The Engineer's Notebook Blog

The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

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Fourth Annual GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering Award

Posted October 22, 2008 5:01 PM by Chris Leonard

For four years now, GlobalSpec, Inc., (the parent company of CR4) has honored the achievements of unsung engineers whose work has helped to change or improve the world we live in. It was in this spirit that the Fourth Annual GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering Award was presented to a team of engineers from General Motors in recognition of the 35th anniversary of the development of the catalytic converter for automobile use. This was in essence, the first "green" automotive initiative.

While the catalytic converter was not new, the GM design team lead by Richard Klimish, Ph.D, designed a converter that could survive in the harsh environment of the automotive undercarriage. This was no small feat. The converter had to handle a wide range of flows, temperature conditions and environment issues (snow, sleet, frost). Couple this with limited placement options, the need to operate optimally for at least 50,000 miles, and maintain low cost, and you have a true design challenge.

One of the key challenges involved the packaging of the converter, which required welding high chromium steel and aluminum together. Another challenge, getting the proper platinum/palladium mixture was solved in a unique fashion. Platinum ore deposits are usually mixed with palladium, and the composition percentage varies from mine to mine. GM contracted with a mine in South Africa to produce a given amount of platinum/palladium per year and as such, designed the specs of the converter to match the composition of the ore from the mine. This was cheaper than smelting the individual elements and recombining them at x percentage.

The GM engineering team noted the high level of support provided by Robert Stemple and GM Chairman Ed Cole as a leading reason for the project's success. They forced one design across all of GM's imprints and smoothed the away the cross departmental politics that are often tougher to solve than the engineering challenges.

Attending his fourth GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering Award ceremony was Tom Brownell, Senior Vice President, Production & Engineering at GlobalSpec and one of the company's founders. He had the following to say of the rationale behind the award: "Engineers don't always get recognized for their feats, but they don't do them for the recognition. They do them for the challenge. That's why they're engineers."

Past recipients of the GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering Award include:

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1985
Good Answers: 25
#1

Re: Fourth Annual GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering Award

10/24/2008 7:43 AM

"Engineers don't always get recognized for their feats, but they don't do them for the recognition. They do them for the challenge. That's why they're engineers."

I have another quote for you from our late President of India Dr.Radhakrishnan during Golden Jubilee celebration of our engineering college Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute,Mumbai,India, in year 1964. He said "Engineers should not be job seekers but job creators".

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"Engineers should not look for jobs but should create jobs for others" by Dr.Radhakrishnan Ex President of India during my college graduation day
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