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FORD COMPUTERS CALCULATE YOUR COMFORT

 DEARBORN, Mich., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine yourself as a Ford climate control engineer on an Arizona desert at high noon in the middle of August. Not cool.
 Now put your car in that environment and let it soak up the sun with the windows closed. It could easily reach 140 degrees inside the car. Your assignment is to climb into the car, start the engine, turn on the air conditioning at full blast and go for a test drive, ever mindful of when you start to feel comfortable. Now do the opposite at 5 a.m. on a cold December night in Bemidji, Minn.
 That's exactly what Ford engineers have been doing for many years to assure that climate control systems for Ford cars and trucks meet customer expectations. The tests are repeated dozens of times for each new Ford vehicle to obtain reliable thermal comfort rating information.
 "People react differently to these extreme conditions," said Robert J. Hutter, supervisor - Advanced Engineering for Ford's Climate Control Division. "Now we have a device that reduces individual variability, which we call the 'comfort meter.'"
 The comfort meter, designed jointly by Climate Control and Alpha Simultaneous Engineering, is one of many new technologies featured in Ford Motor Company's Annual Report now being mailed to stockholders. Nicknamed the Therminator, it looks like a two-dimensional stick figure with cabinet door-hinged extremities. It has only one leg and its faux body is strategically covered with as many as six oval-shaped sensors.
 These sensors determine the amount of energy required to maintain human comfort levels under various conditions of sunlight, air speed and air temperature inside the vehicle.
 "You set clothing level, humidity and metabolic rates in the meter's data bank," Mr. Hutter said. "The sensors then feed the environmental factors of heat or cold into an analytical model to determine a climate control system's ability to make humans comfortable.
 "The comfort meter is particularly well-suited for direct comparisons between vehicles because of its consistency."
 The comfort meter, of course, cannot drive, so tests are conducted in the laboratory, wind tunnel and hot and cold chambers.
 "When all is said and done," Mr. Hutter said, "we still send engineers out to conduct some of the testing. We can't let computers have all the fun."
 -0- 3/23/93
 /CONTACT: John W. Spelich of Ford, 313-322-9600/
 (F)


CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

SB -- DE019 -- 8696 03/23/93 13:12 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 23, 1993
Words:407
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