At the moment, we are working with a European transport company which has some problems in respect to transporting cars (that's one of things they do). We are looking for engineers who can help us provide a concept solution for this and we will give the winner around $30-40,000 for an 8 week contest (you can sign up at http://www.ennomotive.com to get invited).
The client is a multi-billion dollar European company which is in the business of car transportation and storage. They typically have big areas where they receive cars from the OEM manufacturers like GM, store the cars for a period of time and finally deliver them to dealers.
They face an issue with hail: As you might know, hard rain or hail hits cars and damage the body and this is a very painful issue. In order to address the issue and protect cars they have developed some covered areas with shelter structures to store the cars: These structures are costly make and maintain: For example there is costs associated with deterioration, damage with wind gale, etc.
Currently they are looking for a solution to solve this issue and convert this into a competitive advantage while also adding value to customers.
Car manufacturers tried to solve this issue by using special fabric covers which are being placed over the cars, however these fabrics often damage the body paint as they slightly move (body paint is relatively sensitive).
The potential solutions are diverse ranging from use of polymers to coat the surface temporarily, to different fabric covers, to cheaper structures or clever reengineering of the storage and transport processes.
In terms of cost implications for example, the foams which can be spread over the car are relatively cheap. The foams deliver a tension property serving as a cushion to avoid impacts…for a single car, the $ cost could in single digits. In addition the foam solutions can be easily removed before the car is delivered.
But this doesn't mean that the solution should be chemical in nature.