SAE 2012 World Congress (2): parts and material suppliers

FEV and IAV exhibit range extenders; material suppliers introduce lightweight materials

2012/06/22

Summary

 The SAE 2012 World Congress held on April 24 to 26, 2012, in Detroit, USA. This report summarizes the exhibition by parts and material suppliers. This year's theme is "Get connected". At this SAE, technologies that connect vehicles with infrastructure, the Internet, and smart grid, which promote the automotive industry, are also exhibited. The number of OEMs exhibited was six, same as in 2010 and 2011. Yet, the number of suppliers and material suppliers that showcased their products declined substantially from about 140 last year to about 100. There were about 300 exhibition booths before Lehman's fall.

 
Related Report: SAE 2012 World Congress (1): OEMs' exhibits



GE, at a joint booth with Nissan, exhibits products including charging station for LEAF EV

 GE exhibited, at a large joint booth with Nissan, which was the organizer of this year's SAE World Congress, smart electric appliances and charging station for Nissan's LEAF EV.

 

A smart-grid controller for electric consumption of each household

 If "smart grid" is introduced, and connects local utility companies with households and factories through a network in the future and optimizes supply and consumption of electricity, the power grid provides information to each household to make it possible to control electricity consumption at home. GE exhibited a controller and smart home appliances for this system. When smart home appliances and smart gird are used, users can control appliances, such as air conditioners, remotely from the outside. They can also charge EVs during off-peak hours and can also supply electricity from the large battery of an EV when necessary.

 GE has already marketed smart home appliances in the US that can access the network and can be controlled remotely from the outside. At this SAE, GE exhibited a system in which each smart home appliance transmits data including electricity consumption to a small control box called the "Nucleus", which is connected to an outlet, and the monitoring panel displays the current electric usage of each household.


Conceptual diagram of smart grid

Smart home appliances and a monitoring panel for current electric usage at home.
Conceptual diagram of smart grid (to enlarge) Smart home appliances and a monitoring panel for current electric usage at home

Electric bill is also displayed on the monitoring panel for current electric usage.
Electric bill is also displayed on the monitoring panel for current electric usage (to enlarge)

 

 



FEV exhibits an EV's range extender as optional equipment and a variable-compression-ratio piston

 

Range extender: being developed for the aftermarket of EV

 FEV is currently developing with KSPG a general-purpose range extender to extend the cruising range of EVs. The product consists of an 800cc V-type 2-cylinder gasoline engine exclusively for power generation and a 30kW power generator, and an exhaust treatment system that meets Euro6 emission standards. The range extender is compact and can be positioned in the space for the spare tires of the vehicle; it weighs 62kg (excluding an exhaust system). The planned price is said to be US$1,600 (production volume is assumed to be 40,000 a year).


A range extender that is being developed jointly by FEV and KSPG

The crankshaft of the range extender is vertically arranged to the vehicle body.
A range extender that is being developed jointly
by FEV and KSPG
The crankshaft of the range extender is vertically arranged to the vehicle body.

 

Ford Ecoboost 1.0-liter engine

 FEV supported the development of a direct-injection 1.0-liter 3-cylinder Ecoboost turbo engine that is used in Ford Focus, B-Max, and C-Max, which Ford builds in Europe. By adopting a turbo charger for an engine that boasts high compression ratio of about 10.5, low fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions - 5.0L/100 km and 114g/km - are achieved. Intake and exhaust variable valve timing mechanisms are adopted to achieve high output and high torque (92kW/170Nm). Instead of using a balancer shaft that is often used in a 3-cylinder engine that has high vibration, the fly wheel and the pulley are designed to achieve a good balance, thus minimizing the vibration that a 3-cylinder engine typically has. In addition, by adopting an exhaust manifold that is integrated with a cylinder head, the activation of catalyst is speeded up by shortening the warm-up time. The models that have used a 1.6-1.8-liter engine are planned to gradually shift to this 1.0-liter Ecoboost engine.


Ford's 3-cylinder 1.0-liter turbo engine of which FEV supported the development
Ford's 3-cylinder 1.0-liter turbo engine of which FEV
supported the development

 

FEV 2-step variable-compression-ratio engine

 FEV is currently developing a variable compression ratio system. Responding to FFV(Flexible-fuel vehicle), in which the composition of the fuel varies, or to driving conditions, the system shifts the compression ratio between 14.1 and 17.1 (in a case of a diesel-powered engine) by changing the stroke through the revolution of the eccentric ring (2mm eccentricity) that is inserted between the connecting rod and the piston pin; without EGR, the system reduces exhaust emissions, improves fuel efficiency and cold start performance. Since the development of a new cylinder head and a new piston is not necessary, and the mechanism is relatively simple, the increase in costs can be minimized. Therefore, this system is said to be usable for gasoline engines for passenger cars and diesel-powered engines for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.


Variable-compression-ratio mechanism
Variable-compression-ratio mechanism: By inserting an eccentric ring between the connecting rod and a piston ring, the eccentric ring is revolved with a lever around the outer circumference of the ring. Then the ring changes length of stroke and shifts the compression ratio.

 

In-Wheel Motor

 Protean Electric is currently developing an In-Wheel motor for HVs, PHVs, and EVs; FEV is supporting the experiment for the production. A motor incorporated on the inner side of the wheel is directly connected with the wheel, which reduces the number of parts and costs. In addition to the motor, Protean Electric is jointly developing with FEV an inverter, a control device, and software. Protean Electric's In-Wheel motor is said to be available for EVs as well as HVs and PHVs that is also powered by gasoline.


In Wheel motor for HVs, PHVs, and EVs
In-Wheel motor for HVs, PHVs, and EVs

 



AVL exhibits a range extender for PHVs, which uses a rotary engine

 AVL exhibited a range extender for PHVs, which uses a rotary engine (displacement: 250cc) made by Wankel to generate electricity. The rotary engine (output: 15kW) is activated when the state of charge of the battery is down below about 40%. When a larger output is necessary, two rotary engines can be connected in series. AVL is developing the product, targeting small cars in Europe. It is conducting test-runs using the Mini Cooper. AVL chose a rotary engine for generator because it is smaller and lighter (about 10kg) than a reciprocating engine. The control unit is cooled with engine cooling water.


A range-extender (that AVL is developing) for PHVs
A range extender (that AVL is developing) for PHVs,
which uses a rotary engine made by Wankel

 



IAV exhibits Pedestrian Detection System

 IAV exhibited Pedestrian Detection System, which it is currently developing with an OEM in Europe. This is a system in which, based on the information from a built-in camera sensor, an in-vehicle computer monitors road conditions or pedestrians that go across the vehicle and vehicles traveling in the opposite direction to warn the driver. Although a similar system that uses radar technology has already been made, IAV's system is characterized by a camera sensor that gives the driver a warning that is within his or her sight including a warning sign on the windshield. The company says that a concrete program including models to use the system is undecided.


IAV's Pedestrian Detection System
IAV's Pedestrian Detection System: The system warns the driver
that a pedestrian coming from the right may cross the road.



 IAV also showcased DrivePacEV80, which is an electric drive system with transmission for EVs. EVs that are currently being marketed are usually equipped with a gear reducer in which one gear reduces the revolution of the motor instead of a 2- or more speed transmission. Taking into account steep hill-climbing by EVs, IAV is currently developing a drive system with a 2-speed transmission; a motor, a transmission, and a control unit is integrated into a compact unit (Drive Pac). This system can be used in EVs and HVs. When it is used in HVs, the system is used as an auxiliary power source for rear wheels. An induction motor is adopted for the motor (steady output: 50kW, maximum output: 80kW). The 2-speed transmission is in planetary gear-set design. The test run begins this year with the system used in the compact cars.


 In addition to a motor for EVs, IAV is currently developing a Li-ion battery. It also exhibited a control module for a Li-ion battery and a battery cover that is made of carbon fiber.


A motor and a transmission

DrivePac
A motor and a transmission (cast parts: front) positioned
in a vehicle, converters (parts on the motor), and
a battery - a cuboid part behind (to enlarge)
DrivePac, which integrates a motor, a transmission, and a control unit

Li-ion battery module and a battery cover that is made of carbon fiber
Li-ion battery module and a battery cover that is made of carbon fiber

 

 



Jatco exhibits a new CVT that it begins producing in Mexico

 Jatco, a major transmission maker, exhibited two transmissions - CVT7 with sub-transmission, which is to be used in small cars including Nissan Sentra and Versa, and CVT8, which it newly developed. Each CVT is jointly developed with Nissan. The CVT7 is in combination with a 2-speed sub-transmission in order to increase the transmission gear ratio and to reduce the number of revolutions of the engine at high speed driving, which improves fuel economy and achieves quietness as well as accelerating ability from standstill. The production of CVT7 began in Japan and in China in 2009 or later. Jatco is scheduled to start production in Mexico in the second half of 2012 and at a new plant (under construction) in Thailand in 2013. The product is to be used in Nissan March that is produced in Thailand.


Specifications of CVT7 with sub-transmission for small cars

View of CVT7 with sub-transmission for small cars
Specifications of CVT7 with sub-transmission for small cars (to enlarge) View of CVT7 with sub-transmission for small cars


 CVTs account for about 80% of transmissions that Jatco produces. The company supplies CVTs to Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Suzuki. It also expects that overseas production will account for more than 50% in 2015.


 Jatco also exhibited newly-developed CVT8. The CVT8 is available for 2.0-liter to 3.5-liter engines. The 2013MY New Altima, which Nissan USA begins producing in 2012, plans to use CVT8. Jatco produces CVT8 at its plant in Mexico. The CVT8 adopts new technologies listed below. It has improved fuel economy by 10% in Jatco's in-house test.

  (1) Increase in lock-up area
  (2) Adopt low rigidity lock-up damper
  (3) Increase the transmission gear ratio by 17% (2.0-2.5-liter class)
  (4) By making an oil pump smaller, increase pulley pressure receiving area and reduce oil leakage
  (5) By setting a baffle plate, reduce the stirring resistance of oil
  (6) Adopt low-viscosity oil


CVT8 for vehicles with 2.0-liter to 3.5-liter engine

Explanation of CVT8
CVT8 for vehicles with 2.0-liter to 3.5-liter engine Explanation of CVT8: By utilizing new technologies, it improves fuel economy by 10% than the current product and by increasing the transmission gear ratio by 17%, it reduces friction by about 40% (to enlarge)

 

 



Bulk Molding Compounds, maker of molding materials with glass fiber, exhibits engine parts

 Bulk Molding Compounds, Inc. (BMC) produces thermoset-resin molding compounds (polyester enhanced with glass fiber) in the US, Mexico, Germany, China, and Brazil. Molding material is generally called BMC, which is the same as its company name; it is supplied to molding maker in bulk (or resin) and which is molded to parts through injection molding or compression molding. Molding compounds are excellent in heat resistance, dimensional stability, impact resistance, mechanical strength, chemical resistance, and abrasion resistance, which are advantages of thermoset resin, and also are lightweight and mold cost is low. Therefore, molding compounds are increasingly used as materials for valve covers and throttle bodies of engine, for which aluminum die cast materials or high-functional resin has been used. BMC(Bulk Molding Compound) is produced by multiple makers.


Cylinder head cover of Chrysler's 2.7-liter V6 engine

Reflector of the head light is made of BMC
Cylinder head cover of Chrysler's 2.7-liter V6 engine Reflector of the head light is made of BMC

Throttle body and separator of fuel cell battery
Throttle body (front) and separator of fuel cell battery (rear)


 BMC is also used as seal materials of a power generator and a motor instead of ceramics.

 

 



Tata Technologies exhibits eMO EV concept car

 Tata Technologies, which is in charge of research, design, and development in the Tata group, exhibited the eMO - a 4-seat compact EV concept car. In order to make the interior of the compact car look larger, it has a streamlined body style with large windshield extended to the roof. The rear-end part of the body is almost vertical immediately behind the rear seat. The polycarbonate rear window is used. The overall length and the weight are minimized to 2,995mm and about 900kg, respectively.

 For easy access to the rear seat and the cargo area, a double rear door is adopted and a pillar that is equivalent to B pillar is integrated into the rear door to secure the strength of the body. To utilize the compact interior space to the utmost, no trunk room is available and the rear back door is eliminated. The rear seat can be folded to make the space into a trunk room. A painted recycled resin material is used for front and rear bumpers and the outer plate of the door. Highly-rigid SMC composite material is used for the rear bumper garnish.


 Two oil-cooled compact motors (13kW) made by Mission Motor are used to drive the left and right front wheels independently. An air-cooled Li-ion battery (18.4kWh) is positioned under the front seat. The maximum speed is 65mph. The cruising range is 100 miles; Tata Technologies says that it aims for fuel economy of 150mpge (converted to gasoline engine).


 The eMO is a pure concept car that is prototyped as a special model for traveling around town in order to demonstrate Tata Technologies' technology. Yet, the company says that it will evaluate whether the eMO meets safety regulations over the next two years.


Tata's EV concept car - eMO

A double rear door with B pillar
Tata's EV concept car - eMO A double rear door with B pillar

Tata's EV concept car - eMO (rear view)
Tata's EV concept car - eMO (rear view)

 

 



Solutia exhibits laminated glass interlayer for vehicles

 Solutia exhibited laminated glass interlayer with heat and noise barrier effect, which is used for windshield. The company says that it produces Saflex, a film with noise and heat barrier effect, in Europe, North America, Latin America, and China. This interlayer reduces Total Transmission Solar to minimize the rise of room temperature, which decreases the frequency of operations of air conditioner to improve actual fuel economy and to reduce CO2 emissions. Saflex has noise barrier effect, safety effect, and ultraviolet light protection effect. When it is used in EVs, it can extend cruising range.

 The interlayer is made of PVB (poly vinyl butyl). Solutia has developed Saflex, which uses two PVB layers and additionally uses a PVB layer with high noise barrier effect between the two PVB layers. When Saflex is used, the noise in the interior is reduced by 3dB. The windshield is typically 2.2mm thick (outside of the interlayer) and 2.2mm thick (inside of the interlayer), which, utilizing the high noise barrier effect, can be reduced to 2.1mm and 1.6mm, respectively; the weight can be reduced by about 2.5kg. When Saflex is also used for the side window, the interior noise can be reduced by 5dB. By using thinner glass, the weight of one car can be reduced by 10.5kg, which saves 3 gallons (about 11 liter) of gasoline per year. Therefore, 62lbs (28kg) of CO2 can be reduced.

(Note) 3dB means a reduction of about 30% in terms of sound pressure.


Interlayer (which is not laminated) and glass

TTS (Total Transmission Solar) of four types of glass with different degrees of transparency
Interlayer (which is not laminated) and glass TTS (Total Transmission Solar) of four types of glass with different degrees of transparency

With thinner laminated glass, the weight of windshield and side window can be saved by 5.5lbs(2.5kg) and 17.6lbs (8kg), respectively
With thinner laminated glass, the weight of windshield and side window can be saved by 5.5lbs(2.5kg) and 17.6lbs (8kg), respectively (to enlarge)

 

 



Germany-based suppliers - Rheinfelden Alloys (aluminum material maker) and KSM Casting (die cast maker)

 In Europe, CO2 emissions are regulated under the law. There is a plan to reduce the average CO2 emissions from 156g/km in 2008 gradually to 130g/km (-17%) in 2015, which will further be reduced to 95 g/km (-41%) in 2020 in the long run. In addition, the US government is currently considering the long-term CO2 emission reduction target for 2020MY to be within the range of 122g/km (195g/mile) - 138g/km (221g/mile), which is a little less severe than in Europe.


 In order to meet the CO2 emission regulations and the fuel economy regulations in Europe, OEMs and suppliers have set the vehicle weight reduction target, working on various measures to reduce the weight of vehicle bodies and parts including shift from iron to more lightweight materials such as aluminum and resin, and thinning of sheet by adopting high tensile strength steel sheet. At this SAE, Germany-based suppliers including Rheinfelden Alloys (aluminum material maker), KSM Casting (die-cast maker), Kienle+Spiess, and ixetic exhibited their parts at their joint booth.


 KSM Casting says that, depending on the shape and size of parts, by changing material from iron to aluminum, the weight of parts can be reduced by about 30% to 35%, which is why many Germany-based OEMs are currently using many aluminum parts to reduce the weight of vehicle bodies. Although the material cost of aluminum is higher than that of iron, the costs of production facilities can be reduced as the multiple dies for multiplaten iron press system are changed to one die. At the same time, by changing the shape of parts, the increase of parts cost can be reduced.


Mercedes Benz C-Class's Engine Cradle

Porsche Cayenne's Suspension Bracket
Mercedes Benz C-Class's Engine Cradle:
Pressure die cast product. The former model uses parts that are made of welded and painted iron sheet.
Porsche Cayenne's Suspension Bracket

Transmission case and valve housing
Transmission case (front) and valve housing (rear)

 

 



Hyundai METIA exhibits engine cast parts

 Korea-based cast parts maker, Hyundai METIA, manufactures engine cast parts such as exhaust manifolds and crank shafts at its plant in Korea, supplying them to Hyundai and Kia. The company also exports differentials from Korea to US-based suppliers, which are said to be used in vehicles made by GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Nissan. Hyundai METIA also exports parts to Japan-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Jatco.


Turbo Integrated Thin SUS Exhaust Manifold

The thickness of the tube of the exhaust manifold is reduced from 4.5mm before to 2.5mm.
Turbo Integrated Thin SUS Exhaust Manifold The thickness of the tube of the exhaust manifold is reduced from 4.5mm before to 2.5mm.

Cast-iron crank shaft
Cast-iron crank shaft

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