Note: All technologies except #9 include PCT filing, with selected national filings made or planned during 2014.
Value Extraction LLC formed an Intellectual Property ("IP") development and holding venture with Szuba Consulting, Inc., in 2009 to commercialize through licensing or sale of their various new powertrain and driveline new technologies. The objective of all these new technologies is to reduce component cost and weight while improving function and quality and to solve known industry problems. The weight reductions are significant in supporting auto company efforts to improve fuel efficiency to meet new, very stringent fuel economy standards; the cost savings are needed to offset other increases resulting from adoption of new materials and technologies by the OEMs. Given the strength and novelty of our patents, both Value Extraction and Szuba Consulting earned top 50 positions on the 2015 Crain's Detroit Business Eureka Index.
Our technologies are summarized below; more new technologies are in process. Several of our new technologies, such as the making parts and preforms out of a tube and the tenon mechanical attachment, can be utilized in other, nonautomotive industries. We will entertain various licensing proposals as well as outright purchase of our IP, which in some cases would include a royalty free license to one or more of our manufacturing methods.
For more information, please contact Henry Fradkin, Principal of Value Extraction, at 1-313-278-1549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making Preforms and Parts out of a Tube… This new manufacturing method provides a new method for making preforms and selected round parts out of a tube for material savings in the range of 38-90% versus stamping them out of a flat piece of steel or aluminum. Moreover, the tooling associated with this new method is substantially less than using die details; e.g., around $15,000 versus about $250,000. As such, this new method could make preforms for turbine and impeller shrouds, clutch housings and hubs, steel differential housings (see technology below), brake housings, etc. It also is the basis for making steel or aluminum yokes and integrated yoke/propshaft components (also see technology below) as well as providing ways to make specialized steel and aluminum tubes. All of our technologies will save weight and cost while improving quality and function versus stamping round parts and preforms out of flat pieces of metal. This new technology is protected by US Patent Nos. 8356506 and 8919166; US Patent Applications 20130117990 and 20120216590; Canadian Application 2863794; CN201380010545.4; JP Patent No. 6006810; WO2013025892; and WO2014015135...plus trade secret know-how.
We have successfully made two different samples to prove the feasibility of this new manufacturing method…torque converter shrouds and engine mount inner cups. Utilizing our manufacturing method will avoid the current 90% scrap from stamping the shrouds out of a flat piece of metal, requires much less in equipment where the shroud can be formed in one hit on a 10-ton press versus the 7-station 600-ton press used today, and substantially reduces the ongoing maintenance related to perishable tools and die details.A pending patent protects this technology.
New Clutch Housing with a Superior Snap Ring Retention…One of the major OEMs and several Tier 1 suppliers have asked us to provide a better way to retain the snap ring versus the groove today…a serious failure mode. The technology is protected by US Patent Nos.. 8240446, 8499600, 8701853, and 8813934; the worldwide patent application WO20122011911 and WO2013025609 have been published and will be followed by selected national filings including those published already...see the IP Protection tab. Our design already has proven to be considerably superior in retaining the snap ring at much thinner housing wall thickness versus current thicker wall housings based on FEAs run by major global Tier 1 suppliers and major auto OEMs. The benefits include important weight, cost and some axial length reductions while providing superior function versus current state-of-the-art clutch housings, and increased cost savings would accrue using the manufacturing method to make parts out of a tube. FEAs have demonstrated that a reduction of wall housing thickness by 50% is feasible...and there is high confidence that the housing wall thickness could be reduced down to 1.0-1.5 mm...making steel housings comparable in weight to aluminum at 1/6 the cost per pound.
Tenon...A key factor to fabricating thin-walled housings is a new mechanical attachment method, called a tenon, that eliminates the need for laser welding the housing to another part. Moreover, that tenon design is broadly applicable to any application within and outside of the automotive industry to attach two parts that currently are being riveted, welded or joined by Tog-L-Loc or Tox, such as bracket assemblies, airplane skins, ship sides, appliances, furniture, metal tubes, etc. The tenon technology can be utilized with the same or dissimilar metals and with composites. By working with a Tier 1 die house, steel-to-steel, aluminum-to-aluminum, and aluminum-to-steel samples have been made and distributed to selected companies for their assessment. This new technology is being protected by US Patent No. 9371851 and WO2015108562, with the grant of a US patent expected by spring of 2016.
Locking Key Attachment Method...This is a new mechanical attachment method to replace bolts, screws, and other joining processes based on a long-standing, proven key process used in machinery and other applications. A very tight joint can be achieved using the proprietary designs inherent in this new attachment method. This new design would reduce cost and weight while improving function and reduce warranty costs by eliminating the incidence of bolts breaking and the opportunity to use fewer bolts and even smaller, less costly ones versus today.
Steel Double Cardan Joint (U-joint)…This technology and IP utilizes the manufacturing method of making parts out of a tube to fabricate steel double cardan joints to reduce costs and waste while improving function (i.e., better balance) considerably versus today’s cast iron cardan joints and versus the current trend to using costly CV joints. This technology is being protected by US Patent No. 8806733, CA284526, and WO2013025892. The estimated cost savings would be $1 for every pound reduced in making this conversion based on the inventor's past experience in converting cast iron components to steel; e.g., differential housings.
Lance-and-Form Clutch Hub…This patent-pending design complements the new lance-and-form splines clutch housings (see Technology #2) to provide weight and cost savings while maintaining function. Additionally, deployment of this technology can result in substantial equipment savings versus the state-of-the-art and more so using the Technology #1 method. A US patent has been issued ...see US Patent No.8701853...plus WO02213025609. The variable cost savings is estimated at $1 per hub.
Integrated Steel or Aluminum Yoke Driveshaft/ Hemmed Yokes…The patent-pending invention is a novel, patented (US Patent No. 9381557 and WO2013138806) one-piece yoke/driveshaft (propshaft) that integrates the yokes with the tube of the driveshaft. This new technology is applicable to both steel and aluminum driveshafts to save considerable weight and cost while improving NVH and balance compared with today’s driveshafts that incorporate separate cast iron yokes and even compared with the new steel yoke technology, which is coming on stream, that need to be welded onto the driveshaft tube. Fabrication would start using our making parts out of a tube manufacturing method. The estimated cost savings are $10-12 per driveshaft by eliminating the welds, reducing the number of balance tests and resulting balance buttons, and converting cast iron or forged yokes to steel.
New Steel Yoke…As an alternative to adopting the integrated design in Technology #4, the team is offering an innovative steel yoke design that provides a very strong ears to avoid deflection and provide ease of fabrication and a mechanical attachment to the driveshaft tube to eliminate the need for welding. The advanced features of this yoke fabrication method includes a novel means to dampen vibration...which also can easily and quickly be incorporated into current cast iron and forged yokes. The benefits over current cast iron and forged yokes include: lower cost and weight and vastly improved balance through its uniform thickness to eliminate or certainly minimize vibration problems. This new manufacturing method also is applicable to making or applying to other components such as shock absorbers and steering columns. Manufacturing feasibility has been established by a high-quality Tier 1 die house. At this time, the details of this new design are confidential and require execution of a mutual NDA for a review.
Collapsible Driveshaft and Steering Column…This new design can be applied to both steel and aluminum driveshafts and is protected by US Patent No. 8226490, US Patent No. 9638261, plus selected non-US national filings. There are significant cost and weight opportunities inherent in Szuba Consulting’s new design, including: (1) reducing the material thickness of a steel prop shaft versus today; (2) eliminating “backlash”; (3) offering greater torque density, and (4) reducing size for greater torque density. The technology can be utilized for other applications, including steering columns. The estimated cost savings would be $5-7 for a steel shaft and $10-12 for an aluminum shaft (e.g., no need for annealing and annodizing).
Elimination of Brazing in Torque Converters…This is a new patent-pending technology that results in significant cost and some weight savings, improved oil lubrication flow, and elimination of a “non-green” manufacturing process. Elimination of brazing from the torque converter could save $9-20 and about 1 pound per torque converter depending on the size of the torque converter for just the paste...more would be realized by including the savings from deletion of the furnace with its high energy costs, materials handling, and some waste. The innovation is a redesign of current parts to create a mechanical attachment based on the experience of the inventor complemented by suggestions from various experts in the field. More information is provided in the published patent US Patent No. 9328812 and WO2014007850. More national filings will occur in 2016, and a second patent application with design enhancements was filed in December 2015.
New, Improved Clutch Plate Design...This is a patent-pending new design of clutch plates that would allow for the elimination of one or more plates in a clutch housing but still provide the same function for a clutch versus today's clutches or be utilized to carry more torque within the same size housing. Companies adopting this new design that changes the configuration of the plate teeth also can choose to utilize the inherent package savings; e.g., for the families of new transmissions; or leverage the know-how from the inventor to maintain current package dimensions for a component or assembly. Importantly, this design change to the teeth can be fabricated without the need to purchase new equipment...only requires some die design changes. There also a complementary technology for replacing the all-aluminum housings in use today and planned for the future with a "hybrid" housing that has an aluminum sleeve on the outside and a steel sleeve with the housing splines...but splines still may be fabricated on the outside of this hybrid. Use of this complementary technology requires adoption of our new clutch housing design...see #2. The cost savings would be about $1 for every plate eliminated. The USPTO has published patent applications 20140124327 and 20140339043, which likely will be issued early in 2015; the WTO has published WO2014074344.
"Cageless" Bearings...This is a "game changing" technology that provides various ways to replace today's caged bearings (i.e., those with hard steel top and bottom containers) with new designs to reduce cost (~$1 US), weight and packaging of bearings for any moving parts; e.g., as used in current and future transmissions, torque converter, differentials, and axle carriers. This new cageless bearing design also would improve durability, quality, and reliability; e.g., no fracturing of tangs, no coming apart during shipping, and no lubrication problems. The two basic design is a very inexpensive holder or cup to hold each bearing that then are inserted or snapped into holes drilled into the hard face. It is being protected by a US Patent No. 8840310 plus a US non-provisional patent application 20140072251 and a PCT application with the WTO. As an example of potential savings and assuming a $1 per gear cost reduction, the total drivetrain cost including the torque converter, 6-speed transmission, differential, and axle carrier would be reduced by a total cost of $36.
Integrated Axle Housing...Szuba Consulting has developed a new design for axle housings that will reduce cost through process and material reductions as well as reducing component weight without compromising the functional integrity. This new design can be utilized in today's vehicles as well as in future ones. Because only a US provisional patent application has been filed, with nonprovisional US and WTO ones in process, an NDA would be required to learn about the details.
Improved Oil Flow for Lubricating Differentials and Transmissions...Szuba Consulting has developed a new cost-effective design for selected interior components to resolve a known problem of insufficient oil flow inside differentials and automatic transmissions while reducing some weight and cost. As of October 2014, only a provisional patent has been filed, but plans are in place to file a US nonprovisional utility patent application and a WTO PCT application. For now, interested companies must execute a mutual NDA to learn about the details.
Improved Interfaces for Oil Pans and Differential Covers...Szuba Consulting has developed a new cost-effective design that provide a superior attachment to the current design. Among the benefits is the potential to eliminate the gasket (perhaps $5-10 per unit) and a reduction in oil pan wall thickness. The revised design also can be utilized for other parts such as engine oil pans and differential covers. In all situations, this new design that can be easily implemented as a running change. The innovation is a change in design to the interface area of oil pans and differential covers to provide a leakproof capability while strengthening both the pan or cover as well as the component to which it is joined; e.g., engine block, transmission case, or differential housing. The new design also prevents creep, is easy to manufacture, and can be easily adapted for production and aftermarket parts.
Locking Key Attachment Method...This is a new mechanical attachment method to replace bolts, screws, and other joining processes based on a long-standing, proven key process used in machinery and other applications. A very tight joint can be achieved using the proprietary designs inherent in this new attachment method. This new design would reduce cost and weight while improving function and reduce warranty costs by eliminating the incidence of bolts breaking and the opportunity to use fewer bolts and even smaller, less costly ones versus today. Importantly, means to eliminate movement between parts, such as rotation between the ring gear and the housing, which, in turn, is why bolts no longer will break. Therefore, the cost reduction, and weight savings, occur because fewer bolts are needed versus today plus the bolts can be smaller and lighter than current ones. The cost of the key is “pennies,” and the design concept is based on long-time usage of keys in various machines. An exhaustive search by our patent attorney has turned up other, seemingly similar designs…but those will not work and thus have never been commercialized. Our design has been partially developed with a Tier 1 auto supplier to ensure feasibility.