A team effort that involved up to thirty modellers at one time gave Ford the leading edge in the major category at this year’s design awards.

Early clay models for what is now the new Ford Territory were created from the very beginning – in the preliminary styling and development phase four years ago.

Full-size models were used extensively in styling clinics to confirm styling directions, for management approvals, wind tunnel testing and engine feasibility trials.

Scale models were also used to explore any changes in direction. A small fibreglass model, just under half the actual size, was sent to the US for Ford’s approval.

Karl Gibbons, modelling supervisor at Ford Australia explains that clay modelling has become much more technically advanced in the past five years.

Clay modelling no longer involves such a ‘hands on’ approach, he says. “With the advent of computer aided modelling, from ‘virtual’ models on screen and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling capabilities, the accuracy is much higher and model turnaround much faster.”

Gibbons says, “Ford uses large plasma screens to view virtual models that are developed to create the assumptions for the program.” Verification clay models are then milled in the modelling studio.

Gibbons doesn’t see the virtual system replacing clay models totally but says it shortens the development time dramatically.

“We can run simultaneous engineering analysis on screen and, when the surface development information is developed, engineers can analyse a vehicle for manufacturing and production feasibility as well as wind tunnel performance.”

Before modelling the exterior and interior in clay, Ford runs extensive interior and exterior animations in styling research clinics so future customers can see very clearly what a car will look like. “Models for styling clinics have to be totally realistic otherwise it can negatively affect the research,” said Gibbons.

Once a vehicle is finally approved – after many years of development – ‘A-Class surfaces’ are developed from the virtual model and tooling can proceed.

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Pernilla Johansson

Pernilla Johansson

Pernilla Johansson has achieved extraordinary success as a designer for companies such as Electrolux, Philips and NPK. Belinda Stening asked her about her background and career highlights.

Share, Work

Is carbon the new black?

It is astounding how new knowledge and increased environmental research can transform into prime content for building brand loyalty and selling products and services, albeit in a more environmentally responsible manner.

Share
At home with tubular steel furniture

At home with tubular steel furniture

From 1925 when a photograph of Marcel Breuer’s first tubular steel chair was published, this new kind of furniture simultaneously signified modernist style and the experience of modernity.

Share

Designs on crime

The University of Technology, Sydney has established a Designing Out Crime Research Centre – inspired by similar research centres in Europe and the UK. There is a growing body of exploratory research that shows design can aid interventions against crime.

Share, Work