Testing Toyota

03/10/2010


I have been following some of the discussions related to Toyotas lately. (In the interests of full disclosure, my wife drives a 2008 Prius and my daughter drives a 2008 Matrix. My wife is out of town at the moment, so I drove the Prius to work this morning. I did give a quick inspection to the floor mat and all seemed fine. I’ve driven it enough to think the concept of “rapid acceleration” is not in its vocabulary. The Matrix has a manual transmission, and I believe my daughter is a skilled enough driver to push in the clutch if necessary.)

Yesterday there was an article in the Chicago Tribune suggesting that Toyota is launching a counter offensive trying to discredit the efforts of David Gilbert (Southern Illinois University) who testified to congress that there are circumstances under which Toyota’s electronic throttle control can put the car into runaway mode. In response, Toyota’s contention is that Gilbert had to go to great lengths to make the controller fail. Its engineers demonstrated that if you go that far, any car’s controller will also freak out. They proved the point by using the same techniques on controllers from seven other vehicles, including Ford, Chevrolet, and Honda. All flunked the test.

“This is very interesting and timely,” you say, “but what does it have to do with process industries?” A fair question. The situation makes me wonder how such devices are designed and tested. Might it not be interesting to subject such a throttle controller to the same rigorous testing as a field device or PLC that is intended for a safety system? What would happen if Toyota or any automotive manufacturer submitted such critical system components to TÜV or a similar lab in order to get a SIL rating? (If you aren’t familiar with SIL ratings and what they mean, read this article.) Should a car’s throttle assembly have to pass a SIL 3 rating? SIL 2?

Needless to say, a safety PLC that helps keep a refinery from blowing up needs such rigorous testing. Maybe a few other things do as well.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.