Smoothing the Road

Posted on April 27, 2016

In 1920, Walter P. Chrysler teamed up with three ex-Studebaker engineers to design a revolutionary new car geared toward smoothing the road. They defined the Chrysler brand as affordable “luxury” vehicles known for innovative, top-flight engineering. Within a decade of its founding, Chrysler Corporation had earned the title of Detroit’s “engineering company.” Their automotive firsts included Floating Power (a new method of mounting engines to isolate vibration), replaceable oil filters, downdraft carburetors and one-piece curved windshields. For years, Chrysler enjoyed a premium luxury position competing with Cadillac and Lincoln.

Following Fiat’s acquisition of a 20% stake in Chrysler LLC, Fiat declared their plan to return the brand to an  upmarket marque and launched their marketing slogan—Imported from Detroit. One example of that return to top-flight engineering and luxury is a smooth, quiet ride. Toward that end, Ron Little, Kanawha Scales, Michigan, has devised an unusual application of RoughDecks.

The system consists of four pit-style RoughDecks® and a 920i dual channel indicator that is set up in Chrysler’s
“customer satisfaction audit area” at the auto manufacturing plant in East Detroit. Ron explains that during each
shift, twenty cars are “audited” by being driven over the four scales. The driver gets out and scans the VIN number
sticker into the 920i. The system weighs each wheel, records the individual wheel weight, combined weight, time
and date. The information is then passed on to each local plant and then on to corporate over Chrysler’s dedicated
server. The whole process takes about 30 seconds. Kanawha installed the first test system in 2008. After several
months of testing, Ron has installed several more systems in Chrysler plants in the U.S. and Canada.▪

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