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Sunraysia Daily Saturday, February 20, 2016
R&D investment pays off
Falcon XR6 Sprint will feature a carbon fibre
air intake system, a first for a Falcon XR6 turbo
FORD S unique level of local R&D investment
has led to another innovation with the Falcon
XR6 Sprint sporting Ford s first carbon fibre
engine air intake system.
The Falcon XR6 Sprint sedan will feature
a carbon fibre air intake system, a first for a
Falcon XR6 turbo.
The system was developed and engineered
by Ford s Australian engineering team to
increase performance feel due to the higher
compression six-cylinder engine spooling the
turbo up faster. The system is more responsive
and significantly stronger than comparable
"The Falcon s legacy will live on well
beyond this year through our designers and
engineers that will continue to innovate to
make Australian s lives better," says Graeme
Whickman, president and CEO, Ford of
Australia. "The Falcon XR6 Sprint s new
innovative carbon fibre engine air intake is the
latest example of how our local engineers and
suppliers will reshape the auto industry well
into the future."
Working in conjunction with, Quickstep
Automotive in Geelong, Ford developed a
lighter, more efficient air intake system for the
performance Falcon XR6 Sprint, which goes on
sale in the second quarter of 2016. Quickstep
Automotive will manufacture the part for Ford and
provide material selection through the process.
Ford also called on the high-performance
engineering expertise of Premcar and tasked
the company to design the intake system to
meet the performance requirements of the
Ford also signed off on the part design, as
well as doing the engineering material and part
Premcar has a track record of working on
Ford performance vehicles, including the
Falcon GT F sedan.
The innovative intake system on the Falcon
XR6 Sprint uses a carbon fibre air duct in lieu
of more commonly used plastic.
Carbon fibre, normally the reserve of high-
performance European sportscars, was chosen
for its functional performance over a normal
plastic air intake. The work is another example
of Ford s innovative efforts with local suppliers
through on going engineering development.
In 2015 Geelong s Carbon Revolution began
developing and manufacturing locally the
world s first mass-produced carbon fibre wheels
for the Mustang Shelby GT350R for North
"Ford s engineers, Carbon Revolution and
Quickstep Automotive demonstrate there s a
bright future for the auto industry Australia
because of our commitment, breadth talent
and world-class education system," said Dave
French, director, Vehicle Programs, Asia Pacific
Product Development Centre.
More local innovation
The new intake system meets Ford s exacting
Global standards and is a proof point of
the high standard of Australian automotive
Importantly too, Ford s focus in the Geelong
area will continue with the $27 million Geelong
Research and Development Centre and the 900
ha Proving Ground at Lara continuing to play a
critical role in global Ford vehicle programs.
Vehicle Line Director of Falcon and Territory,
David Wilkinson, said the decision to use
carbon fibre for the XR6 Sprint was twofold.
"Normally this intake duct would be made
out of blow molded plastic, which can be quite
thick and lack dimensional consistency," he
said. "By bringing Quickstep Automotive on
board, we were able to embrace new light-
weighting technology as well as provide the
best-possible efficiency of the system on our
turbocharged XR6 Sprint."
Wilkinson said that to ensure the inside
cross-sectional area of the intake is maximised,
the use of carbon fibre enabled Ford to have a
much thinner material (increasing inside cross
section while being the same outside shape)
and is much stiffer so it won t change shape
under heat or load.
"Given this part has space restrictions from
intake and the air conditioning lines, moving to
a thin-wall material enabled us to achieve the
maximum amount of air flow given the under
bonnet space restrictions we had," he said.
Using carbon fibre also produced a weight
advantage of 46 per cent over the equivalent
plastic intake system. The new carbon fibre
system weighs just 235 gm, compared to the
existing plastic air intake system, which weighs
Quickstep has a strong track record as
an innovator. It manufactures advanced
composites in Australia for the auto and
aerospace industry and develops and
licences advanced composite manufacturing
technologies for the global market.
Working with Ford, Quickstep
Automotive was also able to accelerate the
commercialisation of its technology for
the automotive industry and support the
establishment of its Automotive Division at
Deakin University s Geelong Waurn Ponds
David Marino, CEO and Managing Director
of Quickstep said: "Quickstep is very proud of
our relationship with the Ford brand and the
iconic XR6 Sprint, which represents the best of
Australia s automotive design and engineering
"Through this program, Quickstep
Automotive has now qualified its materials and
processes with a well-respected global vehicle
manufacture in Ford and this should lead to
other automotive composite opportunities in
Facts of Carbon Fibre Duct
• Material is sourced from the UK
• Material is not gel coated, is "raw finished"
• Material has four layers and is hand laid
• Process is "Pre-preg" carbon fibre lay-up.
This is carbon fibre fabric, pre-infused with
resin before the part is manufactured. This
is typically used in aircraft and performance
• Designed by Premcar, engineered and
tested by Ford, manufactured by Quickstep
• Ford is Quickstep Automotive s first OEM
• Quickstep is a supplier for the Joint strike
fighter project and the Australian Defence
This work builds on Ford's Australian R&D investment of
almost $2 billion R&D in the past six years, including $300
million invested in 2015 alone.
The system was developed by Ford engineers
in Australia alongside Melbourne-based
supplier Premcar who helped design the
system and Quickstep Automotive, who will
manufacture the part locally.
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