TROY, Mich. – March 24, 2010
– In an effort to develop and commercialize an advanced bus platform that lowers the total cost of ownership and environmental impact of commercial buses, Altair ProductDesign moved one step closer today with the naming of Lake Orion, Mich.-based Odyssey Industries, Inc. as a fabrication partner for Altair’s BUSolutions program.
BUSolutions is a collaborative effort between public and private entities to research, develop and commercialize advanced transit bus systems that are significantly more fuel efficient, have lower operating and maintenance costs, are competitively priced and can operate without updating the infrastructure of existing transit authorities.
Additionally, the BUSolutions program includes industry-leading companies that will help to incorporate state-of-the-art components and technologies from the transportation sector. Program sponsors include Arvin Meritor, Hamilton Sundstrand, PRAN, Sika Corporation, Alcoa Howmet, Carrier Corporation, LAAD Industries, Pretoria Transit Interiors, Shaw Development, USSC Group and Williams Controls.
“We used an extensive evaluation process to assess potential fabrication partners in which we sought a Michigan-based company with the facilities, capabilities and experience to manage the fabrication of a 40-foot bus structure within the required timeline,” said Jeff Hopkins, BUSolutions design manager at Altair ProductDesign. “Of the candidates evaluated, Odyssey was the clear choice. We have great confidence in their abilities, highly skilled workforce and experience within the aerospace and automotive industries. ”
Altair is working closely with Odyssey to fabricate the first technology demonstrator bus. Fabrication of the bus body structure is currently underway at Odyssey and final assembly is slated to begin this summer at Altair.
“We are thrilled to be a partner in the BUSolutions program that is putting Michigan at the forefront of solving emerging public transit technology issues through innovation and collaboration,” said Gary Rymiszewski, vice president of manufacturing at Odyssey Incorporated. “We will leverage more than 20 years of experience in fabricating and finishing aerospace tooling and structures of all sizes to successfully fabricate the demonstrator buses.”
Once the build of the first technology demonstrator bus is complete, Altair will conduct testing to validate the reductions in fuel, maintenance and lifetime-operation costs. Any necessary improvements will be incorporated so the design is production ready, ensuring a smooth transition of the program into a commercialization phase.
Since BUSolutions launched in 2005, Altair has worked closely with local transit authorities, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) and the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), to ensure the newly designed bus platform will meet regulatory requirements and address the needs of bus drivers and riders. Altair also established the BUSolutions Advisory Board to offer insight into broader community needs, as well as perspective on actual ridership issues and public interface ergonomics. As a result, Altair ProductDesign successfully completed the bus structure engineering incorporating design principles that will enhance the rider experience.
Airfoil Public Relations, on behalf of Altair Engineering