By Clint Simone
SEMA’s Tech Transfer Program Continues to Grow
The new Tech Transfer website offers members a more user-friendly experience.
SEMA’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) CAD data sharing program, known as Tech Transfer, has seen rapid growth in the past year as the industry moves toward a more digitally driven, rapid prototyping process. From its initial launch in 2013, the program has added hundreds of members and is accumulating OEM data.
The SEMA Garage team is also working on a new Tech Transfer website, set to debut in the coming months. The website, which is previewed in the photo above, will allow members easier access to CAD data and a more user-friendly experience. The new site, which will be accessible as a tab through www.sema.org, “offers a chance to track data requests along every step of the approval process, in addition to providing a faster and easier request form,” said Gary Pis, vehicle product data manager for the SEMA Garage, who also coordinates the Tech Transfer program. In addition, SEMA’s full library of scanned CAD data will be accessible to members of the program via request.
SEMA has been working directly with OEMs for decades; the first vehicle data sharing relationship dates back to the ’90s with Ford Motor Co., and has grown to include several other major OEM manufacturers since then. Today, members of the Tech Transfer service receive exclusive access to CAD data files for some of the most popular vehicles on the market. Participating OEMs now include Chrysler group, GM, Ford, Scion and others. Additionally, the SEMA Garage is formulating a case study with Honda and the Ridgeline truck, meant to gauge interest in a potential Tech Transfer partnership down the line.
The Tech Transfer program gives members access to detailed CAD data for the top-selling vehicles in the country.
As a member of Tech Transfer, a company may request CAD data on a specific vehicle or range of vehicles from one or more manufacturers. Once the request has been approved, SEMA then shares the information directly with the member company, allowing the company to develop products without ever needing to see or measure the vehicle in person, thus creating the ability to rapidly prototype products. There is no limit on the amount of data that a member can request. The program is designed to provide vehicle information quickly and efficiently and, in the process, eliminate hassle.
The timeframe that members can receive their files is dependent on multiple factors. It varies with each situation, however, in most cases, the process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the OEM’s availability to process the request. On occasion, data files are already in the archives and once OEM approval is obtained, the request can be completed very quickly.
Since inception of the program, a wide variety of companies have found Tech Transfer services useful, including wheel and suspension manufacturers and those looking to a design a wide variety of accessories. Currently, the Tech Transfer program has more than 350 unique companies as members, an increase of 10% since the 2015 SEMA Show. According to Pis, “The Tech Transfer members are very active in requesting data information on a daily basis. There have been tens of thousands of CAD data requests. In 2015 alone, we received 3,800 requests for Chrysler group, 3,100 for Ford and more than 9,000 for GM. As you might believe, this high volume of requests has eventually led to an expansive range of products developed by a wide variety of companies.”
Pis went on to say that Tech Transfer is best suited for smaller manufacturers who may not have the means to buy each vehicle they need for product development. “Buying a vehicle to measure and fit products can obviously be quite expensive. Participating in Tech Transfer eliminates this need and gives companies a chance to get the same work done for a small fraction of the price,” he said.
CAD data is often available on all parts of the vehicle, including powertrain.
The Tech Transfer service is available to SEMA members for a low yearly fee. The fee includes unlimited access to the wide range of CAD data files directly from OEMs, in addition to a number of vehicle files that SEMA is adding to the data library via the FAROArm scanner. The fee is assessed upon first use of the program and is valid for a year. The program cannot be accessed without a current SEMA membership. Once a member signs in for the first time, they have immediate access to a searchable catalog, which is frequently expanded. “There are really no other programs out there that mimic the benefits of Tech Transfer,” Pis noted. “The program is an example of SEMA’s commitment to offering useful services to its members on an affordable basis.”
SEMA News reached out to one of Tech Transfer’s frequent users—the makers of truck and SUV bumpers, Addictive Desert Designs. Greg Foutz, the company’s General Manager, alluded to Tech Transfer as a valuable resource to their product development process. When asked if they have used a similar program to receive CAD data, Foutz replied, “Actually, there really isn’t anything else like it, at least that I’ve seen. Tech Transfer allows us to get precise data, without needing to scan vehicles ourselves, which often times doesn’t even produce the results we want.” Addictive Desert Designs uses the data solution on a regular basis, “sometimes weekly, sometimes multiple times a week,” Foutz said. Addictive Desert Designs has requested data from multiple OEMs—Ford being the most used. “The Tech Transfer program has made producing our own products a much easier start-to-finish process. The team in the SEMA Garage is great about getting our requests completed quickly and keeping us up-to-date on everything we need to know.”
Apart from the new website launch and Honda case study, the SEMA Garage staff is excited to see the program reach new heights in the future. Pis shared, “The SEMA community is interacting with each other and sharing the value of the program. We are looking forward to seeing that translate into growth for the future.”
For more information on the Tech Transfer program and SEMA Garage, visit www.SEMAGarage.com.