huge export potential creating additional jobs at the Dandenong South factory.

Judges’ Comments:

The development of an ESC system for electrically braked trailers will save lives and represents an important improvement in the available technology. AL-KO should be congratulated on the development which has the potential to benefit all road users coupled with valuable export sales potential and employment opportunities.

Gold Award – Heavy Commercial Vehicle Category

IntelliGas - High Density Compressed Natural Gas

High Density Compressed Natural Gas (HDCNG) is a high-energy density fuel and a locally produced alternative to imported liquid fuel such as diesel. It can be stored, transported and dispensed and used as fuel for both stationary and mobile engines at a nominal pressure of 350 bar (5076 psi) at 21ºC. It has applications in fixed or mobile machinery applications including mining machinery, remote power generation, heavy trucks and rail locomotives.

Judges’ Comments:

The system of using High Density Compressed Natural Gas which provides an alternative to diesel for heavy vehicle application impressed the judges with the sustainability benefits the system will provide.

Gold Award – Undergraduate Category

Liam Peters - Evaluation of Turbulence Models for Vehicular Aerodynamics

A collaborative study between RMIT University and Roaring Forties was conducted to investigate the aerodynamics of a replica Ford GT40 using Computational Fluid Dynamics.

The large variations between the experimental lift and drag predictions and different turbulence models demonstrate that specific turbulence models are best suited for certain applications. Running a transient simulation using the SAS turbulence model provided accurate lift prediction but in terms of flow analysis a SAS simulation provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of how the flow develops over time.

Judges’ Comments:

‘Evaluation of Turbulence Models for Vehicle Aerodynamics’ Liam presented a thorough understanding which was well presented and communicated.

Gold Award – Post Graduate Category

Bradley Orr - Car Exhaust Heat Recovery System Utilising TEG’s and Heat Pipes

On average an engine typically has a thermal efficiency of approximately 25% with the other 75% energy in the fuel wasted as heat in the cooling system and exhaust gases. Converting even a small amount of this waste into electricity can reduce consumption, CO2 emissions and fuel costs

Using heat pipes, Thermoelectric Generator Technology (TEG) generates voltage and electrical power is produced which can be connected in series or parallel reducing the load on the car alternator and consequently the load on the engine with resulting reduction in fuel consumption.

The heat pipes are completely passive requiring no power input to operate. TEG’s are silent, small in size, durable with no moving parts and require little or no maintenance.

Judges’ Comments:

‘Experimental testing of a car exhaust heat recovery system utilising TEG’s and heat pipes’ was well written and referenced.  Detailed work undertaken by Bradley, included testing and validation of the theoretical model against an experimental system.

Gold Award – Young Engineer Category

Adnan Masinovic - Tram and Track Condition Monitoring System

Responsible for operating and maintaining the Melbourne tram network, Yarra Trams has relied on the visual inspection of the tracks plus expensive truck-mounted track monitoring equipment to survey its extensive and ageing tram network. The use of truck-mounted monitoring must also be operated outside of the network operating hours.

With the introduction into service of the Bombardier Melbourne ‘E’ Class Tram, a custom designed monitoring system was developed to allow simultaneous on-board data gathering on both the tram and the conditions of the network infrastructure during normal operations.

The system is capable of measuring stress values or at risk areas such as track twist and abnormalities via accelerometers, providing data visually. This up to the minute data allows scheduling for preventative maintenance of the tram or the infrastructure with enormous cost savings and the protection of warranties.

Judges’ Comments:

‘Tram Track Condition Monitoring System’ was a clearly communicated and well-engineered system to collect data from the trams to detail track condition and identify areas which require maintenance.

2015 MEEA Judging Panel

Dr Shane Richardson – Chair, Mobility Engineering Excellence Awards

Andrew George

William Malkoutzis

Bernard Quinn

Dr Clint Steele

Prof. Simon Watkins

Andrea Winklemann

For further information:

SAE-A National Office

Unit 30/3 Westside Avenue

Port Melbourne

Executive Director: Natalie Roberts

Phone: (03) 9676 9568


Dr. Shane Richardson

Mobility Engineering Excellence Awards Chair


Graeme McLean

Graeme McLean & Associates Pty Ltd

Phone: (03) 9583 6694

Mobile: 0438 806 090


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