Falcon Suspension Wins Engineering Accolade
The Ford Falcon’s new Control Blade independent rear suspension system has won an award for engineering excellence.
The suspension system won the Silver Award at the 2002 Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (SAE-A) Engineering Excellence Awards, where the Honorable Rob Hulls, Minister for Manufacturing Industry, presented the award to Ford’s Vice President, Product Development, Trevor Worthington.
The award is Ford’s second success in as many years at the SAE-A awards. The AUII safety package won the Gold Award at the Society’s 2001 Engineering Excellence Awards.
The judges praised the Ford suspension design for “its ‘whole of vehicle’ systems approach to developing a package with improved performance, safety and cost efficiency.”
“The innovative design provided major package advantages to integrate the new Control Blade Independent Rear Suspension with a new forward of the axle fuel tank, much larger volume exhaust system and new rear underbody structure,” the Society said.
“This created a system with excellent lateral control, improved handling and durability and rear end crash performance and safety.
“The end user should readily recognise the ride and handling refinement and improvement in NVH achieved from this package,” the Society concluded.
The society also praised Ford’s suspension project team for its use of computer aided engineering tools to simulate dynamics and crash performance prior to the testing of prototypes.
Ford’s all-new Independent Rear Suspension system debuts on the BA Falcon and is standard across the sedan range.
Mr Worthington was delighted to accept the award.
“This is magnificent recognition of all the hard work, engineering ingenuity and experience that has got into the Falcon design by so many at Ford,” he said.
Ford Chassis Development Manager, Alex de Vlugt, said the innovative Control Blade system allowed Ford engineers to tune the Falcon’s ride and handling functions independently of each other.
“In many suspension set-ups, there is an unnecessary compromise between ride and handling. By decoupling the two we can provide guaranteed control over toe and camber without sacrificing ride comfort,” he said.
The Falcon Control Blade is similar to the rear suspension concept fitted to European cars such as Focus and Jaguar X-Type, hailed by critics for their ride, handling and steering response.
Developed by Ford’s chassis team specifically for Australian conditions, it is the first application of Ford Motor Company’s Control Blade technology in a rear-drive vehicle.