Transmission Improves Performance, Saves Money By: John Fossen | Ford Communications Network DEARBORN, Feb. 20, 2006 Ford Motor Company's collaboration with General Motors on the design and development of the 6F (6-speed, front-wheel-drive) transmission saved both companies a significant amount of time and money. But Ford saw an opportunity to further improve the performance of its gearboxes while, at the same time, realize even greater savings. The Ford 6F50 - scheduled to debut in the 2007 Ford Edge, and Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKZ - is controlled by a microprocessor, which integrates transmission control functions into the powertrain control module (PCM). Ford employees developed a complex manufacturing and information technology solution to improve transmission operation using this integrated processor. Called Transmission System Characterization (TSC), this innovative solution instantaneously adapts to each individual transmission's optimum operating parameters. "There is inherent manufacturing variability in every transmission of the same design, so they all operate a little differently," explained Bruce Palansky, technical expert, Ford Powertrain Operations. "Typically, we calibrate, or program, transmission operation within an average range, which is based on testing. Occasionally, additional minor calibration is needed. That task is performed automatically with on-board adaptive software." With TSC, no such post-production transmission tweaks are necessary. "We are able to program the unique operating characteristics of each individual transmission into its corresponding PCM, which results in an extremely smooth operating transmission from the first time the vehicle is driven," Palansky said. TSC also provides substantial cost savings to the company, in addition to performance benefits for the consumer. And the technology may have other applications. "TSC is being studied for use with other Ford automatic transmissions," added Kurt Nickerson, calibration supervisor, Ford 6F50 transmission. "In fact, it can be leveraged in almost any situation where variability is an issue, such as for fuel injectors in an engine." TSC received the top honor in Ford's 2005 Annual Powertrain Technology Excellence Awards. In addition to Nickerson and Palansky, the winning team also included Derek Kinch, Ralph Walker and Michelle Grytzelius. Information Technology, Powertrain Engineering, Powertrain Manufacturing, FCSD, Powertrain Quality, Vehicle Operations, Automatic Transmission Engineering Organization, and suppliers were among the many stakeholders in the project.