Title: A case study of vehicle cooling system optimisation through system engineering

Authors: Robert A. Wade

Addresses: V8/V10 Engine System Engineering, Ford Motor Company, 21500 Oakwood Blvd., MD 36, Dearborn, MI 48124, USA

Abstract: A case study of system engineering applied to resolving system integration issues on a vehicle cooling system is presented. Organisational learning that led to programme changes before project completion impeded the new product development process. Mutually exclusive requirements inhibited the system integration process and could have forced the water pump, heater core, and radiator to operate in conditions known to lead to failure. The challenges faced in correcting the system included working with independent organisation structures, tight programme timing, and changing evaluation methodology. The system engineering tools of the Parameter Diagram and Limit Diagram helped guide decisions on the programme. The application of system engineering principles led to organisational learning that improved the capability and confidence of the entire organisation. The Chief Engineer guided the team to prevent design iteration and look at improved subsystem requirements. An optimised design solution was found, which satisfied all subsystems and established a robust cooling system design. The V-Sequence model of system engineering is important for managing complex layered systems, but it requires Chief Engineer intervention to resolve integration issues and ensure timeliness of the programme.

Keywords: system engineering; vehicle cooling; design optimisation; system integration; organisational learning; new product development; vehicle design; cooling system design; chief engineer role.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2005.005946

International Journal of Product Development, 2005 Vol.1 No.3/4, pp.341 - 364

Published online: 03 Jan 2005 *

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