We Packed up all our Bags and Drove out to Winnipeg

27th April 2012 by Tony Norton

This post is taken from Simulate to Innovate

Actually, I made my first trip to Winnipeg by plane, but I thought I’d start with a musical reference. I recently visited to present at Manitoba’s Heavy Vehicle Technology Workshop. The workshop was organized by the Red River College Office of Applied Research & Commercialization, in collaboration with the National Research Council Canada Industrial research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), WESTEST, and the Vehicle Technology Centre.

My presentation addressed one of the central themes of the workshop – sustainability.  I addressed this in two parts. First, how do we achieve design efficiency? And second, how do we measure environmental impact?  The discussion considered lightweighting through advanced materials, rethinking of design processes and changing vehicle architectures using examples cited from heavy vehicle and other industries. Of course one of the examples that I cited was the Altair BUSolutions LCO-140, but that was far from the only reference to buses during the day.


The Altair BUSolutions LCO-15 is the world’s first series hybrid hydraulic bus and was developed by Altair ProductDesign from the ground up to be as light as possible


The keynote speakers were Craig Shankwitz, Director, Intelligent Vehicles Laboratory, University of Minnesota and Paul Soubry, President and CEO of New Flyer Industries. Dr. Shankwitz spoke about the 296 certified miles of Bus-Only-Shoulders (BOS) in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, the analysis of the mobility benefits to the ground transportation network and the technology that facilitates the use of BOS during all weathers.  Mr. Soubry explained New Flyer’s  mission of providing the “Best Bus Value and Support for Life” and the importance of technical innovation and supply chain collaboration.

There was more bus-related discussion. Jim MacDonald of Motor Coach Industries also focused on the contribution of the supply chain to OEM competitiveness. Bill Stanton of Sigma Industries made a case for lightweighting commercial vehicle bodies using hybrid composite technology. The mixed material philosophy presented certainly struck a chord with me, aligning with my belief that the near future of road vehicles is going to be neither purely metallic nor composite. The lightweighting winners in mainstream transportation will put the right material in the right place and adopt architectures that exploit this philosophy, an approach that Altair is supporting through involvement in the Center for Automotive Research’s CALM (Coalition for Automotive Lightweighting