Screen is developed by Ford to keep cars free of spiders
Let's hear it for Ford's spidermen!
This group of engineers could be seen as superheroes by arachnophobes everywhere after developing a special type of screen that prevents spiders from nesting in cars.
Yellow sac spiders are attracted to vehicles for nesting and shelter, building cocoon-like webs so dense that they can potentially block fuel lines, which in turn can damage engines and reduce vehicle performance.
Ford has had people working on the problem since 1999, with the first spider screen produced in 2004.
Ford fuel systems engineer David Gimby, who pioneered the project without even having a background in arachnology, said that cavities such as those found in fuel line openings were ideal for the arachnids – which are common throughout Europe – as they let them maximise the use of their silk.
"Spiders can be a nuisance for our vehicle owners," he said. "We studied these species to discern how they nest, then designed an effective device for excluding the larger, problematic spiders from nesting in our cars."
Keeping fuel lines clear is key to air and vapour circulation for a vehicle's carbon canister, where fuel vapours are captured so they don't enter the environment. The Ford-developed spider screen keeps spiders out of the line but allows air and vapour flow for optimal vehicle running.
An updated version of the screen is currently being put into the North American Ford line-up and will go global with the launch of the all-new 2016 Ford Focus RS.