USCAR Recognition Awards – 2020

2020 Award Recipients

  • USCAR began presenting Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2003 to recognize individuals who made significant contributions to USCAR during an extended period of time. Most recipients have been active USCAR participants for at least a decade. Their dedication, expertise and the value of their contributions to the organization and our member companies have been immeasurable.

    This year, we recognize three individuals for their accomplishments: Ion Halalay and Arun Solomon of GM, and Manish Mehta of M-Tech International.

    Ion Halalay (GM) has been active in USABC since 2008. In the past 13 years, he has been a member of the Technical Advisory Committee, lead of the Separator RFPI workgroup and program manager of many projects. Some of Ion’s successful projects include the Entek and Celgard Advanced Separator Development programs, Soulbrain, NOHMS and Gotion Advanced Electrolyte Development programs, and Leyden Technology Assessment Program. He also encouraged USABC’s active involvement in enhancing promising technology development programs beyond the laboratory stage.

    Ion has a strong background in physics and electrochemistry and is a veteran of the automotive industry. His understanding of fundamental science and experience with real applications have been a perfect combination when directing development of future technologies.

    Under Ion’s leadership, the separator RFPI workgroup successfully selected multiple promising technology development and assessment programs with total portfolio value of $3.6 Million. As program manager, his leadership skills have been steadfast which led to successful project completion. As a workgroup member, Ion’s wealth of knowledge influenced the research direction of programs, finding solutions to difficult problems and proposing alternative solutions to achieving USABC goals. Additionally, he has helped to increase industry awareness of USABC achievements and opportunities, thereby encouraging battery proposal submissions, leading to many successful programs. Ion is an indispensable part of USABC.

    Manish Mehta (M-Tech) has been a contributing partner to the success of USAMP and manufacturing research for 27 years.

    In 1994, Manish began working with the Automotive Composites Consortium as program manager to demonstrate a composite pick-up truck box molded from new plastic resins and made with fiberglass preforms. As part of PNGV, he wrote and managed two large multi-million-dollar proposals in lightweighting demonstrations: Die-Casting of Aluminum Transmission Cases and Springback Predictability in Sheet-Metal Stamping of High-Strength Steels and Aluminum sheets.

    Under the FreedomCAR Partnership, Manish again successfully managed multiple programs on USCAR’s behalf: Springback Compensation, Die Face Compensation, the Multi-Material Vehicles Initiative and Hydrogen Fuel Cells Manufacturing. He co-authored the proposal for the largest DOE to USAMP contract award for $7 Million on carbon fiber composites for Validation of Material Models in Crash of Carbon Fiber Bumper Beams Project. He continues to lead Low-Cost Magnesium Sheet Project, which he also received a Team Award for this year.

    Manish demonstrated leadership and guidance with individuals that did not report to him in any formal manner and he was a key enabler to the successful completion of 16 contracts totalling approximately $95 Million from DOE and DOC. Manish is a cohesive force for a team and leads by example; he is willing to take on new and difficult assignments and knows how to fill the gaps that naturally emerge in challenging technical programs.

    Arun Solomon (GM) has served in a range of positions during his USCAR tenure. These have included: US DRIVE Advanced Combustion and Emissions Control Tech Team (ACEC) Co-Chair, Engine Efficiency Goals subcommittee leader, Fuels Roadmap subcommittee leader, Roadmap Priorities subcommittee leader, as well as lead GM representative to ACEC.

    As an ACEC member, Arun has been influential in aligning the DOE research portfolio with the needs of our Member companies. His contributions include leading the update of the official US DRIVE ACEC research roadmap, as well as its extension to include fuel effects. Arun also provided detailed feedback on National Laboratory research projects that has been invaluable.

    Arun has played a key role in providing feedback to the DOE’s Co-optima program with the objective of increasing the program’s impact on US light-duty fuel efficiency and emissions. In 2014, he led the ACEC to determine a prioritized, consensus list of fuel properties for future engines.

    Arun also led an OEM team to provide the National Lab researchers a minimum set of gasoline engine operating conditions to practically measure progress towards gasoline engine efficiency goals for downsized boosted, hybrid, and naturally aspirated engine pathways. As a result of that work, in 2010 the DOE changed its funding and portfolio to reflect a gasoline engine combustion focus.

    Arun directly influenced the structure of the light-duty research consortium, the Partnership to Advance Combustion Engines (PACE). Providing clear focus for the work has been valuable for prioritizing and organizing the technical tasks.

  • USCAR Team Awards recognize those teams and members who leveraged their resources, exceeded expectations, overcame challenges and created outstanding value for our member companies.

    Team Awards recipients this year are: the Ergonomic Task Force Standard Center of Knowledge, the Low-Cost Magnesium Sheet Component Development Demo team, the Standard for Multiple Laser Additive Manufacturing team and the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) Farasis EV Program Workgroup.

    Ergonomic Task Force (ETF) Standards Center of Knowledge Team

    The Ergonomic Task Force (ETF) Standards Center of Knowledge successfully published a new Ergo Standard on Manually Seated Fasteners through USCAR / SAE channels. The publication is the culmination of over two years of work developing, verifying and validating ergo requirements for manually installed fasteners within automotive manufacturing.

    The publication of the new standard provides a succinct document to direct and provide limits for the OEM members to leverage both internally and externally. Beyond commonization, documenting ergonomic design criteria further reduces injury risk associated with poor design within our automotive manufacturing process. Through delivering an ergonomically acceptable fastener, that is manually installed, the risk of injury to an operator is reduced as well as the direct costs associated with that.

    The human element of preventing just one injury is immeasurable, however when looking at both direct and indirect costs, a single hand injury prevented from just one company realizes the in-kind investment from the developed standard.

    Team members being recognized for this work are as follows: Glenn HarringtonSalima Ladha and Patty Racco, Ford; Ronald Jones, GM; Lynn Eaton, Stellantis; and Joe Leone, Sandalwood Engineering.

    Low-Cost Magnesium (Mg) Sheet Component Development Demonstration Team

    The Low-Cost Magnesium (Mg) Sheet Component Development Demonstration team developed a model to account for Mg grain axis rotation during plastic deformation with tension-compression asymmetry. The team also demonstrated that both Ca and Zn added to Mg and proper recrystallization give desirable texture with improved formability.

    The use of phenomenological model MAT233+ developed in this project now enables accurate prediction of limit strains and is thus a major step towards implementing Mg sheet. Revealing mechanisms that promote texture weakening and slip along multiple crystallographic planes afforded in Mg-Ca-Zn alloys pushes forming closer to room temperature, reducing cycle time, does not limit the number of suitable production facilities thus significantly increasing options for Mg sheet production use. Lubricants, coatings and pretreatments that were developed in this project improve formability and corrosion resistance, allowing Mg sheet to be cost-effectively produced in current body and paint shops.

    Team members being recognized for this work are as follows: Bita Ghaffari, Ford; Louis HectorArianna Morales and Anil Sachdev, GM; Aslam AdamLeland Decker and Randy Gerken, Stellantis; Jon Carter and Manish Mehta, M-Tech; Steve Logan, AET; and Kaan Inal, University of Waterloo.

    Standard for Multiple Laser Additive Manufacturing Team

    The Standard for Multiple Laser Additive Manufacturing team developed standard protocols (test artifacts and methods) to evaluate multiple-laser powder bed fusion capabilities for metal part additive manufacturing. Test artifacts were designed, printed with aluminum, and tested to initiate development of a testing standard through the ASTM F42 5.0 Materials and Process Subcommittee.

    USCAR member companies needed a standard testing protocol focused on multi-laser systems to benchmark build performance and to mature the technology at OEM partners and their supply base.

    Standard protocols developed in this project provide value in three respects: (1) Standard test results may be compared between several machines to make sound investment decisions. Metal AM machines can reach over $1M per system. (2) Standard test artifacts are specifically designed to reveal weaknesses in laser-overlapping regions. This testing is critical for parts with mechanical loading applications. (3) Finally, these testing protocols provide insight to machine builders on how to improve build performance and mature multi-laser technology throughout the AM supply base.

    Team members being recognized for this work are as follows: Joy Forsmark and Yang Li, Ford; Josh Chae and Mark Smith, GM; Tom Sorovetz, Stellantis; and Ed Herderick and Jacob Rindler, Ohio State.

    USABC Farasis EV Program Work Group

    The USABC Farasis EV Program Work Group is the first one which can meet the USABC 2023 EV cell cost target while achieving the automotive technology critical Wh/L high energy density at the same time.  The high energy density, low-cost features of these final deliverable cells, while also delivering more than adequate Cycle life helps make the Farasis EV program a major success story for the USABC today and potentially for automotive OEMs in the upcoming years. With this battery technology going to production in the future, it will facilitate the development of more profitable and long-range electrical vehicles. Farasis demonstration of the feasibility of two advanced materials integrated into the same cell with decent life performance, also served to promote increased research and development in a different direction for future battery technologies.

    The final cells delivered by Farasis EV program demonstrated the highest energy density (Wh/L) of the EV programs within USABC. The Wh/L energy is a key energy metric for automotive applications. Farasis is the first supplier to demonstrate acceptable cycle life using a high energy Si-C composite as part of the anode materials in battery cells. Additionally, the pairing of a Ni-rich NMC cathode with Si containing anode materials into EV format battery cells is a valuable analytical vessel.  It provides developers the opportunity to obtain valuable benchmark level cell chemistry information, such as thermal behavior and abuse tolerance.

    Team members being recognized for this work are as follows: Renata Arsenault, Ford; Meng Jiang, GM; Kent Lin and Nakia Simon, Stellantis; Brian Cunningham, DOE; Jack Deppe and Matthew Shirk, INL; and Madhuri Thakur, Farasis.

  • Each year, USCAR recognizes peer-nominated individuals for their outstanding contributions to their respective teams with Special Recognition Awards.

    The Special Recognition Award is designed to recognize individual participants who excelled in the past year and demonstrated their exceptional commitment to USCAR by going above and beyond expectations. It recognizes those whose leadership inspires their teams to achieve greatness.

    Those being recognized for work in 2020 are: Renata Arsenault and Jeff Luther from Ford; Paul NajtAnil SachdevGreg Shanahan (retired) and Mark Smith from GM; Oliver Gross from Stellantis; and Brian Cunningham from the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Serving as chair and project manager, Renata Arsenault (Ford) led the USABC Battery Recycling Work Group’s development of a robust technology portfolio, demonstrating the technical and economic viability of recycling Lithium-Ion cells back into automotive grade battery products.

    Renata’s vision and collaborative skills have encouraged other developers to strike towards similar achievements. By achieving a pathway to technical and cost parity between recycled and virgin active materials, a new industry crucial to large scale adoption of electrified vehicles has been enabled.

    Our Member Companies can look forward to large-scale industrialization of lithium-ion batteries, while accommodating the long-term life cycle aspect that this commodity brings.

    Brian Cunningham (US Department of Energy [DOE]) manages the entire USABC portfolio on behalf of DOE. As such, he is involved in every facet of USABC, actively involved on many programs spanning all technology areas, instrumental in coordinating testing across the national labs, and DOE lead on every RFPI.

    Brian is a valuable workgroup member and ensures programs are well-aligned with OEM needs and DOE research priorities, testing resources are judiciously allocated and that cost and technology targets remain sufficiently aggressive in a rapidly evolving landscape. This requires a unique mastery of a breadth of technical areas.

    Perhaps the greatest direct value Brian has consistently brought to USABC is through his active role in shaping literally all of the SOWs for new programs in his capacity as DOE RFPI lead for all application areas. In this role, he has leveraged his breadth of technical expertise, and purview of related DOE R&D activities to strengthen the development plans for each program, highlight the potential pitfalls and ensure that test plans were structured to expose technology weaknesses.

    Oliver Gross (Stellantis) led the ZenLabs project team to deliver cells with a demonstrated fast charge of 90% energy in 15 minutes, that met 90% of the cycle life goal and had a cell cost of <$100/kWh. The demonstrated fast charge capability of the cell decreases customer concern for long recharge times, an increased cycle life decreases customer concern about battery life and decreased driving range with time, and the decreased cost of the cell increases the potential for our Members to offer these vehicles at a price acceptable to the typical consumer.

    Oliver also guided the project team to develop revised test methods and criteria that were subsequently adopted and distributed for use by other USABC EV programs. These test methods and standards can be used by our Members to benchmark and evaluate potential cells for use in their vehicles.

    Jeff Luther (Ford), project leader of the Error Proofing, In-Process Non-Destructive Evaluation Team, developed testing methodology, protocols and matrix to evaluate the capability of a pre-opened, pre-position (POPP) clamp assembly and error detection system used in production. He also led and performed measurement system analysis to determine detection system reproducibility, repeatability, accuracy and factory floor first-time capability.

    Methodologies and testing protocols developed by Jeff delivered the data and identified a path to best use practices and potential failure modes to avoid when using the error detection system to assemble POPP clamps. His efforts, leadership and contribution accelerated efforts to solving a large majority of the issues associated with the inability to detect unreleased clamps in production and provided the necessary feedback to the assembly tool and error detection equipment supplier in addressing needed improvements to mitigate (and eliminate) identified system problems to assemble POPP clamps in production.

    In 2020, Paul Najt (GM) led the U.S. DRIVE Net-Zero Carbon Fuels Tech Team to evaluate several low carbon intensity fuel production processes for their life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rates and calculated minimum fuel selling price estimates. Paul’s persuasive leadership helped steer all parties to develop a comprehensive study plan and its first year-end report.

    Paul also led the Net-Zero Carbon Liquid Fuels Benchmarking Study by FEV to successful completion in just a few short months. The USCAR Fuels Working Group now has very solid techno-economic fuel process data.

    The two Net-Zero Carbon Fuel techno-economic analysis projects are helping USCAR once again demonstrate its auto industry leadership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Labs, and the Energy industry.  Because of Paul’s leadership, experience, and sincere interest in developing equitable comparative analysis on potential paths to lowering transportation carbon emissions, the USCAR Fuels Working Group has been able to quickly prepare its members for future efforts around a range of Future Fuels from a variety of feedstocks and pathways.

    Anil Sachdev (GM) singlehandedly negotiated the manufacture and delivery to USAMP of custom Magnesium alloys with POSCO/South Korea after the original supplier dropped out at the outset of the project. Availability of the POSCO Mg sheet enabled successful on time completion of the project. Additionally, Anil’s work helped to dramatically improve Mg model fidelity through inclusion of custom crystal plasticity simulations.

    Three main issues have impeded broader application of Mg sheet in automotive: (1) formability, (2) corrosion/lubrication, (3) room temperature stampability. Regarding (1), a new phenomenological model (MAT233+) that accounts for relevant deformation mechanisms and texture, was implemented in a commercial FE code commonly used in automotive forming and performance simulations. This achievement, which was only possible once the POSCO sheet became available, now enables accurate prediction of forming limit curves spanning tension to balanced biaxial deformation. Regarding (2), experimental Mg-Ca-Zn ternary alloys, developed by USAMP in concert with the POSCO alloys, have pushed forming closer to room temperature. Regarding (3), the pre-treatments/lubricants developed using the POSCO Mg sheet suggested means to address corrosion and lubrication in body shops. Key results were disseminated through several domestic and international oral presentations and numerous scientific publications.

    Greg Shanahan (GM) has shown consistent leadership in the EWCAP group as the company lead for General Motors. He initiated and led key projects related to electrical connector reliability design and testing, including an improved current rating technique for high performance terminals and a method to provide process assurance for connector mating.

    Both projects improve the reliability of electrical connectors and terminals. This is a key enabler for automated driving and improved vehicle performance.

    Having a performance advantage in terminal and connector technology gives the member companies a commercial advantage.

    Mark Smith (GM) assembled OEM subject matter expert teams, developed and authored project Statements of Work, secured funding and vetted/selected appropriate technical strategic planning suppliers to create manufacturing technology roadmaps to advance Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Smart Manufacturing (SM) strategic initiatives within the Manufacturing TLC.

    These roadmap efforts initiated by, and under the visionary leadership of Mark, identify and establish short and longer term USCAR projects that aid in closing AM and SM technical gaps. Furthermore, the roadmaps guide and deliver a unified and organized voice of our Member needs to AM & SM industries (machine builders, material providers, service bureaus, etc.) and create a greater incentive for directed future development at USCAR in areas of AM and SM strategic initiatives.