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Timken helps establish engineering innovation award for auto industry

Canton, OH -- The Timken Company and SAE International have created an annual award to recognize new concepts, inno...


Canton, OH — The Timken Company and SAE International have created an annual award to recognize new concepts, innovations and applications that enhance vehicle fuel-efficiency or transmission durability. The award, named in honour of legendary engineer Howard Simpson, will be open to SAE members and individuals involved with SAE activities who are employed in the automotive industry.

The SAE/Timken Howard Simpson Automotive Transmission and Driveline Innovation Award will first be presented in April 2008 during the SAE World Congress, the pre-eminent new technology conference for the global automotive industry.

Simpson, a Ford engineer who conceived and designed a revolutionary planetary gear set for automatic transmissions, patented designs that ultimately became the basis for most U.S. transmissions by the mid-1960s. The Simpson gear train had the distinction of being licensed for manufacture by all of the Big Three automakers, providing the foundation for the Ford C4 and C5 model transmissions from 1964 through the 1980s, the ground-breaking Chrysler Torqueflite and several General Motors models.

“Howard was an extremely talented and prolific inventor,” said Dr. Mircea Gradu, chief engineer for Timken’s automotive driveline business and a member of the award committee. “His pioneering work has endured from the 1950s to the present day.”

Simpson’s patents, granted in 1950, were put into production with the introduction of the Torqueflite transmission in the 1955 Chrysler Imperial. The original configuration was produced with minor revisions for more than 20 years and led to the development of other heavy-duty automatic transmissions that saw service through mid-2006.

“Innovation is a core value at The Timken Company and this award program is a testament to the company’s commitment to technical innovation and creativity in a major industry,” said Alastair R. Deane, Timken senior vice-president — technology. “This distinction fills an existing gap within SAE’s award structure related to the specific automotive transmission and driveline technology area.”

Nominations will be solicited through a targeted SAE e-mail campaign to automotive transmission and driveline engineers, as well as through several of the organization’s publications. Nominations from outside the United States are encouraged. More details on The SAE/Timken Howard Simpson Automotive Transmission and Driveline Innovation Award may be found at www.sae.org.

SAE International has more than 90,000 members — engineers, business executives, educators and students from 100 countries — who share information and exchange ideas for advancing the engineering of mobility systems.

The Timken Company is a supplier of innovative friction management and power transmission products and services with operations in 26 countries and about 25,000 employees.