2013 Lightweighting Special:Anand innovates to shed weight smartly

Anand Group companies have given customers the benefits of lighter axles, plastic air intake manifolds and aluminium EGR systems. Shobha Mathur has the details.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 07 May 2013 Views icon3280 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
2013 Lightweighting Special:Anand innovates to shed weight smartly
Several companies of the Delhi-based Anand Group are working on a variety of lightweighting solutions. Besides axles, plastic air intake manifolds and cylinder head covers, EGR and steering wheel are some of the other areas in which the clientele include Honda, Simpsons, Nissan, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland and Maruti Suzuki India. Here we detail what some companies in the group have been focussing their efforts on:

Spicer India

The company, a JV between Dana Holding Corp of the US and the Anand Group, has developed new technology to offer lightweight axles that can reduce a vehicle’s weight by 4-5kg. These axles have been used in the Mahindra XUV500 and in Ashok Leyland’s LCV, the Dost. It is also in talks with other customers in the automotive sector. Spicer sources the patented Dana technology, AdvanTek, for improved power-to-weight ratio of up to 20 percent for the drive-head alone. With aluminium housings that can be used in SUVs, MUVs, LCVs or passenger vehicles, the weight benefits for the drive-head can be up to 30 percent lower than a conventional axle with an iron housing.

Furthermore, the ‘Banjo’ design offers weight benefits over the conventional Salisbury design with the advantage of flexibility to use different types of sections for weight advantage, says Sandeep Balooja, president – Group Business Development. Besides, driveshaft designs using aluminium driveshafts can make the product weight-effective by up to 30-40 percent compared to a conventional steel driveshaft.

Mahle Filter Systems India

The company has developed plastic air intake manifolds and cylinder head covers replacing aluminium to reduce weight by up to 20 percent. Oil filter modules that have aluminium die cast parts can also be replaced with plastic, slashing weight by almost 30 percent.

Gabriel India

It has been involved in hollow rod making for front struts that can cut weight by about 400 grams. The hollow rod is better in impact loading and can bend up to 60mm without breaking. In comparison, solid rods normally break after a 30mm bending. The hollow rods, therefore, enhance safety features in the case of an accident as the steering contact will remain intact. The material used for making the hollow rod is high tensile and yields additional strength compared to solids. An additional advantage is that during heat treatment, hollow rods consume less power and can be used in place of a solid rod with no changes in external dimensions. However, a challenge is that the hollow rod involves an additional process of joining the two ends to a tube.

Behr India

This Anand Group company has shifted from using steel to aluminium for its exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems, thus reducing weight by 10 percent. Similarly, the radiator thickness has been reduced from 16mm to 12mm. Some trends in passenger car manufacturing revolve around reducing vehicle weight, downsizing engine size and increasing power output, explains Balooja. Drivers for growth are improved fuel efficiency and reduction of harmful gases from the exhaust. Since power output increases with reduced engine and vehicle size so the size of components also has to be minimised with the same or higher power output. Further, thickness reduction in the radiator reduces its weight so that it gets packaged in a smaller space but delivers more or less the same power output. The focus is on improving component efficiency by minimising thermal losses.

In case of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, lower thickness of plastic housings can reduce the housing weight by 10 percent. Overall, Behr’s EGRs maintain their competitive advantage in terms of technology. Also, the company’s coolers have higher performance density compared to others that have spiral tube coolers. This is due to the patented winglet tube design that helps improve heat transfer. This results in reduction of size and weight by 30 percent. Further, Behr has benchmarked its own coolers for further weight reduction via alternate designs like the aluminium housing design which also has water-jacketed aluminium diffusers. An alternative is the U type cooler with a plastic housing. These coolers are laser welded without use of a filler material. These alternate designs lead to a weight reduction of up to 14 percent.

Takata India

It has developed several concepts for reducing the weight of its products from 1.5kg upwards. Its steering wheel armature concept can cut weight by 2-1.5kg while its light passenger airbag concept replaces steel retainers with plastic, reducing 55 percent weight of the retainer. The Green Module DAB concept can cut up to 70 percent of the current DAB assembly weight.

Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies India

The company has fabricated manifolds to replace the casted manifold to half of its weight.

Victor Gaskets India

The company has shifted focus from steel to aluminium in the area of heat shield and reduced its thickness.

Henkel Teroson India

This company has developed new products such as the LASD-Liquid applied sound deadening for weight savings of up to 20 percent. HDF or high dampening foams also enhance performance and lower weight. “The Anand Group organises regular technology days with its OE customers showcasing various technologies of each product as well as lightweighting solutions. Projects are then mutually identified with the customers and detailed plans drawn up,” Balooja signs off.
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