DAVE WILSON: ENGINEER GAINS INSPIRATION FROM FORD MODEL T
- As supervisor of Ford Hybrid Electric Vehicle Integration, one of Dave Wilson’s jobs is to find ways to reduce costs and improve quality of Ford’s future hybrid electric vehicles
- Wilson is looking at ways to standardize HEV parts across multiple vehicle programs to reduce costs
- Wilson is a Michigan native, and he currently resides in Plymouth
New, sophisticated technologies continue to evolve as Ford moves forward with its plan to deliver a suite of electrified vehicles to market by 2012. As these technologies develop, one of Dave Wilson’s jobs, as supervisor of Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Integration, is to help keep costs down and quality up.
“We are examining ways of using the same components across multiple HEV vehicle programs to reduce engineering and tooling costs and gain more volume across those commodities,” said Wilson.
If the idea of using similar parts to simplify the assembly process and control costs sounds familiar, there’s good reason. The concept was born in the early 1900s with the Ford Model T.
“The Model T was the first low-priced automobile with standard, interchangeable parts,” said Wilson. “We are applying the same principles as we develop new hybrid and electric plug-in vehicles.”
The aim is produce vehicles that are common – on the inside, not the outside, says Wilson.
“The more identical certain parts are, the better,” he said, using a housing development as an analogy. “If you’re building a new subdivision, all the houses on the block can look different and unique to match the needs of the buyer, but you want the inner workings of the home – the furnace, hot water heater, electrical system – to essentially be the same.”
In addition to cost and efficiency savings, Wilson says standardized parts ultimately result in improved quality.
“Once a part is engineered, you prove its quality and reliability,” he explained. “Any time you significantly re-engineer a component, you run the risk of having an issue with the new design.”
Wilson says the real trick is ensuring all of the various components adapt properly to different vehicles.
“We need to be able to take any given part, such as an air conditioning compressor for example, and demonstrate that it meets the needs of the customer regardless of what vehicle we’re putting it in,” he said.
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- When he’s not on the job, Wilson uses his mechanical mind for recreational purposes, collecting and building guitars. “I buy guitars, take them apart and then reassemble them into something that I really like,” he said. “You start with a sound you have in mind and then you work to capture that sound with the instrument.”
- So far, Wilson has built six guitars. He also plays. “I like rock and old blues music,” he said. “But by 10 p.m., I have to stop because sometimes I tend to play a little too loud.”
- Wilson is a Michigan native. He grew up in Troy and Rochester Hills. He and his family currently make their home in Plymouth, Mich.
# # #
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company ’ s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford ’ s products, please visit www.ford.com .
Oct. 5, 2009