• Oct 5th 2009 at 6:30PM
  • 25
In the process of developing its new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, the powertrain engineers at Ford came up with a host of innovative solutions to reducing emissions and fuel consumption. Most involved software – both for developing the engine and controlling it. The use of computational fluid dynamics is increasingly common in engine design and elsewhere, but Ford actually developed its own in-house CFD analysis system along with a fuel spray model. The system allowed the engineers to analyze the interaction of the fuel and internal components of the combustion chamber in a dynamic model that accounts for motion of the piston, air and valves.

Using this bit of tech, the automaker's engineers were able to design the piston and calculate the injection timing so as to minimize fuel consumption and emissions. Once the hardware was designed, the controls engineers went to work with Matlab to develop control strategies that met their goals while also improving the drivability of this new engine. The result of all of this work was the filing of 125 new U.S. patents, primarily for the controls and development tools. Green Fuels Forecast has a deep dive on the work that was involved that you can check out by clicking on the link below.

[Sources: Ford; Green Fuels Forecast]

Ecoboost contributes 125 new u.s. patents, continues ford tradition of patent quality

· New EcoBoost™ gasoline direct-injection turbocharged engine technology adds 125 patents and patent applications to Ford's 4,618 active and thousands of pending U.S. patents

· Leading patent analyst The Patent Board™ ranks Ford above all other automakers for the quality and significance of its technology patents

· EcoBoost patents involve powertrain management and the proprietary methods Ford uses to eliminate turbo lag and create a seamless, powerful driving experience

dearborn, Mich., Oct. 2, 2009 – Ford's new high-performance, fuel-saving EcoBoost™ technology is making waves in the engineering community, with the 3.5-liter version of the engine contributing 125 new patents and patent applications. The additions build on Ford Motor Company's current roster of 4,618 active U.S. patents, with thousands more patent applications pending.

EcoBoost powertrain management innovations make up the bulk of the technology's patents and patent applications. But only those advancements that contribute to cutting-edge engineering make the leap from implementation to invention.

"We focus on getting high-quality patents that have the best breakthrough potential for the company," says Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies, a wholly owned Ford subsidiary responsible for managing Ford's intellectual property worldwide.

The strategy is paying off: A 2008 study by the world's leading patent analyst, The Patent Board™ , found Ford outperformed all other automakers in the quality and significance of its technology patents.

"Ford's patented technologies are closer to the cutting edge than its competitors," says Christine Wren, director of business development for The Patent Board, which tracks and analyzes patents across 17 industries globally.

The recently introduced 2010 Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, which is America's most fuel-efficient midsize sedan, have 119 patents to date and more are pending.

Patenting is a global activity at Ford, with experts in the United States, Europe, India and China sharing common processes and reporting through Ford Global Technologies.

Powertrain management key to EcoBoost patents

EcoBoost, which uses turbocharging and direct gasoline injection to boost engine output and reduce emissions without sacrificing fuel economy, marks a major milestone in the Ford strategy to deliver technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains.

The Ford powertrain management strategy uses hundreds of thousands of lines of computer code and related parameters that are adjusted to optimize the engine and transmission operation. It's these processes that largely make up the EcoBoost patent contribution and make Ford's use of direct injection and turbocharging of its engines like no other automaker in the world.

"The secret to Ford's EcoBoost system isn't just the hardware – the key is in the Ford control system," said Brett Hinds, Ford Advanced Engine Design and Development manager. "Our engineers have the right 'recipes' to integrate the various systems like engine, transmission and fuel management, resulting in a seamless, exhilarating driving experience."

To extract the level of power and efficiency achieved in an engine like the EcoBoost V-6, a remarkable level of precision is required. One example is the amount of control engineers maintain over the fuel injection system:

· The powertrain management strategy uses 10,066 adjustable parameters

· At idle, each injector releases 10.4 milligrams of fuel per injection; put in household terms, that's 1/25,000 the volume of a can of soda, or 0.2 drops of fuel

· Fuel injection pressure is continuously controlled to between 220 psi and 2150 psi

· Injection timing is adjusted up to 300 times a second

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think GM will crushed by Ford, Toyota soon.
      • 5 Years Ago
      125 patents?

      ...talk about covering your bases.
      • 5 Years Ago
      and software patients will now get to ruin the auto industry. How can you patent something that is already known? sure they are doing it faster and better than before but i seriously doubt there is a lot of new stuff here beyond it being faster and more accurate than previous iterations of Engine Management software.

      I suppose ford can just start suing everyone if the new taurus doesn't sell though. Why not it works for the patent trolls..
        • 5 Years Ago
        Being familiar with the patent process, what ford is doing iss building a "barrier to entry" which will force the competition to spend more $$$ for R&D to engineer their GTDI drivetrains around Ford process control patents. Its vey smart on Ford's part being first to market with the extensive controls on the EcoBoost engine.

        Once you establish a base patent its easy to define numerous application patents aorund it, hence the reason Ford has so many and has spent the last 6-8 years developing the EcoBoost engine and invested that time building this portfolio foof patents before production of the EB engines.

        This will cause significant cost and delay for GTDI competitors, especially the Japanese as they are late to this technology. I do not think Ford will sell the technology to collect royalty income, its better for them to have "exclusives" in the marketplace.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd agree with you, but this is the way the game is played. Everytime any automaker (or anyone else) does anything, they file for a jillion patents. They don't do it so much to sue the other guy, but as ammunition if they get sued. Kind of a mutually assured destruction concept.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems like Ford is really taking their engines seriously. Very nice to see them doing so, as I feel that's one area where they have been lacking in the past few years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just goes to show that car companies can make more power with fewer emissions, they just have to be willing to TRY. People always worrying about the end of fast cars should just chill out. Whether it's EcoBoost or not, a turbo 4cyl, twin turbo 6cyl, and twin turbo 8cyl can definitely keep the performance around while also keeping the tree huggers at bay.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want the writers of this blog to go one day without mentioning the word "ecoboost." Just try, for me, please.
        • 5 Years Ago
        first you have to explain why anything should have to be tailored to your wants.
        • 5 Years Ago
        easy solution for you: one day without AB
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go Ford...
        • 5 Years Ago
        typo... $7 I meant.

        But $47 probably isn't that far off!!!!

        ECOBOOST ME !
        • 5 Years Ago
        A 2010 Taurus SHO just ran a 12.75 time at 108 MPH in the 1/4 mile... details over at EcoBoost Talk dot com... WOW!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Boost for everyone!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I bought 5000 shares of Ford when they hit $1.50. Now I'm up to 47 and climbing.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I do exactly the same work for the JSF F-136 as a controls engineer, using MATLAB to design "strategies."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Merlot, I checked again for you, you know... just in case.
      You are right 17/25 is better then 13/19.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't be so sure the V8 is more fun to drive. The Ecoboost has a broader power curve.

        I'm not saying your wrong, but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Magnum?!? bah i'll stick to my EVO IX. Boost FTW!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      and after all this, the SHO still gets mileage as crappy as the 6.1 V8 in my SRT.

      so much for the ecoscam
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's fine, I'm just saying it isn't really a scam. It's faster than the regular Taurus (boost) and with all that extra power it gets the same mileage (eco). In the case of the MKS and other EcoBoost engines to come the EcoBoost variant gets better mileage than the standard engine with more horsepower and that wonderful torque line to live up both parts of it's name.
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