Ford Customer Service Division Improves Service Checks On Final Vehicle design With Kineo Path Planner

August 27, 2005 - Toulouse, France -- To ensure that Service targets can be achieved on final vehicle design, Ford Customer Service Division performs a wide range of service checks throughout the development cycle of a vehicle.

A critical point, of course, is to resolve service issues for key components like the AC compressor as soon as possible in the design process.

Typically, AC compressor removal is one of the key checks undertaken.

Technical Issues and Challenges

Validating the extraction feasibility for the compressor is the key part of the Serviceability Study so it is also important to precisely assess the robustness of the extraction path result including any production tolerance variation.

Moreover, due to ongoing design development, it is often necessary to repeat removal studies several times as the design evolves either at a component level (the AC compressor itself) or at a package level (surrounding items with close proximity to the AC compressor).

The ability to document the results (snapshots, movies) with high quality rendered Images for effective communication purposes is the final challenge of a successful Serviceability Study.

Before working with Kineo Path PlannerTM, we used to manually move the compressor along a desired extraction path within a VisMockup session containing items close to the compressor that would influence the removal process and then to check the extraction path validity with the dynamic collision functionality.

Beyond the time required to complete the removal study, the challenge in the process was to identify and communicate precise design change information (when removal was not feasible) so as to lead to the issue resolution.

If a removal path had been found, there was no chance to easily and quickly analyse the path with different tolerance values.

Furthermore, with no possibility to re-use the path from the initial check, repeating the study (for instance after a design modification) was the only viable method of validating a design change and was just as time consuming as the initial check. Different results would be obtained by different users for the same study.

Removal Study with traditional tools

Time for first removal study : 4 hours

Time for repeating removal study : 3 hours

Removal Study with Kineo Path PlannerTM

Time for first removal study : 2 hours

Time for repeating removal study : 1 hour

Service check with Kineo Path Planner

Today, with Kineo Path PlannerTM, we directly import from the VisMockup session JT files representing the compressor and the obstacles and we launch the powerful “Automatic Path Planning” capability of the tool in order to asses the extraction feasibility for the compressor.

If no removal solution exists, we can easily identify and document the bottlenecks for a precise communication of design changes.

If the compressor removal proves to be feasible, we save the path extraction result for eventual future re-use on repeating studies so as to speed up the search.

From a path result, we can also rapidly assess different scenarios with differing tolerances/obstacles and repeat the study to assess robustness of extraction path result.


Here are the main benefits of using Kineo Path PlannerTM for our Serviceability studies:

� Different users achieve very similar results

� Confidence in results is high in all cases due to the ease and speed with which it is possible to re-run the solution with differing tolerances/obstacles allowing different scenarios to be assessed

� Repeat studies are speeded up with the re-use of the previous path (1h instead of 3h before).

“Using Kineo Path PlannerTM, we are quickly able to see where a design proposal prevented component removal in Service. Being able to communicate precise change information to Engineering led directly to a design modification and issue resolution. The ability to accurately assess and resolve Service issues early in the design phase is key to reducing repair costs and increasing Customer Satisfaction. The speed and accuracy of Kineo Path PlannerTM has enabled us to move from being a reactive force to a proactive one; a key challenge for any function in today's world of ever shorter development cycle times”, says Peter Kinch, C3P Supervisor - Service Engineering Operations, Ford- Europe

About Kineo Path Planner

Kineo Path Planner� is a software tool specialized in finding and generating collision-free trajectories in a totally automatic way within a highly constrained 3D environment.

It perfectly fits in your current CAD/PDM methodology and environment thanks to direct data exchange capabilities and therefore ideally complements the existing tools for diverse assembly/disassembly studies throughout the whole vehicle design cycle.

About Kineo C.A.M.

Kineo C.A.M., based in Toulouse, France, is a spin-off company from the LAAS/CNRS (French National Center of Scientific Research). Active worldwide in the automotive and aerospace industries, Kineo C.A.M. develops, markets and supports best-in-class path planning solutions that rely on 15 years research and dramatically improve the computation of automated collision free path finding for digital mock-ups.

For more information, visit or send an email to Email Contact


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