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Engineering Services

Success Stories and Case Studies

Environmental Engineering

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) awarded a contract to Continental to conduct an air quality survey of the Central Indiana Region. This program includes all transportation equipment, technical personnel and air monitoring equipment required for the testing of air quality. Testing routes were designed to detect quality levels of air in urban (Indianapolis) environments as well as in the rural regions surrounding Indianapolis and continue at the State level. Continental has also expanded their environmental capabilities through a joint venture with environmental remediation firms to support:

  • Emergency Spill Response (for Manufacturing and Process requirements)
  • Investigations and Remediation (Buying/Selling/Closure/Risk Assessment)
  • Hazardous Materials Management (Front end to back end disposal services)
  • Clean Up Services (Follow up on newly discovered or known problems)
  • Tank Cleaning and Removal (Confined space entry and vacuum truck services)

Fifty-million dollar saving with Value Engineering

Continental's Engineering Services include Value Engineering. With one client, Continental was able to re-engineer and redesign numerous components for complex assemblies that involved plastic injection molded sub-components, steel stampings, rubber products and die castings. The resulting benefits resulted in over $50 million in piece price cost savings alone, with additional labor and process savings. The group developed new product designs that:

  • Simplified assembly operations, creating significant labor savings.
  • Re-designed multiple components into fewer or simplified parts, thereby error-proofing assembly operations, reducing scrap and improving quality.
  • Elimination of processing, welding and adhesive assembly operations with re-engineered fasteners or snap-fit designs.
  • Combined multiple parts into single components, creating significant piece price reductions. In one case,a multiple component stamping with 54 variations and welding operations was reduced to a single component with only one design without welding, cutting costs by 700%.

Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) for new product development increases success rate to 99%

Continental has worked closely with a major U.S. manufacturer to create a Computer-Aided-Engineering [CAE] group to support new product development initiatives. This technical resource included a "fully bundled" program approach, which integrated dedicated technical personnel, program management, off-site facilities, support staff, computer hardware (workstations & PCs) and other related equipment (printers, plotters, communications, power backups, data management, etc.) and CAE/FEA software.

Prior to the creation of this Advanced Product Development Technology, designs were created, prototyped and tested with prototype test failures occurred routinely as normal events. These test failures were addressed with design modifications that could best be described as engineering "dead reckoning". New designs were engineered and these took time to mold and test. Even the new designs would fail on occasions, jeopardizing product launch timing targets. The design-test-failure-retest cycle was at best unpredictable and costly. After the creation of this Advanced Product Development Technology, every new design was run through a series of computer generated test simulations. Design shortcomings were detected prior to prototyping and testing. New designs were developed quickly and re-tested in these simulations and only those that passed went on for actual physical prototyping and testing.

Test results for prototypes rose to over a 99% success rate after Advanced Product Development Technology was fully implemented by Continental.

From its inception, and continuing to this day, this CAE-based technology has resulted in millions of dollars of annual savings in prototype parts and tooling costs. It has significantly reduced product development time, been the subject of numerous technical papers, and has been protected as key Intellectual Property by many Trade Secret designations.

Optical Software System creates new styling possibilities

Continental provided engineering support to a client for the creation of a fully automated Optical Software System {ODS} capable of creating a wide range of headlamp optical "prescriptions" which met all U.S. government headlamp optical requirements.

This software brought optical engineering into the Twentieth Century. It has been awarded Trade Secret protection as a key proprietary technology for this client. This also helped enable development of a new lighting technology where the optical pattern was a part of the reflector [reflector optics] surface instead of on the headlamp lens.

Dynamic new headlamp styling was now possible. The new styling possibilities were presented to all North American Automobile Manufacturers for review and consideration. The resultant headlamp designs were new combinations of parabolic, geometric and elliptical surfaces.

Animated driving simulations enable innovative headlamp design

Continental adapted the Alias/MAYA animation software (utilized by Stephen Spielberg for the dinosaurs in the movie Jurassic Park) to create new simulation technology for forward lighting. With this software, Continental provided two stunning new technologies. The first permitted the creation of a photographically precise picture of any lighting product using only CAD data. In the second application, Continental engineers created a dynamic night drive road simulation that created a short movie of what a driver would actually see when driving at night with a specific headlight design. The intent was to show the Design Staffs at any customer location what different qualities of headlamps would actually look like at night under real driving conditions. Optical patterns are well understood by optical engineers, but these patterns mean little to normal drivers [non-technical drivers]. This software actually "showed" what a driver could see, not see, and how well the driver would see at night.

A key technical development by Continental was the creation of a special proprietary optical translator that imported actual headlamp optics data into the movie simulation. This Photo-Realistic technology was considered valuable enough that in 1999, this client protected the proprietary technology with a Trade Secret protection. No other company in the world can provide animated simulations of this type or optical quality.

Technical Staffing:
A Case Study in Patents and Protection of Proprietary Technology

For this client, Continental has provided outsourced R & D services included the preparation and writing of patents. Continental provided Engineers for technology development (over 50 Patents) and was also able to provide Technical Writers for the protection of this technology. These writers were not only involved in technical drafts, patent descriptions and editing with Patent Attorneys, but were also part of the protection of Intellectual Property that included Trade Secrets, Copyrights, Intellectual Property Disclosures, Proprietary Technology and Trade Marks.

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